HOUSTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Marathon Petroleum Corp MPC.N, the largest U.S. oil refiner, on Tuesday began cutting employees at its U.S. operations as the COVID-19 pandemic further narrowed global demand for motor fuels, people familiar with plant operations said.

U.S. refiners have posted large losses this year as fuel consumption tumbled amid lockdowns and work-from-home policies to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Thin profit margins have been undercut by the need to operate plants at less than 80% capacity.

About 60 salaried staff were let go by midday on Tuesday at Marathon’s large Galveston Bay plant in Texas and another 60 people were dismissed at the company’s Los Angeles refinery, the people said.

The Galveston Bay operation may lose as many as 100 workers this week and up to 200 before the reductions end, one of the people said.

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