Cenovus Energy Christina Lake, Aug. 15, 2013
A warning sign is shown close to wellheads that inject steam into the ground and pump oil out at the Cenovus Energy Christina Lake steam-assisted gravity drainage project about 74 miles south of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Aug. 15, 2013. Reuters/Todd Korol

The Canadian oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc. said it may sell as much as $5 billion of debt, equity or other securities, a day after it announced a dividend cut, as the company shores up its balance sheet amid a slump in crude oil prices. The firm filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a mixed shelf offering after it said Thursday it would cut its 2016 budget and lay off more employees.

In a mixed shelf offering, a company may sell securities in one or more separate offerings without filing a prospectus for each one. The filing does not necessarily mean that the securities will be sold immediately or at all.

U.S. oil producers such as Oasis Petroleum Inc. and Pioneer Natural Resources have also launched stock offerings, indicating that some oil producers can tap the capital markets even as other highly indebted ones struggle to survive.

Cenovus cut its dividend by 69 percent Thursday and said it would further reduce its workforce, on top of last year’s 24 percent cut in head count.

These measures came months after Cenovus sold its oil and gas royalty properties to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for about C$3.3 billion ($2.4 billion) to strengthen its balance sheet.

Cenovus had total debt of around C$6.53 billion as of Dec. 31. The company has a market value of C$11.62 billion.