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ConocoPhillips Suspends Share Repurchases, Slashes Spending and Production

By Matthew DiLallo - Updated Apr 16, 2020 at 10:59AM

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The oil giant makes a second adjustment to its 2020 operating plan.

ConocoPhillips (COP -0.67%) is taking additional actions in response to the downturn in the oil market. The U.S. oil giant will voluntarily curtail production, further reduce capital spending and operating costs, and suspend its share repurchase program. These moves, when combined with earlier spending cuts, will save the company more than $5 billion this year. 

The company's latest budget reduction will push its capital plan down to $4.3 billion, which is 35% below its original estimate. It will reduce its activity levels all around the world, though the bulk of the spending cut will impact its North American operations. ConocoPhillips also expects to cut its operating costs by another 10%, bringing them down to $5.3 billion.

Oil pumps in motion with a person walking by and snow on the ground.

Image source: Getty Images.

ConocoPhillips has also suspended its share repurchase program. The company initially expected to buy back $750 million in shares each quarter, which it reduced to $250 million last month. This latest series of cuts amounts to about an additional $3 billion reduction in spending.

In addition to slashing spending, ConocoPhillips has also elected to voluntarily curtain some production in North America until market conditions improve. The company and its partner plan to reduce the output of the Surmont oil sands facility in Canada by 100,000 barrels per day (BPD) by May. Meanwhile, starting next month, the company will begin shuttering producing wells in the U.S., with it initially expecting to curtail output by 125,000 BPD.

ConocoPhillips noted that it could make additional production cuts, both voluntarily and government-mandated, in the coming months, depending on market conditions. As a result, it has withdrawn its 2020 guidance and doesn't plan to issue a new forecast until market conditions improve.

Matthew DiLallo owns shares of ConocoPhillips. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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