Freeport-McMoRan to slash Gulf of Mexico rigs

Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas has decided to further reduce costs for its oil and gas capital spending plans as a response to market conditions.

The company previously reported it was deferring investments in several long-term projects in response to oil and gas market conditions.

Following an ongoing review, capital expenditures for 2016 and 2017 have been reduced further from $2.0 billion per year in 2016 and 2017 to $1.8 billion in 2016 and $1.2 billion in 2017, including idle rig costs, the company said on Wednesday.

The revised plans, together with initiatives to obtain third party financing or other strategic alternatives, will be pursued with the goal of achieving funding for oil and gas capital spending within its cash flows and resources, Freeport-McMoRan added.

The revised plans incorporate a reduction in rig utilization from three Deepwater Gulf of Mexico drillships to one drillship while increasing production from third quarter 2015 rates of 150 barrels of oil equivalents per day (MBOE/d) to an average of 159 MBOE/d in 2016 and 2017.

According to its Wednesday statement, FM O&G expects to bring eight wells online in late 2015 and 2016 from its tie back drilling operations at the Holstein Deep, Horn Mountain and King Projects in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. These projects, combined with other initiatives, are expected to add low cost oil production, enabling cash production costs to decline from $19 per barrel of oil equivalents (BOE) in 2015 to less than $16 per BOE in 2016 and 2017. Under the revised plans, FM O&G’s cash flows would substantially fund its capital expenditures at $45 per barrel of Brent crude oil in 2017, said the company.

The company also added it was engaged in ongoing discussions with its rig vendors and other service providers to obtain reductions in costs and to evaluate opportunities to market idled equipment to third parties.

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