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Shell: to cut costs and capex to preserve financial strength

( - Shell is taking a series of measures to reinforce its financial strength in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including cost cutting and a reduction of cash capital expenditure.

Faced with the sharp fall in demand for oil, the major said on Monday that it plans to reduce operating costs by 3 billion to 4 billion dollars per annum over the next 12 months compared to 2019 levels.

Its cash capital expenditure will also be lowered to 20 billion dollars or less for 2020, from a previously planned level of around 25 billion dollars, it said.

Together, these initiatives are expected to generate between 8 billion dollars and 9 billion dollars of free cash flow on a pre-tax basis.

Shell also said it is still committed to its divestment program of more than 10 billion dollars of assets in 2019-20, depending on market conditions.

Its board, however, has decided not to continue with the next tranche of the share buyback program following the completion of the current share buyback tranche.

Shell said its liquidity remains "strong," with around 20 billion dollars in cash and cash equivalent, and 10 billion dollars of undrawn credit lines.

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