Encana posts loss, accelerates activity in U.S. Permian basin

Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:20am EST
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By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian oil and natural gas producer Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) (ECA.N: Quote) reported a quarterly loss on Thursday but reported an increase in oil production and said it is speeding up spending in the Permian basin in Texas.

Encana plans to spend an extra $150 million in the Permian shale field in the current quarter that was originally earmarked for 2016. The company expects total capital spending of $2.2 billion this year, the upper end of its earlier forecast.

Even so, Encana is continuing to clamp down on costs as the oil price slump drags on.

"I'm very confident our efficiencies will be even better next year than this year. We'll build off the operating performance we've achieved," said chief executive Doug Suttles.

Encana has cut its workforce by 40 percent since the end of 2012 and Permian horizontal drilling and completion costs are down about $2 million per well this year.

It has been restructuring its portfolio to diversify production away from low-value natural gas towards oil and expects asset divestitures to total $2.8 billion in 2015.

In August, Encana sold its Haynesville natural gas assets in northern Louisiana for $850 million and said in October it would sell its Denver Julesburg basin oil and gas assets in Colorado for $900 million.

The Calgary-based company has booked impairment charges of $3.62 billion so far this year, including $1.07 billion in the third quarter, to write down the value of assets amid a prolonged slump in global crude prices.   Continued...

A natural gas well platform owned by Encana south of Parachute, Colorado, December 8, 2014.  REUTERS/Jim Urquhart