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Encana rejects shale gas deal with PetroChina
by Staff Writers
Montreal (AFP) June 21, 2011

Canadian energy giant Encana said Tuesday it has ended talks with China's state-owned PetroChina on a joint venture to develop a major shale gas project.

Encana, North America's top gas producer, said the two parties were unable to agree on key elements of the proposed deal, including the joint operating agreement.

PetroChina had proposed to invest Canadian $5.4 billion (US $5.5 billion) for a 50 percent stake in the shale gas project.

"After close to a year of exclusive negotiations with PetroChina, we were unable to reach alignment on the planned transaction," Randy Eresman, Encana's president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Eresman said Encana would now look to multiple partners to accelerate development of the shale gas resources in the Cutbank Ridge fields in British Columbia and Alberta.

According to the firm, the fields encompass 635,000 acres (256,975 hectares) with daily production of 255 million cubic feet (7.22 million cubic meters) of natural gas equivalent.

The fields have proved reserves of about one trillion cubic feet (28.3 billion cubic meters) of natural gas equivalent, it said.

"We have determined that the best way for us to advance our plans to unlock value from our Cutbank Ridge business assets is to offer up a variety of joint venture opportunities for portions of the undeveloped resources," Eresman said.

The company also will "examine a transaction with respect to our midstream pipeline and processing assets in the area," he added.

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