Papua New Guinea-focused upstream company Oil Search has slashed jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to exact its toll on the global economy.

Around 100 positions have been axed at the company’s office in Sydney, Australia and in Anchorage in Alaska. The operator had earlier intended this year to start development of the Nanushuk oilfield in the US state.

“This has been a very difficult decision to make, particularly given current global circumstances. We have treated our team members with respect and will continue to offer them support through the hard times ahead,” said Oil Search managing director Keiran Wulff on Friday.

It appears that more job cuts cannot be ruled out, with Oil Search undertaking “a systematic review to identify and implement further measures to optimise corporate and operating expenditure, focused on driving long-term breakeven costs as low as possible”.

Wulff added that the Australia and PNG-listed company’s board and executive team had agreed to a 20% salary cut for the next six months.

Oil Search said it was continuing to take “decisive steps and make hard decisions” to ensure the sustainability of its business in response to the unprecedented challenges facing the global energy industry.

The company has already suspended all upcoming discretionary activities, except those required to maintain safe and reliable production of oil and gas from its PNG facilities – to both preserve capital and minimise exposure to Covid-19 for its staff.

“It is uncertain how long the current Covid-19 crisis and low oil price environment will last,” said Wulff.

“The actions taken will ensure our company is in the best position possible to ride out the current global economic challenges, continue production safely and reliably, and be in a strong position to deliver our growth projects when economic conditions turn around.”