Now that we are officially in a recession, investors would be wise to take a look at their portfolios and seek to balance it out with some defensive options. While consumers and businesses alike trim spending, there are some companies that will not fare as well.

The oil, mining, and gas segment of the economy was primarily impacted by the recent downturn. During the second quarter of the year, that sector shrunk by approximately 4.6% and dried up investments in the industry.

Let’s take a look at some of the companies impacted, and how they plan to tackle the downturn.

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd  (TSX:COS) has dropped nearly 40% during the past three months as a result of the tumbling loonie, falling oil prices, and weak demand.

Dividends have already been cut from $0.35 to $0.05 and may even be eliminated altogether as the company is squeezed for more savings. The company has already cut spending and implemented efficiencies to reduce operating costs, which it did by 12% per barrel.

How severe is the impact on the company? For the second quarter, the company lost over $120 million because of deteriorating oil prices and the weak economy.

Penn West Petroleum Ltd. (TSX:PWT)(NYSE:PWE) looks set to combat the recession by cutting anything and everything possible. The company has already eliminated dividends to shave an estimated $20 million off the budget, and announced staffing cuts. The company has also laid-off 400 workers—roughly 35% of the company’s workforce at a savings of $45 million per year.

Additionally, the company announced that capital spending would be slashed by $75 million this year, and another $150-200 million could be targeted for cuts next year. Hedging contracts could also be leveraged for another $75 million.

During the recent conference call, president and CEO Dave Roberts summed up the company’s situation: “We basically try to set ourselves to make this business work in the $50 Canadian world.”

Canadian Natural Resources Limited (TSX:CNQ)(NYSE:CNQ) is another company suffering from the current landscape. The company beat analysts’ expectations during the last quarter—but that was a very different environment and will likely not be repeated this time. Some analysts have begun to cautiously downgrade the stock, citing concerns over the balance sheet in the months ahead.

The stock is down over 25% over the past three months, and with oil prices continuing to fall, the company will struggle to fund existing expansion projects without taking on considerably more debt.

Assuming that the price of oil does not drop too much further, those expansions could bring in over $1 billion a year for the company. The problem is weathering the current storm.

There are better options to consider in the current landscape than these companies, but those investors that already have significant positions may want to ride out the recession rather than take the losses and run.

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Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned.