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Husky Energy plans steep spending cuts through 2023 with focus on free cash flow

Husky Energy Inc. plans to cut its capital spending for the five-year period ending 2023 as it focuses on generating increased free cash flow.

The Calgary, Alberta-based oil and gas producer said May 28 that it would spend an annual average of C$3.15 billion for the 2019 to 2023 period, compared to planned annual capex for the 2018 to 2022 period of C$3.5 billion. The revised plan reduces total capital expenditures in the period by about C$1.7 billion.

"The [updated five-year] plan achieves a significant increase in free cash flow while increasing production by about 100,000 barrels per day through 2023," Robert Peabody, president, CEO and director of Husky, said in the release. The company expects to generate total free cash flow before dividends of C$8.7 billion at a flat C$60 West Texas Intermediate planning price.

Husky said it remains on target to spend between C$3.3 billion and C$3.5 billion in 2019, and retained its upstream production guidance of 290,000 to 305,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The producer is also exploring the sale of its Canadian retail and commercial fuels business and Prince George Refinery, located in Prince George, British Columbia.

In addition, Husky said it will continue to grow its Saskatchewan thermal bitumen production; increase high-netback gas production offshore China and Indonesia; and complete construction of its West White Rose Project in the Atlantic region.

Husky's upstream operations are located mainly in western Canada, offshore east coast of Canada, offshore China and offshore Indonesia.