Chevron sets 2017 capital budget, in 4th year of spending cuts

Oil and gas major Chevron Corp on Wednesday announced a $19.8 billion capital and exploratory investment program for 2017, down 42 percent from its outlays in 2015.

The 2017 budget is expected to be at least 15 percent lower than projected 2016 capital investments, Chevron said.

"This is the fourth consecutive year of spending reductions," Chief Executive John Watson said in a statement. "This combination of lower spending and growth in production revenues supports our overall objective of becoming cash balanced in 2017."

The 2017 capital budget will target high-return investments and completion of major projects under construction, Watson said.

Chevron said in March it would slash its capital budget by as much as 36 percent in 2017 and 2018.

Construction is nearing completion on several major capital projects, which are now online or will come online in the next few quarters.

San Ramon, California-based Chevron reported a drop in third-quarter profit in October, but the results beat expectations as cost cuts in the company's U.S. oil production division helped mitigate some of the impact of low crude prices .

(Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)