Tuesday 24 September 2019

Tullow reins in 2016 investment plans amid oil and gas slump

Aidan Heavey
Aidan Heavey

Paul O'Donoghue

Irish-listed Tullow Oil has slashed its planned capital spending for 2016, when investment will be cut from $1.9bn this year to $1.2bn.

The move is another sign of the difficulties facing oil companies, which have seen profits cut as a result of falling oil prices.

Tullow chief executive Aidan Heavey said: "Whilst 2015 has been a difficult year across the industry, we have taken appropriate steps within our business to meet the challenges presented by lower oil prices.

"We are also focused on managing our costs and ensuring that we have sufficient funding to meet all our commitments."

The Africa-focused oil company also trimmed its full-year production forecast from its West African fields to 66,000-67,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), down from 66,000-70,000 bpd previously.

Tullow said it expects full-year pretax operating cashflow of around $1bn and net debt of $4.2bn.

It added that its TEN development project is "75pc complete" and on track to deliver first oil by the middle of next year. The TEN project is a series of oil fields in Ghana, where Tullow is the operator.

The project has the potential to deliver up to 80,000 barrels a day, which would make it one of the largest assets in Tullow's portfolio.

The oil producer is counting on a mid-2016 start-up of its TEN oilfields project to boost a balance sheet that has been hit hard by the slump in crude prices since the middle of last year.

Tullow shares fell as much as 7.5pc to 197.50 pence in London following the update, a one-week low.

The stock is down 50pc so far this year, a trend that has prompted takeover speculation.

Tullow made some of Africa's largest oil discoveries in the past 10 years. (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

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