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BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie. Image courtesy of ABC News for Australia/Youtube.

Australia-based oil and mining company BHP Billiton said Thursday it will slash capital spending in its petroleum division by $279 million in 2015.

In its annual report the company said it plans to spend $5.6 billion in petroleum capital expenditures for the 2015 fiscal year, down from about $5.9 billion in 2014 and $7.1 billion in 2013.

BHP operates in the Gulf of Mexico and also has onshore sites in Texas at the Eagle Ford and Permian shale plays as well as projects in the Haynesville, Louisiana and Fayetteville, Arkansas shale plays.

The company also operates assets in Australia, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago and Pakistan.

The spending cut is part of a larger plan to reduce expenditures throughout the company.

In 2014, BHP trimmed its exploration and capital expenditures budget by 32 percent down to $15.2 billion.

The company plans to further reduce exploration and capital expenditures in 2015 to $14.8 billion.

“This approach has increased internal competition for capital, improved our capital efficiency and provides for long-term, sustainable shareholder value,” BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said.

BHP also produces coal, copper, aluminium, nickel, iron ore and other metals.

The company’s petroleum division is based in Houston.