Cenovus cuts nearly 250 workers as oil sector job losses mount

Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:25pm EDT
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By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta, April 12 (Reuters) - Cenovus Energy said it let go nearly 250 employees on Tuesday as part of a previously announced restructuring, a spokesman said, adding to the tens of thousands of energy industry workers laid off in Canada since oil prices crashed.

The cuts at the oil and gas producer are part of the 440 layoffs outlined by Cenovus earlier this year, when it reported quarterly losses and said it would slash its dividend and 2016 capital budget.

Spokesman Brett Harris said 190 contractors lost their jobs earlier this year and with Tuesday's cuts the bulk of the planned layoffs were now complete. The few remaining affected employees have been informed but will remain at the company a little longer to complete work, Harris said.

In total, Cenovus's headcount is about 31 percent lower than it was at the end of 2014, with around 3,600 employees remaining.

Harris said at present there were no further plans for layoffs this year.

"At this point that's all we have planned for the year but it really will depend on what happens with the economy and the price of oil," he said.

Canadian oil sands producers such as Cenovus have some of the highest project breakeven costs globally and have been hard hit by the 65 percent drop in oil prices since June 2014.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimates oil and gas investment has dropped 62 percent to C$31 billion ($24.28 billion) in two years and including indirect jobs more than 110,000 people across the country have been laid off since the start of the downturn.

($1 = 1.2769 Canadian dollars)