EDMONTON -- The Alberta government is reducing funding for its oft-controversial "war room" to offset the spending brought on by the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

The move was announced in a news release on Monday.

The release says the centre plans to maintain a reduced budget for three months or until regular operations resume, and it says that if applied on an annual basis, it reflects a 90 per cent reduction in its operating budget from $30 million to $2.84 million.

"Global energy demand is down dramatically because of reduced consumption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Saudi-initiated price war," said Energy Minister Sonya Savage. "But in time, demand will recover. The world still needs reliable energy. While some would like to capitalize on this unprecedented crisis to permanently shut down Canadian oil and gas, we do not believe we should surrender the global energy market to these opponents. The CEC will continue to be required to promote and defend Canadian energy."

The 90 per cent-reduction will remain in place for three months or until regular operations can start again, the province said.

The opposition NDP previously said the CEC has been "nothing but blunders."

In December, the war room changed its logo after complaints it had copied it from a U.S. data company, and in February, the CEC chief apologized for tweets attacking the New York Times.

It’s expected the change will save the government about $2.25 million per month. 

With files from The Canadian Press