America's No. 2 Oil Company Just Froze Its Stock Buyback Program And Said It's Going To Spend Way Less Money This Year

Chevron oil helmutREUTERS/Bogdan CristelDrilling site manager Greg Murphy looks on as people from local communities protest against shale gas exploration during a media day at Chevron’s drilling site in Pungesti.

Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil producer, said Friday it plans to spend $US35 billion this year on oil and gas projects, 13 per cent less than in 2014.

The company plans to spend the bulk of that amount – $US23.4 billion – on projects outside the United States. Some of the company’s largest growth projects are in Australia, Argentina and Kazakhstan.

Investments in shale formations will also be a major focus, Chevron said. The company holds one of the largest acreage positions in the oil-rich Permian shale formation in Texas.

The company has invested heavily in recent years to bring major projects online to meet a production target of 3.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) by 2017.

Chief Executive John Watson said last March that some projects would not be able to compete internally for capital with oil prices below $US110 per barrel. Prices currently trade around $US45.


Chevron halted its 2015 share repurchase program on Friday, a move to conserve cash amid tumbling oil prices.

The company’s shares extended loses on the news, falling nearly 4 to $US99 after being down 2.6 per cent before the buyback halt was announced.

“Given the change in market conditions, we are suspending our share repurchase program for 2015,” Chevron CFO Pat Yarrington told investors on a conference call.


Chevron Corp said on Friday its quarterly profit fell 30 per cent due to plunging crude prices .

The company posted fourth-quarter net income of $US3.47 billion, or $US1.85 per share, compared with $US4.93 billion, or $US2.57 per share, in the year-ago period.

Foreign currency conversion charges dented earnings by $US432 million, Chevron said.

Production between the quarters held steady at 2.58 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

Shares of the San Ramon, Calif.-based company are down about 22 per cent in the past six months, closing Thursday at $US103 per share.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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