Oil giant Chevron (NYSE:CVX) is considering making a change to its near-term operating plan amid yesterday's historic crash in crude oil prices, according to a Reuters report. The company could reduce both its capital spending as well as its oil and gas production.
On March 3, Chevron held its annual Security Analyst Meeting, where it outlined its five-year spending and operating plan. At the time, the oil producer said it would invest $19 billion to $22 billion per year through 2024 on new oil and gas projects. That spending level would double its free cash flow per share by 2024, assuming oil averaged $55 a barrel. Because of that, Chevron estimated that it would be able to return $75 billion to $80 billion in cash to investors during that timeframe via its dividend and share repurchase program.
However, crude prices have since crashed into the $30s following the collapse of an alliance between OPEC and Russia, resulting in an all-out price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. That's forcing Chevron and other producers to reconsider their near-term operating plans.
Several smaller U.S. producers have already announced a reduction in their activity level. Diamondback Energy (NASDAQ:FANG), for example, has immediately dropped three of its nine well completion crews and plans and plans to cut three of its drilling rigs in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Parsley Energy (NYSE:PE) eliminated two of its five well completion crews and plans to reduce its rig count from 15 to 12 as soon as practical.