How Global Oil Firms Are Cutting Spending After Crude Price Crash
Oil and gas companies aim to cut spending as the impact of the new coronavirus on demand and a push by Saudi Arabia and Russia to ramp up output have hammered oil markets.
International benchmark prices have more than halved since the start of the year, falling to well below $30 a barrel.
North American oil and gas producers have cut capital spending by about 30% on average, data compiled by Reuters showed.
Below are plans announced by international energy companies (in alphabetical order):
BPBP Plc said it planned to reduce capital and operational spending, which was about $15 billion last year.
Chevron Corp said it aimed to trim spending and lower oil output in the near term. The oil major’s 2020 organic capital expenditure guidance had been $20 billion.
ConocoPhillips will cut its 2020 capital expenditures plan by $700 million—a 10% decrease from the previously announced guidance—in response to the oil market downturn.
The company plans to slow operated development activity in the Lower 48, decrease non-operated activity in the Lower 48, and defer drilling in Alaska. Reductions are expected to impact 2020 full-year production guidance by 20,000 boe/d.
Norway’s DNO, which operates in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said it would cut its 2020 budget by 30% or $300 million and lower its dividend for the first half of the year.
Mediterranean gas group Energean said it would cut its investments by $155 million in Greece and Israel and could reduce its budget for Egypt by another $140 million if needed without endangering delivery of its long-term offtake deals.
Eni followed rivals by cancelling a share buyback and sharply cutting investments. It said it would withdraw plans it had to buy back 400 million euros ($433.84 million) of shares this year, adding it would reconsider a buyback when Brent was at least $60 per barrel.
North Sea producer EnQuest aims to break even this year at $38 a barrel and does not expect to restart its Heather and Thistle/Deveron fields, which produced 6,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) last year.
It is cutting operating costs by 30% to $375 million and investment will be lowered by $80 million to $150 million, which is expected to reduce output next year.
Equinor is reviewing its capital and exploration spending plans.
It said the second tranche of its share buyback program is pending approval by the annual shareholders’ meeting. It was worth $675 million when it included the Norwegian state’s share and was due to run from May 18 to Oct. 28.
ExxonMobil Corp said it would make significant cuts to spending. It had previously budgeted $30 billion to $33 billion for projects in 2020.
Genel Energy Plc, which operates in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said it could generate excess cash at a sustained oil price of $40 a barrel, would be resilient with an oil price of $30 a barrel and will continue to pay a dividend of $0.10 a share.
It said it could reduce investments to $60 million this year, but expected the number to be $100 million, below previous guidance of $160-$200 million. Its production costs are $3 a barrel.
It has yet to receive payments from local authorities for production in October and November.
Kurdistan-focused producer Gulf Keystone suspended some of its drilling activities in the northern Iraqi region.
Kosmos Energy Ltd has suspended its dividend and said it aimed to reduce 2020 capital spending by 30% with a view to becoming cash-flow neutral with an oil price of $35.
Papua New Guinea-focused Oil Search Ltd cut its 2020 investment by 38% and capital spending by 44%.
Premier Oil Plc said it had identified at least $100 million in potential savings on its 2020 capital spending plans.
Premier expects to be broadly cash-flow neutral in 2020, assuming a $100 million reduction in planned 2020 capital spending and a $35 oil price for the rest of the year.
Santos Ltd, Australia’s No. 2 independent gas producer, said it was reviewing all its capital spending plans and would stop all hiring.
Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company Saudi Aramco said it planned to cut capital spending for 2020 to between $25 billion and $30 billion, compared with $32.8 billion in 2019.
Tullow Oil Plc said it would cut its investment budget by about a third to $350 million this year and reduce exploration spending, historically the group’s focus, by almost half to $75 million.
It said the oil price fall might jeopardize a plan to sell $1 billion in assets to refill its coffers, raising the risk the group’s lenders could become reluctant to approve loans essential to shoring up its future.
Wintershall Dea said it would cut 2020 investment by a fifth to 1.2 billion to 1.5 billion euros ($1.3 billion to $1.7 billion) and suspend its dividend until further notice.