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Suncor CEO Steve Williams. Image courtesy of CdnCEOCouncil/Youtube.

Suncor Energy said Wednesday that it will lay off 1,000 employees and cut $1 billion from its 2015 capital spending program in response to plummeting crude prices.

Most of the job cuts will affect contractors although employee positions within the Alberta based company will also be reduced.

Suncor currently has about 14,000 employees.

A hiring freeze for roles not critical to operations and safety will also go in to effect.

Suncor did not comment on how long the hiring freeze will last.

In addition to the $1 billion capital spending cut the company will also implement “sustainable operating expense reductions” of between $600 million to $800 million.

The operating expense cuts will be phased in over the next two years to offset inflation and growth.

The company will also defer projects that have not yet won final approval including the MacKay River 2 oil sands project and the Husky Energy operated White Rose Extension.

Suncor has issued an update to its 2015 guidance to reflect, among other items, reduced spending and lower pricing and related assumptions.

The company’s production guidance for 2015 has not changed.

“Cost management has been an ongoing focus, with successful efforts to reduce both capital and operating costs well underway before the decline in oil prices. However, in today’s low crude price environment, it’s essential we accelerate this work,” Suncor CEO Steve Williams said.