According to Marcellus Drilling News, Noble Energy - a major player in the Marcellus/Utica, has announced plans to cut dividend payments for its common stock by 44%. In addition, they will also be lowering their 2016 Capex by 50%, meaning less drilling and completion activity will take place in 2016 than we saw in 2015.
This move, however, is not unique to Noble Energy. Over the last several weeks we have seen many operators such as Chesapeake and Rex Energy suspending stock dividends and slashing budgets for 2016.
With oil and natural gas prices at a 15-year low, operators are doing everything they can to stay afloat and keep drilling. This includes focusing capital on the areas with the highest rates of return, which will certainly leave mineral owners outside of this focus area waiting even longer for those first royalty checks.