By Sarah McFarlane 
 

LONDON--Royal Dutch Shell PLC has joined Big Oil peers in halting its share buyback and cutting spending to boost its balance sheet.

Oil companies are in crisis-mode after crude prices halved in the past month on a coronavirus-induced fall in demand. That coincides with a fight between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has Riyadh pumping flat out, contributing to a supply overhang.

Shell said Monday that it would preserve its dividend but halted a $25 billion share-buyback program it launched in July 2018. It is reducing investments by 20% to $20 billion.

"The combination of steeply falling oil demand and rapidly increasing supply may be unique, but Shell has weathered market volatility many times in the past," said Chief Executive Ben van Beurden.

The company said its liquidity remained strong with $20 billion in cash and $10 billion of undrawn credit lines.

 

Write to Sarah McFarlane at sarah.mcfarlane@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 23, 2020 05:34 ET (09:34 GMT)

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