03/11/2015 05:08 EDT | Updated 05/12/2015 05:59 EDT

Husky Energy Unexpectedly Lays Off 1,100 Workers From Sunrise Project

Husky Energy Inc. has unexpectedly laid off 1,100 workers at its Sunrise oilsands project, as they reported oil has started to flow from the northeastern Alberta site.

Izzy Huygen, a representative of the Christian Labor Association of Canada, told Reuters the layoffs came as a shock to many of the workers, who expected their jobs to carry over into the summer months.

“Guys were just notified this morning as they woke up in camp,” Huygen said Wednesday.

“They were supposed to be there until June, July and August. It was supposed to be a gradual decline through the summer, so this was unexpected.”

The workers were contracted through Saipem Canada, and Husky confirmed that Saipem's arm of the project has "been wrapped up."

Futher layoffs are also to come, the company confirmed.

“As more work is wrapped up, we expect to see further decreases," Husky spokesman Mel Duvall told the Canadian Press.

Huygen told CBC News he's unsure why things ended so suddenly.

“I may find out or I might never know.”

The first phase of Sunrise is expected to ramp up to 60,000 barrels a day around the end of 2016.

The project is part of a 50-50 joint venture with BP.

(With files from the Canadian Press.)

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