UPDATE 1-Devon cutting offshore workers in Houston

Wed May 12, 2010 5:51pm EDT

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* Some workers receiving severance

* Onshore workers in Houston staying on job

(Adds details, background, bylines)

By Anna Driver and Bruce Nichols

HOUSTON, May 12 (Reuters) - Devon Energy (DVN.N) is laying off some workers in its offshore division as the U.S. oil and gas company finalizes the sale of that unit, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

"Some of the workers have gone to acquiring companies and others are being offered severance packages as they leave the company," Chip Minty, a Devon spokesman, said. "But Devon will continue to operate its southern division in Houston."

Devon, headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, houses its offshore division in Houston, but Minty declined to say how many workers have been offered severance.

He said the company had as many 1,000 workers in Houston in 2008. Devon has about 5,000 employees.

Devon, the second largest U.S. independent oil and gas company by market value, said in November that it would sell its offshore and international assets to focus on exploration onshore in North America.

For example in March BP Plc (BP.L) (BP.N) agreed to pay $7 billion for Devon fields in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and Azerbaijan. [ID:nLDE62A09Y]

And Apache Corp (APA.N), the largest U.S. independent, said in April it would pay $1 billion for Devon's shallow-water oil and gas assets on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico shelf. [ID:nN12109836]

The bulk of Devon's deals have closed, or are in the final stages of closing, Minty said.

Devon employees who work in Houston and focus on its onshore operations in the southern areas of the United States will remain on the job, Minty said.

(Reporting by Anna Driver and Bruce Nichols in Houston; Editing by Carol Bishopric, Phil Berlowitz)

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