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March 5 (Bloomberg) -- ConocoPhillips, the U.S. oil producer that plans to spin off its refining business this year, said it will sell an estimated $10 billion of assets in 2012, the high end of its forecast.

Most of the sales will be related to exploration and production this year, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Mulva said during a meeting with analysts and investors today.

“They would be oriented towards assets that we have that have lower returns or do not have the upside potential” of some other properties, Mulva said during a webcast of his remarks.

ConocoPhillips is in the middle of a three-year program to sell assets. The company plans $5 billion of share repurchases in the first half of this year, with another $5 billion dependent on the timing of its dispositions, said Mulva.

With its plan to sell $10 billion of assets this year, the Houston-based company will have sold $30 billion of holdings over three years, including its shares in Russia’s OAO Lukoil.

Daily production at ConocoPhillips is forecast to be 1.55 million barrels of oil equivalent this year, Mulva said. ConocoPhillips produced 1.62 million barrels a day last year, according to the company’s website. Production may begin to grow next year at a compound annual rate of 3 percent to 5 percent through 2016, the company said.

The new refining entity, Phillips 66, is expected to begin regular trading May 1, according to today’s presentation. Phillips 66 has bank financing in place and may access debt capital markets before the spinoff. The new company will trade under the symbol PSX.

ConocoPhillips fell 0.1 percent to $77.56 at the close in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edward Klump in Houston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at

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