ConocoPhillips Plans To Spend Less In 2015 As Crude Slides

Hess To Form MLP For North Dakota Oil, Gas Transport Assets
ConocoPhillips says its capital budget for 2015 would drop 20% amid a steep decline in global crude prices.


Dec 8 (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips said its 2015 capital budget would be 20 percent, or about $3 billion, lower than this year's, the biggest spending cut by a U.S. oil and gas producer in dollar terms as oil prices hit five-year lows.

Shares of the company, which set a budget of $13.5 billion for 2015, fell as much as 3.5 percent to $65.50 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

ConocoPhillips said it would "defer significant investment" on less developed projects in the Montney and Duvernay fields in Canada, the Permian Basin in Texas and the Niobrara shale field, which extends over Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas.

"The announced budget is well below our expectations of $15 billion," Simmons & Co analysts wrote in a note.

ConocoPhillips, which is focusing on the Eagle Ford shale in Texas and North Dakota's Bakken shale, said it would also spend less on major projects, many of which are nearing completion.

Global oil and gas projects worth more than $150 billion are likely to be put on hold next year, according to Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy.

Despite lower investment, ConocoPhillips said it expected production from fields outside of Libya to rise 3 percent in 2015. In October, the company forecast 3-5 percent growth.

"This plan demonstrates our focus on cash-flow neutrality and a competitive dividend, while maintaining our financial strength," Chief Executive Ryan Lance said.


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