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Photo: CARINA JOHANSEN/NTB Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

Equinor is the latest oil-and-gas giant to announce it will cut spending in response to coronavirus and the steep decline in oil prices.

Driving the news: The Norway-based multinational said Wednesday morning that its planned 2020 capital spending will now be around $8.5 billion this year, down from $10 billion to $11 billion.

  • The company's action plan includes cutbacks to exploration and operating costs.

Why it matters: It shows how companies are drastically overhauling their plans to cope with the new market landscape.

  • Equinor said its overall goal is to be cash-flow neutral for 2020 with Brent crude oil prices averaging around $25-per-barrel for the remainder of the year.
  • Brent is trading in the $26-per-barrel range on Wednesday morning.

What's next: U.S. activities are in the crosshairs. "Within U.S. onshore activities, drilling and completion activities are being halted to produce the volumes at a later period, reducing investments significantly for 2020," the company said.

  • Reuters has more on the plans here.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reviewed an internal email from the huge U.S.-based producer Occidental Petroleum which reveals plans to cut salaries for U.S. employees by up to 30% to save money.

  • "Chief Executive Vicki Hollub’s salary will be cut by 81% and the oil-and-chemical company’s top executives’ pay will be cut by an average of 68%, according to the email."

Go deeper

Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free

Photo: Ken Cedeno/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration will announce Wednesday that 400 million non-surgical N95 masks will be made available to the public for free at thousands of "convenient locations" across the U.S.

Why it matters: This is the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history, according to a White House official. The masks are slated to be available at numerous local pharmacies.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
59 mins ago - Health

The end of the Omicron wave is in sight

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The Omicron wave is likely beginning to recede in the U.S., experts say.

Why it matters: Omicron is still wreaking havoc in parts of the country, but infectious disease experts are optimistic that relief is around the corner.

NASA estimates Tonga volcano exploded with force of 5-6 megatons

A satellite image of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Dec. 24, before the eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

NASA scientists estimate the power of Tonga's volcanic eruption over the weekend to have been 5-6 Megatons of TNT equivalent.

Threat level: Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haʻapai volcano and subsequent tsunami killed at least three people. Scientists warn an "ash-seawater cocktail" poses a potentially toxic health threat, and drinking water could be contaminated.