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Conoco will use its strength in petroleum technology and manufacturing to redraw the image of the traditional oil company customer by marketing the company’s new carbon fiber offering to people who build cars, construct roads and bridges, assemble batteries for use in cell phones and computers and engineer the latest technology into brakes on automobiles and airplanes. The first step in this new business entry is the construction of a manufacturing facility in Ponca City, Okla., to come on-line year-end 2001. Conoco’s new business will produce a pitch-based carbon fiber and when the plant is expanded to full capacity, it will be capable of producing eight million pounds of carbon fiber per year. “This innovative venture will bring a completely new high-tech Conoco product into markets outside the traditional energy sector,” said Archie Dunham, Conoco’s chairman and CEO. “In the near future, Conoco’s capability to produce petroleum-based carbon fibers will allow engineers and designers to create stronger and lighter products that last longer. Ultimately, this new business holds tremendous potential to redefine how business is done in the carbon fibers industry.” Tom Moccia, a 25-year veteran from the plastics industry who has worked at GE Plastics and MA Hanna, will lead Conoco’s fiber-reinforced plastics strategy and large-scale applications in automotive and other industries. Raj Mathur, previously with HITCO Carbon Composites, will develop Conoco’s carbon-carbon business. The new facility under construction is near Conoco’s carbon fibers pilot plant where the company has tested fiber since 1997.
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