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French Total to cut investment programme by 20%

French Total to cut investment programme by 20%

Paris, March 23 - Neftegaz.RU. French oil major Total is planning to cut its investment programme by around 20% and freeze recruitment in response to the oil price crunch, according to a news report. The group is the latest oil and gas producer to slash investment plans and cut costs following a slide in oil prices to 20-year lows, and a slowdown in global demand linked to the coronavirus.

Reuters reports that chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told staff via a video message that it would begin a recruitment freeze and increase cost savings, while halting its share buyback programme.

The news agency, citing a union official, said the energy giant will look to make around $400 million in savings this year, cutting investments in all programmes by about 20%.

The group had planned around $18 billion of net investments in 2020 and to buy back around $2 billion worth of shares. It is unclear how the proposals may affect the North Sea business, operated out of a regional headquarters in Westhill.A Total spokesman declined to comment.

A series of firms are now reviewing spending in light of the oil price drop, which this week saw the Brent Crude benchmark reach its lowest level since 2003.

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