ConocoPhillips completes job moves

Wednesday, April 30th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ ConocoPhillips is largely finished with its post-merger shuffling of employees in Bartlesville and Ponca City, the company's chairman says.

The new Houston-based company has kept its promise to maintain a strong presence in Oklahoma, where Phillips Petroleum and Conoco were founded, said ConocoPhillips Chairman Archie Dunham, who spoke Tuesday at Rogers State University in Claremore.

Even so, the company's Oklahoma workforce is about 5 percent smaller than it was at the completion of the merger eight months ago.

``All the people changes are essentially complete,'' Dunham said.

Executives based the new company in Houston primarily because of the availability of nonstop flights worldwide, he said. They never seriously considered Bartlesville or Ponca City as a home base for ConocoPhillips, which is the world's fifth-largest oil refiner with about 57,000 workers worldwide.

``They're great places to live and raise a family,'' Dunham said. ``But it's not where you run a $100 billion company.''

Ponca City, where the company operates a refinery, has been hit hardest by the merger.

About 500 jobs have been lost since the merger's completion, city officials said. In February, the company closed its carbon fibers plant in Ponca City, eliminating more than 100 high-paying jobs.

In Bartlesville, the headquarters for Phillips Petroleum before the merger, employment remains flat, said Mayor Ted Lockin. ConocoPhillips still employs about 2,400 people there.

Dunham said the company should add jobs as it expands, offering growth possibilities for both cities.

``Our heart is still in Oklahoma even though our headquarters is not,'' he said.