Shale producers Concho Resources Inc. and Devon Energy Corp. reined in spending plans for the year as investors try to save cash in the backdrop of weak oil and gas prices.

U.S. oil producers have been under pressure from investors to cut back on drilling new wells and instead use the cash for dividends and buybacks.

Concho lowered its 2020 capex to between $2.6 billion and $2.8 billion, the midpoint of which is 10% lower than last year, while Devon lowered the top end of its 2020 exploration and production budget by $50 million to a range of $1.7 billion to $1.85 billion.


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Concho said it would increase quarterly dividend by 60% to $0.20 per share, while Devon raised its by 22% to $0.11 per share.

Burgeoning oil production at the prolific U.S. Permian basin also helped both companies beat Wall Street's profit estimates.

Devon marginally raised its full-year output forecast to a range of 7.5% to 9% compared with 2019, citing "exceptionally strong well performance" in the Delaware Basin of the Permian.

Concho said oil production volume for 2020 is expected to increase 10% to 12% year-over-year, pro forma for the sale of its New Mexico Shelf assets.

Excluding items, Concho posted a profit of $1.03 per share, well above analysts' average estimate of 79 cents per share. Devon beat consensus by 1 cent at 33 cents per share, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Rival shale producer Diamondback Energy Inc.'s quarterly profit also beat estimates as production soared about 65% to 301,284 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The company's plans to spend $2.8 billion to $3 billion in 2020 were broadly flat compared with last year.