Pioneer Natural Resources Co. joined the list of E&Ps slashing budgets due to plummeting oil prices and macroeconomic uncertainty.
The Dallas-headquartered Permian Basin player said March 16 it is lowering this year’s drilling, completion and facilities capital budget by about 45% to between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion and cutting its operated rig count in half—from 22 to 11—within the next two months.
Plans also include moving to two or three completion crews, down from six.
Tough market conditions will also bring change to spending allocated for water infrastructure, which will drop to about $100 million.
“As they have in the past, global headwinds and macroeconomic factors are impacting commodity prices,” Scott Sheffield, president and CEO of Pioneer, said in a news release. “After successfully managing through the previous five cycles, it is apparent to me companies that maintain strong balance sheets and low leverage during these difficult times will prosper when economies eventually rebound and commodity prices recover.”
He added the company will protect its balance sheet and focus on free cash flow generation by cutting the capital budget.
The moves will bring Pioneer’s overall capital program for 2020 down to between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion, which the company said will be fully funded from forecasted cash flow of about $2.3 billion. Pioneer said it expects to generate about $500 million in free cash flow, if WTI oil prices average $35 for the rest of the year.
“With the significant reduction in energy investment over the past five years, exacerbated by the expected decline in shale production,” Sheffield added, “I expect oil prices to recover once the global economy stabilizes and Pioneer to emerge in a stronger, more enviable position through the actions we are taking today.”
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