Encana is Canada’s largest natural gas producer (Penty 2012-12 China Institute) with a large land position in western Canada of 7.0 million net acres, of which about 3.2 million net acres are undeveloped.
Encana's natural gas resource plays include: Bighorn in west central Alberta, Coalbed Methane, Cutbank Ridge in northern British Columbia, Peace River Arch in northwest Alberta, Clearwater in southern Alberta, including the emerging Clearwater Oil play, and Greater Sierra in northeast British Columbia. The Duvernay in west central Alberta is an emerging play. The Deep Panuke project produces and processes natural gas from approximately 250 kilometers offshore southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia since 2013.
As of 31 December 2012 Bighorn is a 307,000 gross acres (266,000 net acres) resource play in west central Alberta with Resthaven, Kakwa, Redrock and Berland as primary properties. In 2012, Encana drilled approximately 31 net wells and produced about 242,000 barrels per day of natural gas and approximately 5,800 barrels per day of oil and NGLs.
Cutbank Ridge is in the Canadian Rocky Mountain foothills, southwest of Dawson Creek, British Columbia. As of 31 December 2012 Encana controlled about 467,000 gross undeveloped acres (240,000 net acres) over the deep basin Montney formation of which 85,000 net acres have been developed since 2006 near Dawson Creek.
At Peace River Arch in northwest Alberta, Encana drills into the Montney Formation, where it controls about 254,000 gross undeveloped acres (236,000 net acres). As of 31 December 2012, about 26 net wells produced 108,000 barrels per day of natural gas and 2,900 barrels per day of oil and NGLs after royalties. Encana is a 60% owner of the Sexsmith plant, which has a total capacity of 115,000 barrels per day, after it sold compression and gathering lines in the Sexsmith and Pipestone areas to an "unrelated third party". At the same time, the Gordondale sour gas deep cut plant started production with a processing capacity of 50,000 barrels per day and is expected to yield 1,700 thousand barrels per day after royalties.
Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. is the US subsidiary of Encana Corporation and headquartered in Denver. It has interest in approximately 2.6 million net acres of land in the US, of which 2.1 million net acres were undeveloped as of 2012. In December 2011, Encana closed the sale of the majority of its North Texas natural gas producing properties. As of 2012 key resource plays included: the Haynesville Shale in southwestern Arkansas, northwest Louisiana, and East Texas, Jonah Field in Wyoming, Wattenberg Gas Field in the Denver-Julesburg Basin (abbreviated DJ Basin) in northeast Colorado, extending into Wyoming and Nebraska and the Piceance Basin in Colorado. For oil interest, Encana amassed rights for the Collingwood-Utica Shale (Michigan) between 2008 and 2010, mostly in Cheboygan, Kalkaska, Michigan and Missaukee counties. It also has oil interests in the San Juan Basin in New Mexico, and the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale on the border between Mississippi and Louisiana.
By 2013 Encana (USA) was funding about 30 different plays.
At year end 2011, the company’s average production was 3.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas and 24,000 barrels per day of oil and natural gas liquids. It had more than 3500 employees per its April 2011 prospectus. Since 2012 the company's strategy has been to "divest its low-profit generating assets and focus on the lucrative core business of natural gas and liquids production".
On February 25, 2015 Encana cut $700 million from its 2015 budget after reporting an 85 percent drop in operating profits.
When the Canadian Pacific Railway was formed, the government of Sir John A. Macdonald compensated it for assuming the risk of developing the railroad that bound Canada from coast to coast with the subsurface rights for a checkerboard pattern of most of Alberta and part of Saskatchewan. EnCana inherited these subsurface mineral rights. In 1883, the Canadian Pacific Railway drilled for water near Medicine Hat, AB and discovered natural gas.
In 1958, Canadian Pacific created 'Canadian Pacific Oil and Gas' to manage its oil and gas properties and its mineral rights.
In 1971, Canadian Pacific Oil and Gas merged with 'Central-Del Rio Oils' resulting in 'Pan Canadian Petroleum Limited'.
In 2002, PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd was spun out of Canadian Pacific Limited. It subsequently merged with Alberta Energy Corporation to form EnCana. In April 2002, EnCana Corporation launched operations with President and CEO Gwyn Morgan. "Its initial goal [was]... a big company that couldn’t be taken over." that resulted in the disposition of producing assets in Ecuador and the North Sea, as well as exploratory assets in Chad, Ghana, Brazil, Australia, the Mackenzie Delta, and the Middle East.
In spring 2008 residents from Pavillion, Wyoming approached the United States Environmental Protection Agency about changes in water quality from their domestic wells. In May 2008 EnCana announced to split into a gas and an oil company.
In 2009, the EPA announced that it had found hydrocarbon contaminants in residents’ drinking water wells in Pavilion, Wyoming. In November 2009, EnCana split into a company focusing on North American natural gas production representing about two-thirds of the company's production and its reserves, that retained the name EnCana, and an oil company named Cenovus Energy.
In 2011, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index included Encana for the first time. In November 2011, a potential buyer backed out of buying the Pavilion gas field. 2011 net earnings slumped to 128 million from over one billion the year before.
In February 2012, Mitsubishi paid approximately C$2.9 billion for a 40 percent interest in the Cutbank Ridge Partnership with Encana, which involves 409,000 net acres of Montney Formation natural gas lands in northeast British Columbia. In December 2012, Encana announced a $US 2.1 billion joint venture with state-owned, Beijing-based PetroChina through which PetroChina would have received a 49.9 percent stake in Encana’s Duvernay Formation acreage in Alberta. This was in line with the rules that "favor minority stakes over takeovers" since Prime Minister Stephen Harper's December 7, 2012 prohibition of purchases by state-owned enterprises seeking to invest in Canadian oil sands. The deal later fell flat. At the end of 2012, Encana's staff had increased to 4,169 employees.
During 2013 Encana's cash flow decreased. The company cut dividends by more than two thirds, and shares fell by more than 15 per cent. In November 2013 it announced a "restructuring plan", to lay off 20 per cent of its employees, to close its office in Plano, Texas, to sell assets and to found a separate company for its mineral rights and royalty interests across southern Alberta. It planned to invest three quarters of its 2014 capital into five projects: Projects in the Montney Formation and the Duvernay shale in Alberta, the San Juan Basin in New Mexico, Louisiana's Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, and the Denver-Julesburg Basin (DJ Basin) in northeast Colorado, extending into Wyoming and Nebraska.
In September 2014, Encana announced that it would acquire Athlon Energy Inc for $7.1 billion. In May 2014, Jonah Energy LLC acquired Encana's Jonah field operations in Sublette County, Wyoming, from Encana (USA).
From 2008 through 2010 Encana (USA) accumulated a "large land position" of 250,000 net acres at an "average $150/acre" in the Collingwood-Utica Shale gas play in Michigan's Middle Ordovician Collingwood formation. In May 2012 Encana had paid about $185 an acre for oil and gas rights on 2,156 acres (873 hectares) at an auction by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which was "88 percent less than the average paid two years ago in the area". In July 2012, Reuters reported about e-mails between Encana and Chesapeake Energy, America's second-largest natural gas producer, to divide up Michigan counties state land leases for an October 2010 auction to suppress land prices. In 2013, a private landowner filed suit against Encana and Chesapeake for bid rigging. Justice Department and Michigan authorities were investigating whether state or federal laws were violated; As of 2014 the IRS and SEC are also still investigating.
In 2013, two property owners adjacent to a drilling unit filed suit against the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc for potential harm due to proximity. In October 2013, the Judge of the Circuit Court of Ingham County issued an injunction against Encana starting to drill until an administrative hearing before DEQ's supervisor of wells had been completed, re part 12 of DEQ's rules for oil and gas operations. In May 2014, the supervisor of wells found with Encana, that the petitioners did "not have standing", because they did not own land within the drilling unit and dismissed the case.
In November 2013, Ecojustice, the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Committee filed a lawsuit against Encana Corporation and the British Columbia's Oil and Gas Commission for excessive water use from lakes and rivers for its hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, "granted by repeated short-term water permits, a violation of the provincial water act".
In northeastern British Columbia five explosions targeted Encana pipelines between October 2008 and January 2009; media reports indicate the pipeline may have been bombed by a disgruntled community member fearing the sour gas (containing hydrogen sulfide, which can be fatal if too much of it is inhaled) poses a danger to the community. Encana's hydraulic fracturing operations in the US are visible in the 2010 documentary, Gasland, which alleges that hydraulic fracturing causes pollution of ground and surface water, as well as air and soil pollution.
Issues were raised for the Deep Panuke project offshore of Nova Scotia, when it was proposed in 2006 as a smaller version with increased ocean discharges and when Encana asked for a "streamlined regulatory process" without public hearings.
Annually, Encana publishes a Sustainability Report in which they voluntarily disclose a wide variety of operational statistics including energy usage, emissions intensity, GHG emissions, water usage, flared and vented volumes, reportable spills, reclaimed land, community investment, aboriginal engagement, employee education, ethical controls, governance practices, corruption prevention activities, total staff, attrition, gender ratio's, safety and recordable injuries, and an independent assurance of all statistics. All data is shown annually, benchmarked against prior years. If the metric is trending unfavorably, Encana details how it is addressing the issue.