ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — ConocoPhillips has announced another $200 million spending cut in Alaska following previous reductions a month earlier as oil prices decline amid the coronavirus pandemic.
ConocoPhillips made the initial cut in capital spending in mid-March, before announcing another $200 million cut earlier this week in response to large drops in the global oil market, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported.
“We expect prices over the next few months — they will be weak and they will be volatile,” CEO Ryan Lance said.
The price of Alaska North Slope Crude fell to $16.65 a barrel on Wednesday, the lowest price since January 2002, the state Department of Revenue said.
The announcement comes about a week after the Houston-based company told its North Slope drilling contractor Doyon Drilling to demobilize its drilling rigs and crews to minimize the risk of workers contracting COVID-19, meaning drill rigs will stop drilling and be placed in long-term storage.
Doyon Drilling is a subsidiary of the Interior Alaska Native regional corporation Doyon Ltd.
ConocoPhillips expects to see a production impact of about 2,000 barrels a day on the North Slope as a result of decreased development drilling for the remainder of the year.
About 130,000 barrels were produced per day from Kuparuk and 56,000 barrels per day from Alpine in February, department officials said.
The company previously had plans to drill seven exploration wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska this winter, company leaders said. It is unclear what will happen with ongoing near-term development projects such as Greater Mooses Tooth-2 and Nuna.
ConocoPhillips is one of the major oil companies operating in Alaska. It spent about $1.5 billion on capital projects in the state last year.
Across the company, ConocoPhillips has reduced spending by $5 billion from prior expectations since early March, and expects to curtail oil production by about 225,000 barrels each day in the Lower 48 and Canada.
“We continue to monitor the market situation. But at this time, based on our current outlook, we chose to maintain organization capacity so we can resume programs in the future,” spokesman John Roper said, confirming that no layoffs have been announced as a result of the cuts.