Hundreds have been reportedly fired by Husky Energy in Calgary


Dozens of Husky Energy employees have been looking for work after the company fired several workers. Tuesday 22 October 2019. Brendan Miller / Postmedia

On Tuesday, oil and gas giant Husky Energy rejected what some staff members say hundreds of Calgary employees have remained in the midst of the continued depression of the Canadian crude.

A number of staff members could be seen leaving 8th Avenue S.W. The office towers over a line of waiting taxis, clinging to documents that suggest they have been released.

A spokesman for the company confirmed the layoffs but did not say how many employees were affected.

"Today we had to say goodbye to some of our colleagues," Kim Guttormson said in a statement.

"Husky has taken steps to better align the organization and workforce to our capital plan and strategy."

He said the move was made to help the company "achieve its goals".

"It was about changing the way we approach our business, how we make decisions and how we work together to achieve our goals," said Guttormson.

An employee who survived the cuts said that hundreds of employees, including dozens of close collaborators, were dismissed quickly and escorted out.

"There were 40-story meeting rooms to tell people," said the staff, who did not provide a name.

"It was fast, they didn't mess up and they had extra security … the formations (of those fired) were so huge that you couldn't have a coffee."

The staff said the feeling of working for a politically besieged industry, particularly after Monday's federal elections, is strong among Husky employees.

Husky shares have fallen from 80% since a peak in 2008, largely attributed to the collapse of oil prices, a suspension of dividends and a $ 2.75 billion hostile acquisition by MEG Energy Corp.

In January, the company cited the reduction of government production then NDP to reduce the price differential that damaged Western Canadian crude due to the failure of the MEG, along with a "continuing lack of significant progress on the developments of the Canadian export pipeline ".

Thursday the company will release the third quarter results.

At the end of last year, Husky reduced its 2019 spending budget by $ 300 million in response to these production reductions and continued low energy prices.

The Kenney government has extended the reduction program up to 2020, but has facilitated the program levels.

The latest layoffs follow a wave of recent job losses in the industry that have continued since the collapse of oil prices five years ago.

In June, the Spanish company Repsol SA cut 30% of its Canadian workforce as part of a global restructuring move.

Alberta's new UCP government has implemented $ 4.5 billion in tax cuts over the next five years, insisting that the move will increase employment.

But the NDP of the opposition states that so far it has failed to do so due to the increasing job losses.

"This government distributed $ 4.5 billion without guarantees that it will create jobs," said party energy critic Irfan Sabir, who said Husky benefited from the $ 233 million tax cut.

"We know that this pattern has been repeated in all the major energy companies in Alberta."

He also said that the province's decision to cancel the NDP contracts to move oil by rail blocked 120,000 barrels of oil a day, further attenuating employment prospects.

Husky recorded a first quarter profit of $ 248 million this year.

The UCP government has said that tax cuts will bear fruit over time and that oil-rail contracts will be allocated to the private sector to encourage the transport of products.

An investment analyst said that Husky's layoffs are a harbinger of tougher times in the already battered Alberta energy sector.

"I'm not surprised to hear more layoffs, we're seeing it across the energy sector and haven't finished trying to cut costs," said Jennifer Rowland of Edward Jones.

"It will last until 2020 – people cannot rely on saving the oil price".

Rowland said the lack of access to the pipeline is another factor in a bleak vision for the province's energy sector.

"(Investment) will be flat or low. . . I would be really surprised to see short-term projects announced in the short term, "he said.

– With the files of Chris Varcoe

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Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn


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