Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA announced multibillion-dollar spending cuts and the suspension of their share buyback programs on March 23 as the international oil giants position themselves to weather the collapse in oil prices.
The cuts mirror recent moves made by other supermajors following a drop in oil prices by more than 60% since January due to the coronavirus pandemic and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
“The combination of steeply falling oil demand and rapidly increasing supply may be unique, but Shell has weathered market volatility many times in the past,” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said in a statement.
On March 23, the Anglo-Dutch company said it plans to cut its 2020 capex by $5 billion with plans now to spend $20 billion or less this year. The company also aims to reduce operating costs by $3 billion to $4 billion versus levels from last year. These steps will ensure Shell maintains its “financial strength and resilience,” van Beurden added in his statement.
Meanwhile, Total said March 23 it would cut its capex for 2020 by about 20% to less than $15 billion. The French energy group also aims to achieve another $500 million in cost savings versus 2019.
Both companies separately announced the suspension of their share buyback programs though Shell said it still intended to repurchase $25 billion of shares but would miss its year-end completion target.
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