Hess raises 2010 capital budget to $3.9 billion

AP News
Posted: Dec 14, 2009 4:32 PM

Hess Corp. said Monday it is raising its 2010 capital budget by 22 percent, with the majority of spending going toward exploration and production.

The New York-based oil company hiked its capital and exploratory budget to $3.9 billion, above the $3.2 billion it spent in 2009 but still below the $4.4 billion it had targeted in 2008. It will spend $2.4 billion on production _ nearly double what it had planned to spend in 2009 _ $600 million on development and $850 million on exploration.

The company said its spending plan is consistent with its long-term goal of increasing reserves and production by 3 percent annually.

Hess's budget hike follows a string of cuts by other oil companies. Last week, Chevron said it would cut capital and exploratory spending next year by 5 percent. In November, Marathon Oil Corp. has said it expects to trim 2010 capital expenditures by about $1 billion, though it hasn't released its official budget yet. ConocoPhillips said earlier in the year it is slashing capital spending as well.

Hess's production plans include the Bakken Shale development in North Dakota and drilling production wells at the Okume Complex in Equatorial Guinea and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Shares of Hess rose 65 cents to close at $56.28.