Ovintiv slashes workforce by 25%

Oil and gas producer Ovintiv — formerly known as Encana — says it has slashed its workforce by 25 per cent as it prepares for more modest growth in the energy sector.

The company said its workforce will now total 2,100, including 1,900 employees and 200 contractors. The decision affects roughly 650 jobs.

Details about where the reductions have been made were not immediately available. The company said it is not providing regional breakdowns of any layoffs.

But a spokesperson said Wednesday the workforce reductions were near equal percentages across the company’s three corporate offices, which include Calgary, Denver, Colo., and Woodlands, Texas.

It’s the second major workforce reduction by the company in a little over a year.

In February, 2019, Encana announced it had cut its total workforce by 15 per cent and reduced its ranks of executives by 35 per cent. It was estimated at the time that the move affected roughly 470 jobs.

Ovintiv CEO Doug Suttles, seen here in this file photo, said last fall in announcing the company’s plans to move its headquarters to the U.S. that the changes would not affect any Canadian staff. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Thursday’s news comes amid reports of layoffs across the oil and gas sector.

The North American industry has been hammered by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with demand for fuel plunging as an international price war flooded the market with cheap crude.

The situation spurred oil and gas companies to slash both production and capital spending. It also led to job losses across North America, with Rystad Energy pegging the U.S. tally at over 100,000. 

Earlier this spring, Ovintiv announced it would cut second-quarter spending by $300 million and said it was prepared to further reduce capital investments throughout the year.

The company has cut the number of rigs it operates in Canada and the U.S. — to seven from 23 — in a move it said reflected its expectation of future activity levels.

Ovintiv announced last fall that it was moving its corporate headquarters from Calgary to the United States. It had been previously called Encana, one of Canada’s oldest and largest energy companies.

Ovintiv stock was up more than eight per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, climbing to $15.56 a share.

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