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CALGARY — Cenovus Energy says it plans to cut $400 million in costs and has laid off more workers than originally expected as it continues to tighten its belt amid prolonged low crude prices.

In announcing its third-quarter results today, the Calgary-based oil producer and refiner said it has reduced its workforce by 700 people for the second half of the year, about double what it forecast in July.

That's on top of the 800 positions Cenovus eliminated in February.

Cenovus says it expects to finish this year with 24 per cent fewer staff compared with the end of 2014, providing $100 million in annual cost savings starting in 2016.

The company reported a third-quarter operating loss of $28 million or three cents per share, down from a profit of $372 million or 49 cents per share a year ago.

Net income was $1.8 billion, up from $354 million, driven in part by its sale of its royalty portfolio for $3.3 billion cash to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in July.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Cenovus Energy was to cut 700 jobs, but those layoffs have already happened.

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