Conoco and Flying J Inc. have announced a joint venture to establish a national chain of full-service travel plaza/truck stops along the nation's interstate highway system.

Under the agreement, Conoco will acquire a 50 percent interest in the existing network of Flying J outlets and will participate in the construction of an indefinite number of additional plazas. Neither company would comment on expansion plans but said in a prepared release that the development would be "aggressive but in line with the economics of the business."Flying J, based in Brigham City, will operate the truck stops. A typical travel plaza will consist of gasoline and diesel fueling facilities, a restaurant, a convenience store, showers, phones and other amenities to accommodate travelers.

The diesel islands will be branded Flying J, and the gasoline fueling positions will be Conoco.

Flying J's proprietary electronic point-of-sale system, interstate truck services system and frequent fueler program will be available at the outlets. Conoco's credit card also will be accepted.

Said Phil Adams, executive vice president of Flying J: "We are in this for the long term and our growth rate will reflect the marketing strategies of both companies. Conoco brings to the partnership not only its well-founded experience in the oil industry, but a brand name recognized for quality products."

Rick Hamm, general manager of Conoco's branded and retail marketing operations said the venture is a "natural" for Conoco. "Flying J is a major Conoco customer. They have developed innovative marketing programs for travel plazas and their reputation for personal service has made Flying J the leader in the truck stop industry."