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EnCana Seeks Partner for Portion of Haynesville Play

EnCana Corp. is actively looking for a partner to help develop some of its leasehold in the promising Haynesville Shale, company officials said last week.

The Calgary-based independent has around 370,000 net acres in the shale play, which straddles East Texas and northern Louisiana. Around 235,000 net acres are in Louisiana, and the rest of the acreage is in Texas, where the company hopes to secure a partner, said Paul Sander, vice president of EnCana's Mid-Continent operations.

"We are actively looking for a partner for our Texas asset," Sander said during a conference call. "We'll continue to look for somebody to help us derisk those assets...They're quite promising, but there's just a little less activity going on there."

EnCana this year doubled its spending from a year ago in the Haynesville Shale to $580 million, highlighting the company's hopes for the shale play.

Jeff Wojahn, president of EnCana USA, told energy analysts "it was fair to say that we had some milestones that we were looking at to internally achieve" in the Haynesville Shale, which led to the investment boost this year. "You have to take in context that this is a very young and emerging play, and our confidence around data has been improving as we've seen the results coming in."

When EnCana set its 2009 budget last year, "we were very aware of the potential of the Haynesville play, and we debated extensively over whether we should be more aggressive or not," Wojahn said. "And we made the decision at the first quarter that we had seen enough positive milestones in regards to industry results, EnCana results and also our cost structures improving that we thought that we would reallocate a little more money to develop the play."

Sander said EnCana believes the Haynesville Shale is "on the verge of transforming from an emerging play to one of significant commercial development, rivaling the quality and scope of the Barnett Shale," which is located in North Texas.

Unconventional resources, said Wojahn, are "the future of this company, and it's increasingly clear, the future of North America."

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