DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Liberty Oilfield Services Inc. (NYSE: LBRT; “Liberty” or the “Company”) announced today that it has reduced the size of its workforce, the number of active frac fleets deployed, capital expenditures and its general and administrative cost structure in response to significantly lower customer activity. The COVID-19 virus has resulted in a massive reduction in the demand for oil. At the same time, OPEC+ has increased oil supply to global markets. As a result, oil prices have declined sharply, U.S. oil inventories are rapidly building, and demand for fracturing services is contracting.
Liberty CEO Chris Wright commented, “The health and safety of people always comes first. Liberty has been a leader in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the safety of our team, their families and all those we interact with. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the world’s largest oil demand destruction that will reset oil and gas development activity levels over the next year or more. We have never before reduced our workforce, always charting a different path. We deeply regret that today’s circumstances necessitate that we make significant cuts to our workforce and restructure the compensation for those remaining. I commend the whole Liberty team for always going above and beyond. I want to sincerely thank the Liberty team members who are leaving for their contributions and sincerely hope that we have the opportunity to work together in the future.”
Liberty is also cutting 2020 total capital expenditures to be in the range of $70 to $90 million, a reduction of approximately 50% from our previous expectation. The Company continues to expect its 2020 capital expenditures to be weighted to the first half of the year. The Company has initiated aggressive cost-cutting measures both internally and externally in partnership with our suppliers that are expected to assist Liberty with managing the challenging market while still providing excellent service, technology and efficient operations for our customers. In addition to the significant staffed fleet reductions of approximately 50%, Liberty has adjusted variable and other compensation for employees to align the Company’s cost structure with current market conditions. Liberty has a dedicated workforce and a variable cost structure that enables rapid reaction to changing market conditions while still covering all our commitments to customers.
The officers of the Company have agreed to a base salary reduction of 30% that is greater than the previously announced 20%, effective April 1, 2020. This is in addition to the cancellation of cash variable compensation programs for the year which equate to a reduction of approximately 66% in annual cash compensation versus 2019. Liberty’s directors have agreed to reduce their cash retainer for Board service by 30%, effective April 1, 2020. These compensation reductions remain subject to revision by the Board as circumstances may warrant.
Liberty is suspending future quarterly dividends until business conditions warrant reinstatement. Disciplined capital deployment is a core Liberty principle and we look forward to resuming dividend payments when appropriate. The Company plans to provide a more detailed update on operating and financial conditions in conjunction with its earnings release for the first quarter of 2020.
Mr. Wright added, “These industry conditions are unprecedented. Hence, we are taking bold, decisive action to position Liberty to survive this downturn and come out in a stronger competitive position, just as we did during the previous downturn. We are playing the long game. The next few months are likely to be the most trying as storage constraints are blowing out differentials across all basins, leading to significant interruptions in frac activity. We currently expect that industry wide activity in the second quarter will be down more than 50% from first quarter levels. We are working closely with our customers to help them deal with these interruptions. There is likely to be an increase in industry activity from second quarter levels in the later part of the year, but it will be at a reduced level from the activity before the COVID pandemic. Our top tier customers value the Liberty partnership, innovations and efficiency that enhances their operations during these challenging times. All of our key customer partnerships will be strengthened during this crisis. We are grateful for the efforts and dedication of our employees, customers and suppliers who together will navigate these troubled waters.”
Liberty is an independent provider of hydraulic fracturing services to onshore oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in North America. Liberty was founded in 2011 with a relentless focus on improving tight-oil completions, and an emphasis on customer partnerships and technology to find innovative answers to frac optimization. Liberty is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. For more information about Liberty, please contact Investor Relations at IR@libertyfrac.com.
Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
The information above includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included herein concerning, among other things, the deployment of fleets in the future, planned capital expenditures, future cash flows and borrowings, pursuit of potential acquisition opportunities, our financial position, return of capital to stockholders, business strategy and objectives for future operations, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “may,” “expect,” “estimate,” “outlook,” “project,” “plan,” “position,” “believe,” “intend,” “achievable,” “anticipate,” “will,” “continue,” “potential,” “should,” “could,” and similar terms and phrases. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, they do involve certain assumptions, risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements represent our expectations or beliefs concerning future events, and it is possible that the results described in this earnings release will not be achieved. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions identified above or as disclosed from time to time in Liberty's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result of these factors, actual results may differ materially from those indicated or implied by such forward-looking statements.
Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and, except as required by law, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all such factors. When considering these forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 as filed with the SEC on February 27, 2020 and in our other public filings with the SEC. These and other factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.