ExxonMobil reduces 2020 capex budget by 30 per cent

zachary theodore guADzpF9pDI unsplashOil and gas company ExxonMobil said it is reducing its 2020 capital spending by 30 per cent and lowering cash operating expenses by 15 per cent in response to low commodity prices resulting from oversupply and demand weakness from the COVID-19 pandemic

Capital investments for 2020 are now expected to be about US$23bn, down from the previously announced US$33bn. The 15 per cent decrease in cash operating expenses is driven by deliberate actions to increase efficiencies and reduce costs, and includes expected lower energy costs.

“After a thorough evaluation of the impacts of the pandemic and market conditions, we have worked closely with business partners to plan and execute capital adjustments that preserve long-term value, maximise cost efficiency, and put us in the strongest position when market conditions improve,” said Darren Woods, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation.

“The long-term fundamentals that underpin the company’s business plans have not changed, population and energy demand will grow, and the economy will rebound. Our capital allocation priorities also remain unchanged. Our objective is to continue investing in industry-advantaged projects to create value, preserve cash for the dividend and make appropriate and prudent use of our balance sheet,” he added.

ExxonMobil continues to monitor market developments and can exercise additional reduction options if required. As market conditions evolve, the company will continue evaluating the impacts of decreased demand on its 2020 production levels as well as longer-term production impacts.

The largest share of the capital spending reduction will be in the Permian Basin, where short-cycle investments can be more readily adjusted to respond to market conditions, while preserving value over the long term. Reduced activity will affect the pace of drilling and well completions until market conditions improve.

Developing the numerous world-class deepwater discoveries offshore Guyana remains an integral part of ExxonMobil’s long-term growth plans. Current operations onboard the Liza Destiny production vessel are unaffected, and startup of the second phase of field development remains on target for 2022, with the Liza Unity production vessel currently under construction.

A final investment decision for the Rovuma liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique, expected later this year, has been delayed. ExxonMobil continues to actively work with its partners and the government to optimise development plans by improving synergies and exploring opportunities related to the current lower-cost environment. The Coral LNG development continues as planned.

Despite the reductions, ExxonMobil expects to meet its projected investment of US$20bn on US Gulf Coast manufacturing facilities made in its 2017 Growing the Gulf initiative. The company also expects to reach its proposed US investment of US$50bn over five years announced in 2018.

To minimise risks presented by COVID-19 and maintain operations, ExxonMobil has implemented enhanced cleaning procedures and modified work practices at sites around the world.

The company is maximising production of products critical to the global response, including isopropyl alcohol, which is used to manufacture hand sanitizer, and polypropylene, which is used to make protective masks, gowns and wipes. ExxonMobil is also supporting efforts to redesign and accelerate production of reusable face masks and shields to help alleviate the shortage for medical workers and first responders.

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