Marathon Oil Cuts Capex for Second Time in a Month

Marathon Oil cut its planned capital spending for the second time in a month. Its new plan is for outlays of $1.3 billion in 2020, down 32% from its previous estimate of $1.9 billion.
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Marathon Oil  (MRO) - Get Report cut its capital-spending plans for the second time in a month.

It’s reducing 2020 capital outlays to $1.3 billion, down 32% from the $1.9 billion figure it set out March 10. On that date it slashed the plan from $2.4 billion. 

The latest estimate is half what Marathon Oil actually laid out for capital projects in 2019.

The new budget includes a suspension of fracking in what were once the lucrative basins of Bakken and Eagle Ford. 

Marathon will also halt drilling in the North Delaware. It already had said it suspended work in Resource Play Exploration and Oklahoma.

Oil prices have plummeted amid the coronavirus pandemic and a production war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Prices of West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude, have dropped 55% since Feb. 21.

Marathon is implementing its cutbacks "in light of extreme commodity-price weakness and anticipated ongoing demand impacts,” Chief Executive Lee Tillman said in a statement.

“We're maintaining our returns-first mindset with a focus on preserving value through the cycle."

He remains optimistic about the company’s future.

Marathon's "high quality, multibasin portfolio affords us ample flexibility to swiftly and appropriately respond to changing market conditions, and we currently expect to transition to a more continuous but lower level of activity in both the Bakken and Eagle Ford during the second half,” Tillman said.

Marathon shares at last check stood at $3.82, up 3.8%. The stock dropped 73% in the three months through Tuesday.