Encana Corp. said Wednesday its board of directors had concluded that the producer had not colluded with "competitors" on land leasing in Michigan two years ago.

In June Reuters reported that Chesapeake Energy Corp. had worked with Encana to suppress land prices in Michigan's leasehold auctions two years ago (see Daily GPI, June 26). Encana's board launched an internal investigation, with Chairman David O'Brien overseeing it. Based on the results of the investigation, the board concluded that Encana did not engage in such conduct.

"External legal counsel were retained in both the United States and Canada to assist in undertaking a thorough investigation, which was conducted independent of company management," the Calgary-based producer said.

"We have taken this matter very seriously and over the past eleven weeks have conducted a very rigorous investigation," said O'Brien. "We hope that the results of this thorough and independent investigation will help to assure our shareholders, staff and the public that they can continue to place their confidence in Encana. We want to reiterate that Encana remains committed to acting ethically and in compliance with laws in all that we do."

Chesapeake and Encana received subpoenas from the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a civil investigatory demand from the Michigan attorney general. Encana said it would "continue to fully cooperate with the investigations of both agencies."

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