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More than one-third of the 254 jobs being cut by Whiting Petroleum Corp. are in North Dakota.

The oil producer announced the cuts last week, saying they were part of a companywide restructuring aimed at cutting costs. Whiting estimates the changes will save the company $50 million annually.

About 100 of the lost positions are in North Dakota, according to Paula Hickel, Job Service North Dakota office manager in Williston. The cuts are split among Williston, Watford City and New Town, she said.

Denver-based Whiting operates primarily in the Bakken and Three Forks, as well as in the Niobrara shale play of northeast Colorado. State data show that Whiting has more than 1,500 active oil and gas wells in North Dakota, and the company says it added 50 wells in the Williston Basin during the second quarter of the year.

The job losses represent one-third of Whiting’s workforce.

Hickel said her office is fielding a number of questions in the wake of the layoff announcement, including some from the community.

"If it is a big company, people wonder if it is an indication that the whole bottom is falling out of the oilfield," she said. "But that’s not accurate.”

Officials have scheduled workshops this week in Williston and Watford City for Whiting workers and anyone else going through a layoff.

“This can be very overwhelming,” Hickel said.

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