Timeline: Tracking the layoffs in Alberta’s oilpatch

The collapse in oil prices has led to thousands of job losses in Alberta, the bulk of them in the energy industry. Global News

CALGARY –  With oil prices remaining below $50 a barrel and predictions they could fall even further, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) estimates the energy industry downturn led to over 35,000 layoffs in Alberta’s oilpatch in 2015. CAPP said those cuts include 25,000 in the oil services sector and another 10,000 in exploration and production. Those figures don’t include the thousands of other people who have lost their jobs as the fallout from the oil price collapse continues to impact the province and the country.

There are no hard and fast numbers on the job losses. Alberta employers must reports layoffs of 50 or more people to the provincial government’s ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.  Between Jan. 1 and mid-November, just over 18,000 workers were let go in group notices.

But countless layoffs involve a handful of employees at small and medium-sized businesses and so fly under the radar. And according to emails to Global News from energy industry workers, some companies are laying off employees in groups of less than 50 in order to avoid reporting the job losses to the provincial government.

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Major Alberta energy industry layoffs announced in 2016 and 2015:

February 24, 2016

Encana announces plans to cut its workforce by 20 per cent this year. The company didn’t say how many jobs would be affected by the latest round of layoffs, but based on last year’s figures, it’s expected another 500 people would lose their jobs this year.

Calfrac Well Services Ltd. announces it’s shed more than 1,700 jobs from its Canadian and U.S. workforce since the end of 2014, reducing its head count by 40 per cent in Canada and 60 per cent in the United States as it faces the worst oilpatch downturn in three decades.

November 16, 2015

Pipeline operator Enbridge cuts five per cent of its workforce in a move that affects 500 people at all levels of the company in North America–about half of which are in Alberta. The company says it is also leaving 100 positions unfilled.

October 28, 2015

Devon Energy cuts 15 per cent of its Canadian workforce as the company responds to lower capital spending plans. About 200 employees have been let go in all areas of the company’s Canadian operations, including its Calgary offices and northern Alberta field operations.

September 29, 2015

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Power company TransAlta announces it is cutting 239 positions, most of them at the company’s corporate head office in Calgary. Earlier in the year, TransAlta laid off 247 people from its  Canadian coal and mining operations.

September 24, 2015

TransCanada says it is cutting 20 per cent of its senior leadership positions. The pipeline firm says there will be more job losses to come because of low world oil prices and the “current environment.”

September 23, 2015

Halliburton, in an internal memo posted on the oilfield services giant’s website, says it is planning more cuts to its workforce, including management positions in North America. That’s in addition to the 14,000 layoffs already announced.

September 22, 2015

Cenovus Energy says there will be more layoffs in October but would not confirm the number. CEO Brian Ferguson says this year’s job cuts will amount to about 20 per cent of the company’s workforce.

September 11, 2015

PHX Energy Services, a Calgary-based drilling company, says it’s laying off more than 500 employees, almost half of its workforce.

September 3, 2015

Tervita, an oilfield services company, confirms it has cut 15 per cent of its corporate staff.

September 1, 2015

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Penn West Petroleum Ltd. cut its workforce by 400 full-time employees and contractors — most of them working at company headquarters in Calgary. Most of the job cuts were effective immediately and the rest will be complete by the end of 2015.

ConocoPhillips Canada said it would cut another 400 employees and 100 contractors after its March announcement of 200 layoffs. The company said after October, the total reduction will be 21 per cent of the workforce. The company’s global office announced a 10 per cent average workforce reduction across worldwide operations, and a spokesperson said the Calgary announcement was part of that.

July 30, 2015

Cenovus Energy, which cut 800 jobs earlier in the year, says it’s looking to cut another 300 to 400 jobs in the second half of this year. It is also chopping its quarterly dividend by 40 per cent.

June 23, 2015

TransCanada says it is laying off 185 workers throughout its North American operations. The Calgary-based pipeline company said the layoffs are the result of a restructuring in its major projects department.

May 13, 2015

Trican Well Services announces it has cut 2,000 employees from its North American workforce, including close to 800 in Canada. The update was included in Trican’s first-quarter financial report, which shows the company had a $35.7-million net loss and a $60.3-million adjusted loss in the first quarter.

 March 20, 2015

Trican Well Services confirms it is cutting up to 500 jobs across the country, 150 of them reportedly in Red Deer.

March 18, 2015

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ConocoPhillips Canada confirms it is laying off 200 workers. The cuts represent about seven percent of its workforce in Canada, and will primarily affect employees in Calgary. In February, the company told its 2,800 Canadian Business Unit employees it would announce staff reductions by the end of March.

 March 17, 2015

Talisman Energy, based in Calgary, announces it is cutting as much as 15 per cent of its workforce at its head office.  Of its 1,300 workers in Calgary, between 150 to 200 will be let go. Talisman is being acquired by Spanish energy giant Repsol in a deal worth $15.1 billion Cdn.

Nexen Energy, a subsidiary of China’s CNOOC, announces 400 job cuts, 300 of them in Calgary. The layoffs account for almost 15 per cent of the company’s workers in Canada.

March 11, 2015

Husky Energy tells 1,000 tradespeople at its Sunrise oilsands project they are out of a job. The company says construction at the site is largely complete, although work was not expected to end until the summer.

February 19, 2015

Finning International says it will reduce its workforce in Alberta and B.C. by roughly nine per cent or about 500 people, some of them based in Edmonton and the oil sands. The company supplies heavy equipment.

February 17

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Trinidad Drilling, headquartered in Calgary, announces it is laying off 20 per cent of its salaried staff. Other measures include a seven per cent across-the-board wage cut with a 10 per cent cut to executive salaries.

February 15, 2015

Cenovus, one of Canada’s biggest energy players, says it’s slashing its workforce by roughly 15 per cent. That translates into 800 jobs, the majority of them contract positions.

February 12, 2015

Precision Drilling, Canada’s biggest drilling company, announces it is cutting its budget in half.  It confirms it has 1,000 fewer people working the rigs compared to the same period in 2014.

Husky Energy confirms there will be job cuts in a $400 million budget hack but gives no firm figures.  In February, it announced it’s reducing this year’s capital budget by as much as $400 million and looking for up to $600 million in operational savings in response to the ongoing low-price environment for oil and gas.

February 10, 2015

Oil services giant Halliburton announces plans to slash its workforce worldwide by eight per cent, or 6,400 jobs. It declined to provide numbers on specific regions but the cuts were expected to affect hundreds of jobs in Alberta.

Sanjel, a Calgary-based private oilfield services company, confirms it has been laying off workers. The company has more than 4,000 employees.

February 5, 2015

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Weatherford International, an oilfield services company, announces it is laying off 8,000 workers- about 15 per cent of its workforce. Reports say almost 1,000 of those layoffs will be in Alberta.

Evraz, a company that makes steel plates and tubes for drilling rigs, lays off roughly 150 workers at its Calgary plant, according to Global News sources.

February 3, 2015

Newalta, an oilfield services company based in Calgary, lays off 180 workers. The cuts amount to 15 per cent of its staff.

January 19, 2015

GasFrac Energy Services of Calgary, a company that pioneered a waterless technique to fracture shale, files for bankruptcy protection. The company went out of business in April, throwing around 200 people out of work.

January 15, 2015

Schlumberger, the world’s biggest oilfield-services company, says it will cut 9,000 jobs. Number of workers affected in Alberta: unknown.

January 14, 2015

Suncor Energy announces it is cutting 1,000 people from its workforce of about 14,000.

January 9, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell announces hundreds of job cuts at a massive oil sands project.  Shell said it is laying off less than 10 per cent of its 3,000 workers at Albian Sands.

Do you know of any layoffs in Alberta’s energy industry not on this list? Email – your name will be kept confidential.

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