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Tullow Oil slashes 2020 production guidance amid leadership changes

Tullow Oil PLC announced it expects production to average between 70,000 barrels of oil per day and 80,000 bbl/d in 2020 amid some changes to its board and executive leadership including the resignation of CEO Paul McDade.

The company said the lower guidance is due to reduced gas off-take by Ghana National Gas Co. Ltd in the Jubilee field and mechanical issues on two new wells at the Enyenra field, according to a Dec. 9 news release. Both fields are in Ghana.

Tullow's 2020 guidance is lower than its expected West African production for the current year at an average of 87,000 bbl/d. The guidance for 2019 has been reduced three times this year.

The company also expects production to average about 70,000 bbl/d from 2021 through 2023.

Dorothy Thompson, who was appointed as executive chair on a temporary basis, said the board was disappointed by the performance of Tullow's business and needs time to complete its review of operations.

Angus McCoss, who served as exploration director, stepped down. McDade and McCoss' resignations are effective immediately.

Mark MacFarlane was named COO. MacFarlane was executive vice president for East Africa and nonoperated fields.

Independent reserve audits showed that Tullow's oil reserves are expected to be flat at the end of the year compared to the prior-year period. Higher oil reserves were seen for Jubilee, Ntomme and the nonoperated fields but are offset by a decrease in reserves from the Enyenra field.

The company said it will reduce capital expenditures, operating costs and corporate overhead to help deliver sustainable free cash flow. Tullow expects to generate underlying free cash flow of at least $150 million in 2020, pushing the company to suspend its dividend.

Tullow's shares were down 70.76% at market open Dec. 9.

The company also said the Carapa-1 well's drilling will have a result before year-end. The well is in Guyana's Kanuku block.