ConocoPhillips cites gas prices for job cuts in Canada

Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:52pm EST
 
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, said on Monday it will cut jobs in Canada as part of a plan to deal with stubbornly low natural gas prices.

ConocoPhillips, which has been turning off unprofitable production through the autumn, will not say how many people it will lay off until a staff meeting planned for Wednesday, said Rob Evans, spokesman for the company's Canadian unit.

"Today we notified our Western Canada gas employees about a number of things we're doing with the low gas environment, and projected low gas environment, including that there will be some layoffs, and those will be happening this week," Evans said.

ConocoPhillips has about 2,000 employees in Canada, about half of whom work in the gas division, he said.

In recent days, gas prices have climbed due to cold weather, especially in the western part of the continent. But the market has been weak since the economic crisis, as industrial demand has been slow to recover and inventories have climbed to record volumes.

In recent months, the company has turned off the taps on about 28,000 barrels equivalent worth of gas a day for economic reasons, Evans said.

Shares in ConocoPhillips closed down 43 cents at $61.49 on the New York Stock Exchange

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Bernard Orr)