LONDON (Reuters) - The world’s biggest oil and gas companies are cutting spending this year following a collapse in oil prices driven by a slump in demand because of the coronavirus crisis and a price war between top exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Cuts announced by nine major oil companies, including Saudi Aramco, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, come to a combined $38 billion, or a drop of 22% from their initial spending plans of $175 billion.
Exxon on Tuesday cut its 2020 budget by $10 billion to $23 billion.
BP has cut its 2020 spending plan by 25% and will reduce output from its U.S. shale oil and gas business.
Graphic - Oil Majors' 2020 capex cuts: here
Oil prices have more than halved since January to around $34 a barrel.
Investors say if the current crisis is prolonged, the spending cuts announced by major oil companies may not be enough to let them maintain dividends without adding to their already elevated levels of debt.
The combined debt of Chevron, Total, BP, Exxon and Shell stood at $231 billion at the end of in 2019, just shy of the $235 billion hit in 2016 when oil prices also tumbled below $30 a barrel.
Graphic - Big Oil's rising debt: here
Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Jane Merriman