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The company, which provides drilling technology and services to oil and gas companies in Canada, the United States, Albania and Russia, says most of the job cuts affected people living in Alberta.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Calgary-based drilling company PHX Energy Services Corp. has laid off nearly 50 per cent of its work force, putting more than 500 people out of work.

The company, which provides drilling technology and services to oil and gas companies in Canada, the United States, Albania and Russia, says most of the job cuts affected people living in Alberta.

PHX said in a statement that the layoffs were necessary due to "current market challenges and uncertainty with respect to future oil commodity prices and drilling activity."

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The job cuts, announced Thursday, came despite company-wide salary reductions earlier this year of between 5 and 20 per cent.

The cuts follow an Alberta government report that more than 12,700 people have lost their jobs in the province in group layoffs as of Sept. 4.

And it says more than 75 per cent of them have been in the energy sector, while the remaining 25 per cent were related to the retail, food and financial services sectors.

In Alberta, employers are required to provide notice to the province when 50 staff or more are let go. As of Sept. 4, the government had received a total of 84 group layoff notices, Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour spokeswoman Erin Gregg said in an e-mail.

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