February 28th, 2024

Encana’s long local history is history

By Medicine Hat News on November 1, 2019.

Encana’s roots in southeastern Alberta can be tracked back to the initial discovery of natural gas in the region, but for a decade the company’s local operations have been nothing more than history.

The natural gas giant that once controlled the drilling rights to Suffield Block and inherited petroleum rights from Canadian Pacific Railroad, announced on Thursday that it would move its head office to Denver from Calgary.

Industry observers noted the exit as another sign of struggle for Canadian-based producers that have fought with low prices, stressed export capacity and what business groups call regulatory burden.

The company was a major presence in the southeast until 2009, and was even headed by Medicine Hat native Randy Eresman from 2006 to 2012.

Encana’s operations at CFB Suffield were hived off in 2009 when the company split oil and gas operations by creating oil-focused company Cenovus. That company subsequently sold off its operations there in 2018 to International Petroleum Corporation (IPC Alberta) in order to pay for an expansion in oilsands production.

According to financial transparency documents filed with investors, the company had no operations in Cypress, Newell or Forty Mile counties in 2018. Small operations on the Siksika First Nation, Wheatland County and Vulcan County are listed alongside more substantial operations in northwest Alberta, British Columbia and Texas..

The company was formed in 2002 as a combination of The Alberta Energy Corporation and PanCanadian Petroleum, the later of which was the resource division of the CPR. It earned mineral rights along the route of the Trans-Pacific Railroad as part of its franchise with the Dominion of Canada in the 1880s.

Along the way, drilling crews seeking water discovered gas at Alderson in 1883, which is pointed to in the City of Medicine Hat’s founding story and as the birth of the Western Canadian energy sector.

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