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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Caspian Oil Firm Cuts Back

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Canada's struggling oil independent Hurricane Hydrocarbons has started to lay off workers at its oil operation in Kazakhstan as part of a major downsizing, the company said last week.

"An oil operation the size of Kumkol does not require more than 5,000 people," Hurricane spokesman Yerkin Zikibayev said Friday.

"After the attestation process we will dismiss over 1,000 people as part of the first stage [of layoffs]," he added.

He said 5,200 people worked at the Kumkol operation, close to the southern town of Kyzyl-Orda, at the start of the year.

The company's involvement in the resource-rich Central Asian nation of 15 million since then has hit a series of snags, including low oil prices, a dispute with the Chimkent refinery where its oil is processed and a plunging stock price.

Zikibayev said production at the Kumkol oil field, with estimated reserves of 429 million barrels, was at around half the peak rates hit last year.

"One month ago production was about 4,000 to 5,000 tons of crude a day," he said.