Earlier on Thursday, analysts at Citigroup downgraded contract driller Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP) to sell citing concerns related to weak pricing environment, low utilization and possibility of contract cancellations.The downgrade came after the 47% drop in Helmerich & Payne stock since the beginning of the second half of 2014 which was largely due to the significant decline in oil prices during this period to multi-year lows.
As expected, the weak oil prices have prompted a majority of oil and gas producers - such ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) -- to make double-digit cuts to their capital expenditure plans for 2015. Oil major Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), on the other hand, has said that it will release its 2015 budget by early March. Exxon Mobil, however, had already planned to reduce its capital expenditure even before the slump in oil prices began, given the company's spending peaked in 2013. Chevron (NYSE:CVX), in contrast, has said that it will slash its 2015 capital budget by 13%. Chevron's spending, like Exxon, also peaked in 2013 but the company has accelerated the pace of the decline in light of the soft crude pricing environment.