Saturday, October 30th 2004, 3:23 pm
By: News On 6

PONCA CITY, Okla. (AP) _ ConocoPhillips will shut down its demonstration plant here, eliminating up to 120 jobs, the Houston-based company said.

``It never is easy to make this kind of announcement,'' said George Paczkowski, ConocoPhillips' vice president of downstream technology in Ponca City, ``but we've known this demonstration plant was temporary since we built it.''

The plant was designed to test technology designed to convert natural gas into liquid fuels. Paczkowski called the experiment a strong success and said Ponca City likely will be home to research and development projects in the future.

Ponca City officials said the reductions appear a lot better than had been suggested and they believe the city's economy can withstand the loss of the jobs.

``We've had quite a bit of job growth in the past few months, so I think we can absorb what we're losing with this announcement,'' said David Myers, Ponca City's director of economic development.