Refiner Irving Oil to lay off 6% of global workforce as pandemic saps demand

FILE PHOTO: An Irving Oil sign is seen at gas station in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

(Reuters) - Irving Oil will lay off 6% of its global workforce due to economic challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, the refining company said on Wednesday.

Energy companies across the world have been slashing jobs as the global coronavirus pandemic saps demand for crude oil, refined products and related services.

The layoffs will affect 250 workers across its operations in Canada, the United States, Ireland and the UK, according to the company.

“The challenges that we face in our business and our industry are unlike any we have ever experienced,” Irving Oil president Ian Whitcomb and chief brand officer Sarah Irving said in a joint statement.

Irving operates Canada’s largest refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, as well as a refinery in Cork, Ireland.

In May Irving agreed to buy the North Atlantic Refining Corp, the owner of the Come-by-Chance refinery in Newfoundland, Canada for an undisclosed price.

The deal has not yet closed.

The idled 130,000 barrel per day refinery in Newfoundland was the first to close in North America as refiners worldwide began to scale back to adjust to a sudden demand slump due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Reporting by Laura Sanicola; Editing by Chris Reese