Cenovus Energy is cutting 540 jobs over the next few weeks, and that includes some jobs that were supposed to be chopped in 2016.

"The workforce reductions that we'll see over the next few weeks are the reductions that we announced back in July, plus we did manage to identify some of our field reductions — that were not expected to happen until 2016 — a little bit earlier than expected," said spokesman Brett Harris. 

"So that would account for the total number."

Harris says this is neither unique to Cenovus nor unexpected.

"[It's a] very difficult time for people at Cenovus, as it is for many companies in Calgary, and I think this is just the final response to what has happened with the downturn in oil price," said Harris.

North American crude oil prices were above $100 US a barrel in the summer of 2014. Since then they have steadily fallen, with prices sitting at roughly $45 US this week. 

Other layoffs

Employees at pipeline builder TransCanada were informed this week that more job cuts are coming.

Calgary-based PHX Energy Services said earlier in September it's releasing nearly half of its workforce, amounting to more than 500 employees.

Penn West announced last week that it let go 400 full-time employees and contractors — most of them working at company headquarters in Calgary.

ConocoPhillips Canada also reduced its workforce by about 15 per cent, or 400 employees and 100 contractors.

Nexen announced layoffs earlier this year, as did Talisman Energy.

Tervita — a company that specializes in environmental waste management — cut its corporate head count by 15 per cent because of the "prolonged downturn in the energy markets."

Other oil companies are also reducing staff wages to avoid layoffs. Canadian Natural Resources Limited announced recently it would cut wages by up to 10 per cent.

The company reported a $405-million net loss in the second quarter of this year, saying it would have been profitable if not for an increase in Alberta's corporate tax rate put in place by the governing NDP.