USA: Business Strategy Chevron Reveals Action Plan for Current Market Condition
Chevron has decided to reduce its 2020 capital spending plan by 4 billion dollars and Permian production guidance by 20 %. These measures are expected to protect the dividend, prioritise long-term value, and support the industry leading balance sheet.
California/USA – Chevron Corporation has recently announced several steps it is taking in response to market conditions.
“With an industry leading balance sheet and a flexible capital programme, we believe Chevron is resilient and positioned to withstand this challenging environment,” said Chevron Chairman and CEO Michael Wirth. “Given the decline in commodity prices, we are taking actions expected to preserve cash, support our balance sheet strength, lower short-term production, and preserve long-term value.”
The company is reducing its guidance for 2020 organic capital and exploratory spending by 20 % to 16 billion dollars. Reductions are expected to occur across the portfolio and are estimated as follows:
• 2 billion dollars in upstream unconventionals, primarily in the Permian Basin
• 700 million dollars in upstream projects and exploration
• 500 million dollars in upstream base business spread broadly across our U.S. and international assets
• 800 million dollars in downstream & chemicals and other
Cash capital and exploratory expenditures are expected to decrease by 3.3 billion dollars to 10.5 billion dollars in 2020. Total capital and exploratory spending in the second half of 2020 is expected to be about 7 billion dollars, an annual run rate 30 % lower than the approved budget announced in December 2019.
Excluding 2020 asset sales and price related contractual effects, the company expects production to be roughly flat relative to 2019. Note that Chevron’s net production increases about 20 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day for each 10 dollar movement lower in Brent oil prices due to contractual effects. Permian production by the end of the year is expected to be about 125 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day, or 20 %, below prior guidance.
“The flexibility of our capital programme allows us to respond to these unexpected market conditions by deferring short-cycle investments and pacing projects not yet under construction,” said Jay Johnson, Executive Vice President of Upstream, “At the same time, we are focused on completing projects already under construction that will start-up in future years while preserving our capability to increase short-cycle activity in the Permian and other areas when prices recover.”
In addition to reducing capital expenditures, the company is taking other actions to support its industry leading balance sheet including:
• The 5 billion dollar annual share repurchase programme has been suspended after repurchasing 1.75 billion dollars of shares during the first quarter.
• The company completed the sale of its interest in the Malampaya field in the Philippines with proceeds over 500 million dollars received in the first quarter. In April, the company expects to close the sale of its upstream interests in Azerbaijan and its interest in a related pipeline.
• The company continues to execute its plans to reduce run-rate operating costs by more than 1 billion dollars by year-end 2020.
“Chevron’s financial priorities remain unchanged,” said Chevron Chief Financial Officer Pierre Breber. “Our focus is on protecting the dividend, prioritising capital that drives long-term value, and supporting the balance sheet.”
Future Financial and Operating Results
Recent decreases in commodity prices, as a result of Covid-19 impacts on reduced demand and geopolitical pressures increasing supply, are expected to negatively impact the company’s future financial and operating results. Due to the rapidly changing environment, there continues to be uncertainty and unpredictability around the impact on the firm’s results, which could be material. The company expects to provide further updates in the firm’s first quarter 2020 earnings press release, earnings call, and Form 10-Q.