Hess shaves off $800 million of its budget for 2020

In light of the current low oil price environment and market volatility, U.S. oil and gas company Hess Corporation has revealed a plan for a significant reduction to its 2020 capital and exploratory budget. 

Baldpate in the Gulf of Mexico; Source: Hess

Hess on Tuesday announced a revised $2.2 billion capital and exploratory budget for 2020, an $800 million reduction from the previous budget of $3 billion. The company also announced a new $1 billion three-year term loan agreement.

These actions further strengthen the company’s cash position and financial liquidity in response to the sharp decline in oil prices, Hess explained.

“With 80% of our oil production hedged in 2020, our significantly reduced capital and exploratory budget and our new three-year loan agreement, our company is well-positioned for this low price environment,” CEO John Hess said.

“Our focus is on preserving cash and protecting our world-class investment opportunity in Guyana.”




The reductions to the company’s 2020 capital budget will be primarily achieved by shifting from a six-rig program to one rig in the Bakken, which is expected to be completed by the end of May.

Most discretionary exploration and offshore drilling activities, excluding Guyana, will also be deferred.

On March 16, 2020, the company entered into a $1 billion three-year term loan agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. The term loan contains provisions that require the company to reduce JPMorgan’s initial funded amount, which the company intends to do by syndicating the loan to other banks.

In 2020, approximately 80% of the company’s oil production is hedged by put options, with 130,000 barrels a day at $55 per barrel West Texas Intermediate put options and 20,000 barrels a day at $60 per barrel Brent put options. In addition, the company entered 2020 with more than $1.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet and has a $3.5 billion undrawn revolving credit facility and no material debt maturities until 2027.

Net production for 2020 is now forecast to average between 325,000 and 330,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, excluding Libya, versus previous guidance of between 330,000 and 335,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The company’s Bakken net production is forecast to average approximately 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2020, versus previous guidance of approximately 180,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Ever since last week, many oil and gas operators have revised their budgets for 2020 due to challenging market situation over the past few weeks marked by the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia after the breakdown of OPEC+, the historic plunge of the oil price, and the coronavirus outbreak which has severely impacted the global oil demand.

With its decision to slash the budget for the year, Hess has joined Apache, Murphy Oil, Noble Energy, Premier Oil, Husky Energy, ExxonMobil, and Kosmos Energy to name a few.

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