03/03/2016 06:47 EST | Updated 03/04/2017 00:12 EST

Calfrac Well Services cuts another 500 jobs from North American workforce

CALGARY — Calfrac Well Services Ltd. has cut another 500 jobs as gloom continues to linger over the oil and gas sector.

The Calgary-based oilfield services firm says it now has 2,300 fewer workers in North America than it did at the start of 2015.

U.S. benchmark crude oil prices are at around US$35 a barrel — a dramatic drop from mid-2014 highs of US$108 a barrel.

Calfrac CEO Fernando Aguilar says the price weakness has led to unprecedented cuts in capital spending from the exploration and production companies it serves.

He says it's been especially bad in the North American market and that the staff cuts will help Calfrac navigate through what is shaping up to be the worst industry downturn in decades.

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors has estimated that 100,000 industry jobs have been lost since the downturn took hold.