Devon Energy slashes 20% of staff, cuts dividend

Devon Energy will lay off 20 per cent of its staff in the first quarter of the year, the company says, but it's not yet clear how many cuts will take place in Alberta.

Not yet clear how many cuts in Alberta, which saw 200 job losses last fall

Devon's Jackfish complex in Alberta reached the 100-million-barrel milestone of cumulative production in early 2015, but now the company says it is scaling back capital investments in Canada. (devonenergy.com)

Devon Energy will lay off 20 per cent of its staff in the first quarter of the year amid record-low oil prices, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Some 700 of an estimated 1,000 layoffs will be in Oklahoma City, where the independent oil producer is based, a company spokesman told the The Oklahoman newspaper.

It's not yet clear how many cuts will take place in Alberta, which saw 200 job losses last fall.

The company has offices in Calgary and field operations in northern Alberta.

A spokesperson for the company was not available after hours.

The company said the Oklahoma City layoffs — which are expected to be complete by Thursday — are due to "the current commodity price environment" and an effort to reduce expenses in order to remain financially flexible and competitive.

The cuts will impact both administrative and operating personnel, Devon said, and will bring the total workforce reduction to more than 25 per cent over the past 12 months.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimates that about 100,000 jobs — mostly in Alberta — have been lost in Canada's oil and gas sector since 2015.

Also on Tuesday, Devon said it cut its dividend to 6 cents a share for the second quarter of 2016, down from the previous distribution of 24 cents a share.

With files from The Associated Press

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