January 19, 2016 8:12 am

Connacher further cuts Alberta oilsands output

WATCH ABOVE: Mon, Jan 18: Of the 40,000 temporary workers who fly in and out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, it's estimated about half have lost their jobs. In the first installment of our series on oil's future, Reid Fiest spoke with people in the once booming community that's now facing a bust.

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CALGARY – Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd. is responding to low commodity prices by slashing its Great Divide oilsands output, which will fall by 70 to 80 per cent compared with fourth-quarter levels.

The Calgary-based company (TSX:CLC) says output from Great Divide in February and March will be in a range of 3,000 to 4,000 barrels per day — down from 13.900 bpd in the fourth quarter.

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Connacher previously said on Jan. 8 that output would be cut by about 3,000 bpd and revealed late Monday that January production will be 7,000 to 8,000 barrels per day, at least 6,900 bpd below fourth-quarter levels.

The company has accelerated planned maintenance at the operation, near Fort McMurray, Alta., but says both plants at Great Divide will remain operating for a majority of the time.

Crude oil prices have fallen to lows that haven’t been seen in about 13 years, continuing a downward trend that began in late 2014 because of an oversupply and slowing growth in demand.

READ MORE: Oil briefly slips below $29 as Iran vows to pump more into market

West Texas Intermediate — a type of crude used as the North American benchmark for oil prices — has recently traded below US$30 a barrel for the first time since the spring of 2003. Oilsands crude usually trades at a discount to WTI.

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