Canada's Imperial reducing contractor workforce at Kearl oil sands project

·1 min read

By Nia Williams

(Reuters) - Canada's Imperial Oil Ltd is reducing the number of contractors working at its Kearl oil sands site in northern Alberta as part of measures to cut operating costs at the project, a company spokeswoman said on Monday.

Imperial is deferring some non-critical work or moving it off site, spokeswoman Lisa Schmidt said, adding the company has not laid off any employees.

There is no impact on oil production at Kearl, a 240,000 barrel-per-day bitumen mining project that has been operating since 2013.

Schmidt declined to say how many people would be impacted but said Imperial is trying to maintain an average of 2,000 people on site at Kearl and the company is currently above that level.

Calgary-based Imperial, majority-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp, has 5,300 employees, not including contractors, according to company filings and earlier this month reported record annual earnings in 2022.

Imperial's decision echoes a move from rival oil sands producer Suncor Energy Inc, which last November announced it would cut 20% of its contractors in mining and upgrading operations to help improve site safety.

(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)