Back in January, in the aftermath of the first plunge in commodity prices, and oil in particular, oil major Chevron had the unsavory distinction of being the first US oil giant to admit cash flow "constraints" when it was forced to scrap its buyback. And since oil's dead cat bounce fizzled just around the summer before resuming is slide, it was inevitable that Chevron would proceed with trimming even more cash outflows.
It did so for the first time in July, when as we reported at the time, Chevron would layoff 1,500 jobs globally, saying that "the cost reductions due to cuts in the corporate center are expected to total $1 billion with additional cost savings expected across the company."
And even though Chevron said in July that its cost-cutting initiatives would be "completed by mid-November of 2015" it decided to surprise everyone moments ago when on its earnings call it announced it would not only slash its capex by another 25%, but will shortly distribute another 7,000 pink slips. The reason: another terrible quarter in which the $2 billion in earnings were a 73% plunge from a year earlier.
From the company's press release:
“Third quarter earnings were down substantially from a year ago,” said Chairman and CEO John Watson. “While downstream earnings remained strong, lower overall earnings reflected weaker market prices for both crude oil and natural gas, which depressed upstream profitability. We are focused on improving results by changing outcomes within our control. Operating and administrative expenses are 7 percent lower than last year, and we expect further reductions in the quarters ahead.”
“We expect capital and exploratory expenditures for 2016 to be $25-28 billion, roughly 25 percent lower than this year’s budget,” Watson continued. “We expect further reductions in spending for 2017 and 2018, to the $20 to $24 billion range, depending on business conditions at the time. With the lower investment, we anticipate reducing our employee workforce by 6–7,000.”
The good news: shareholders have nothing to worry about: the dividend of $1.07 per share is safe and sound, even though nearly 10,000 people have lost their jobs at Chevron so far this year.
And while the US department of labor magically continues to report week after week that initial jobless claims have literally never been lower, don't tell that to US workers across the shale patch and especially in Texas where as the accurate report of what is really going on from Challenger Gray shows, it is nothing short of another great recession.