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Chevron Increasing 2019 Capex, with $7.6B Focused on U.S. Upstream

Chevron Corp. has earmarked $20 billion for organic capital and exploratory spending in 2019, a near-$2 billion boost year/year, with $7.6 billion specifically targeting the U.S. upstream.

The San Ramon, CA-based supermajor’s capital expenditure budget for 2018 was $18.3 billion.

“Our 2019 budget supports a robust portfolio of upstream and downstream investments, highlighted by our world-class Permian Basin position, additional shale and tight development in other basins,” as well as Chevron’s other “major capital project” in Kazakhstan, said CEO Michael K. Wirth.

“Our investments are anchored in high-return short-cycle projects, with more than two-thirds of spend projected to realize cash flow within two years,” Wirth said.

Between July and September, Chevron produced its best quarter ever at a record 2.96 million boe/d net, 9% higher than a year ago. The Wheatstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Australia ramped up and Permian volumes continued to climb. The twin LNG export projects in Australia, Wheatstone and Gorgon, together averaged 379,000 boe/d in 3Q2018, a 35% sequential increase.

In the United States, net liquids production in 3Q2018 increased by 25% year/year to 654,00 boe/d, while gas output rose by 14% to 1.06 Bcf/d net. Total domestic production improved to 831,000 boe/d net, a 150,000 boe/d gain year/year.

“We expect to continue to deliver steady production growth, enabling continued free cash flow that underpins our strong dividend and share repurchase program,” Wirth said.

For 2019, total upstream spend is pegged at $17.3 billion, including $9.7 billion for international operations. Total downstream expenditures are forecast at $2.5 billion, including $1.5 billion for U.S. operations.

In the upstream business, about $10.4 billion is being directed to “sustain and grow currently producing assets,” including $3.6 billion for the Permian and $1.6 billion for other shale and tight investments.

Another $5.1 billion of the upstream program would be budgeted for major capital projects underway, including $4.3 billion for the Future Growth Project, as it is known, at the Tengiz field in Kazakhstan. Tengiz, considered one of the world’s deepest producing oilfields in the onshore, is operated by Tengizchevroil, a company formed in 1993 by the Republic of Kazakhstan and Chevron.

Global exploration funding in 2019 overall is forecast to be around $1.3 billion. Remaining upstream spend would be for early stage projects to support potential future developments.

About $2.5 billion of planned capital spending for 2019 is earmarked for downstream businesses that refine, market and transport fuels, and manufacture and distribute lubricants, additives and petrochemicals.

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