By Shauna Johnson in News | September 22, 2016 at 4:05PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dozens of employees of TransCanada in West Virginia, formerly employed by Columbia Pipeline Group, are being laid off this week as part of TransCanada’s efforts to align operations with combined company needs, according to a spokesperson.

The exact number of layoffs was not initially available, but Scott Castleman, external communications manager for TransCanada in West Virginia, indicated the workforce reduction, by percentage, would be in the single digits.

TransCanada employs 700 people in the Mountain State. About 400 of those workers are based in Charleston.

“It’s never easy when you’re dealing with the careers of talented individuals,” Castleman told MetroNews.

In July, TransCanada completed its $13 billion acquisition of Columbia Pipeline Group. At that time, company officials said they would next focus attention on “integrating Columbia’s business.”

“When you have the combining of two large companies there will certainly be some overlap and duplication of effort and that’s never easy, never easy to evaluate because you’re dealing with many talented people,” Castleman said.

“They’ve looked at our talent base and looked at our team and have done a very good job of putting Columbia employees in leadership positions and being mindful of the deep history of Columbia in West Virginia.”

Prior to the TransCanada buy, Columbia Pipeline Group, which had been based in Houston, Tex., operated approximately 15,000 miles of interstate gas pipelines extending from New York to the Gulf of Mexico with 2,500 of those miles in West Virginia.

Additionally, CPG maintained extensive underground natural gas storage systems.

Columbia Pipeline Group was a spinoff from NiSource, a natural gas utility operating in seven states.

Castleman said the layoffs should not be viewed as TransCanada’s abandonment of West Virginia.

“Looking at going forward, TransCanada has a very bright future, a very strong future in the state of West Virginia and we’re going to have a presence here for a long time,” he said.