December 10, 2015 / 7:21 PM / 2 years ago

Cenovus Energy to lower capex in 2016; no changes to dividend

A warning sign is pictured near wellheads that inject steam into the ground and pump oil out at the Cenovus Energy Christina Lake Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) project 120 km (74 miles) south of Fort McMurray, Alberta, August 15, 2013. REUTERS/Todd Korol

(Reuters) - Canadian oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.TO) said it expects its capital spending to be 19 percent less next year than in 2015 but has no plans to change its dividend.

Oil producers are tightening spending following a 60 percent drop in crude prices since June last year. Prices hit near seven-year lows this week after OPEC’s decision to keep its high output target unchanged.

ConocoPhillips (COP.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) announced cuts to their 2016 budgets earlier this week.

Cenovus said it expects to spend between C$1.4 billion and C$1.6 billion ($1.03 billion and $1.18 billion) in 2016, down from C$1.8 billion-C$1.9 billion this year.

The company has already cut 700 jobs and slashed its dividend by 40 percent this year to 16 Canadian cents per share.

Calgary-based Cenovus said on Thursday it had room to cut its budget by another C$100 million-C$200 million “if oil prices were to weaken significantly.”

Cenovus, which operates the Foster Creek and Christina Lake oil sands projects in Alberta with ConocoPhillips, said it expects to get regulatory approval for an advanced phase development at Christina Lake soon.

Cenovus’s shares were down 1.2 percent at C$18.46 in afternoon trading. Up to Wednesday, the stock had fallen nearly 22 percent this year.

Reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Manish Parashar; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel

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