CALGARY -- Officials with Cenovus Energy confirm the acquisition of Husky Energy will result in the elimination of between 20 and 25 per cent of the staff of the combined company.

Together, the companies currently have 8,600 employees and contractors, which means between 1,720 and 2,150 layoffs are planned.

According to Cenovus, the majority of the staffing cuts will occur in Calgary.

Cenovus announced it had purchased Husky on the weekend through a $3.8 billion share transaction. The deal is expected to be finalized in 2021.

Following the announcement of planned cuts at the combine company, Energy Minister Sonya Savage says there's still reason for optimism regarding Alberta's energy sector.

"Those who wish to see Canada's energy sector shut down entirely will no doubt opportunistically seize upon today's news," said Savage in a statement. "But projections show continued global demand for fossil fuels well into the future. We believe that Canada should not cede that market to countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia. 

"As companies across the globe navigate unprecedented economic times, job restructurings are an unfortunate reality of weathering the storm. 

"As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the Government focused on ensuring that the oil and gas sector is in a strong position for recovery, while also diversifying the economy to create new jobs."