buy@ (Adds details on debt, asset sales)
HOUSTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Occidental Petroleum Corp has reduced its workforce "significantly" following the acquisition last year of rival Anadarko Petroleum, the company said on Wednesday.
The company has started cutting jobs after it trimmed staff through a voluntary program, spokeswoman Melissa Schoeb said in an email to Reuters, without providing figures.
Occidental has been selling assets and cutting costs since it outbid Chevron Corp for Anadarko, quadrupling its debt to $40 billion. It plans to slash spending by 40% this year and cut back on production goals to meet dividend and debt payments, it disclosed in November when it released third-quarter financial results.
"Occidental's integration team identified the jobs we need to successfully and safely operate our business and achieve our synergy goals," Schoeb said, adding that it will "provide assistance through the process" to employees.
Layoffs could happen this week, the Houston Chronicle reported on Wednesday, citing an internal email from Chief Executive Vicki Hollub.
Employees in the OxyChem division and Anadarko's Gulf of Mexico business would be spared layoffs, according to the email.
Schoeb did not respond to questions about the internal email.
Occidental faced investor opposition to the Anadarko deal, which did not go to a shareholder vote for approval. It is battling activist investor Carl Icahn, who wants to replace board members and have the company accelerate asset sales.
Occidental has raised about $10 billion so far through sales of properties including a liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique and production in Africa. (Reporting by Jennifer Hiller; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Richard Chang)