Dec 17 (Reuters) - Marathon Oil Corp on Wednesday said its capital expenditures will be about 20 percent lower next year due to the steep drop in crude oil prices.
Marathon said it expects to spend about $4.3 billion to $4.5 billion in 2015, reflecting a shift in dollars to higher-return shale wells in the United States and lower exploration spending.
Many oil and gas companies including larger peer ConocoPhillips have adjusted budgets to reflect a steep slide in crude oil prices. Oil has fallen more than 50 percent since June, pulled down by flagging demand and growing supplies.
"Our 2015 capital program is not opportunity constrained but will reflect sound discipline in managing cash flows in the current price environment," Lee Tillman, Marathon Oil president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Even with an expected drop in spending, the Houston company said it expects oil and gas production growth, excluding output from Libya, to rise in the high single digits next year.
Marathon said it needs more time to finalize its spending plan, citing volatility in crude markets and the expected impact on oilfield service costs.
More details on the budget, which can be adjusted up or down, will be released with fourth-quarter earnings in February, the company said.
(Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by Terry Wade and James Dalgleish)
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