The Oil Giants Are Starting To Slash Costs

Oil well abandonedREUTERS/Daniel LeClairAn abandoned oil well on the outskirts of Belmopan, Belize.

Big cuts from big oil are coming.

On Monday, ConocoPhillips announced its capital expenditures plan for 2015, and the company expects to spend 20% less next year than it did this year.

“We are setting our 2015 capital budget at a level that we believe is prudent given the current environment,” said Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips CEO said in a statement.

ConocoPhillips said that 2015 capex would total $US13.5 billion, down 20% from 2014.

In a statement, the company said, “The reduction in capital relative to 2014 primarily reflects lower spending on major projects, several of which are nearing completion, as well as the deferral of spending on North American unconventional plays.”

On Monday, the price of both WTI and Brent oil was falling sharply, with both benchmarks making fresh multi-year lows.

Brent prices were down more than 4% to just above $US66 a barrel and WTI was down more than 3% to just above $US63 a barrel.

The news from ConocoPhillips comes after a report by The Sunday Times said BP is accelerating plans to reduce headcount.

According to Reuters, BP official Brian Gilvary told The Times:
“What you’ll see with this simplification plan is that headcounts are starting to come down across all of our activities in upstream, downstream and in the corporate centres — essentially the layers above operations.”

A look across the universe of oil and gas stocks, and the damage has been done, with the ‘XLE’ ETF representing the S&P 500’s Energy sector down 19% year-to-date.

The more focused oil & gas sector ETF trading under ‘XOP’ and the oil & gas services ETF trading under ‘XES’ have seen even steeper losses this year, losing more than 33% respectively.

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