The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday edition that Saudi Arabia and Russia appear to be digging in for a lengthy skirmish in the markets, after they failed to agree last week on output limits to deal with an economic slowdown. The Globe's Jeffrey Jones writes that there is no reason to keep capital tied up when crude oil is selling for half of what it was at the start of year. A painful aspect to this oil crash for Canada's energy business is that the wounds from the last one have not healed. If there is a positive, it is that the lessons from 2014-16 are still fresh in the minds of executives and directors. The most important: act quickly and decisively, even if the medicine is harsh. Surge Energy slashed its dividend by 90 per cent and pushed the remainder of its capital spending into the second half of the year. It has lots of company. In the United States, Occidental Petroleum cut its dividend by 86 per cent and its capital spending by $1.7-billion. Marathon Oil reduced its capital budget by a fifth. Last week, Vermilion Energy cut its monthly payout by half. Others will undoubtedly follow, having struggled through the ravages of the last downturn, especially in Canada where the rout was more pronounced.
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