Conoco to launch carbon fibers venture

Houston-based Conoco Inc. on Wednesday said it is reaching outside traditional energy markets with the creation of a new venture to market carbon fibers. Conoco is building a new facility in Ponca City, Okla., set to come on line late in 2001, where it will produce a pitch-based carbon fiber.


Houston-based Conoco Inc. on Wednesday said it is reaching outside traditional energy markets with the creation of a new venture to market carbon fibers.

Conoco is building a new facility in Ponca City, Okla., set to come on line late in 2001, where it will produce a pitch-based carbon fiber. When the plant is expanded to full capacity, it will be capable of producing 8 million lb/year of carbon fibers.

Conoco has been testing carbon fibers at a pilot plant close to its Ponca City refinery since 1997.

The venture will give Conoco a new high-tech product, allowing it to enter markets outside the traditional energy sector. These markets include automobile manufacturing, road construction, and manufacturing of batteries for use in cell phones and computers.

The company's capability to produce petroleum-based carbon fibers will allow engineers and designers to create stronger and lighter products that last longer, said Archie Dunham, chairman and CEO of Conoco. "Ultimately, this new business holds tremendous potential to redefine how business is done in the carbon fibers industry."

Conoco has assembled a team of marketers from several major corporations over the past several months to promote the new fiber. Heading the intitiative will be Andrew D. Roberts, who has held numerous marketing and management positions at Conoco's Houston headquarters and in Europe.

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