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Encana Corporation is a natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids producer operating in Canada and the United States.

Why the top 50?

Already positioned as Canada’s third-largest gas producer,23 the company has plans to substantially expand its carbon-extractive operations, putting it on our list as a top emitter.

Key Stats

Countries of operation: Canada, United States

Head office: Calgary, Alberta

Revenue: US$4.4 billion24

Total assets: US$15.3 billion25

Employees: 210726

Reserves: 130,800,000 oil bbl, 2,617,000 gas MMcf27

Production: oil, natural gas liquids and oil sands: 32,000 bbl/d; natural gas: 887.000 MMcf/d; total: 179,833 boe/d28

Memberships: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada

In Depth

Encana (initially styled EnCana) was forged when a $21 billion merger between Alberta Energy Company and PanCanadian Energy formed the continent’s third-largest gas driller.1 The Alberta Energy Company—a former Crown corporation of the Alberta government—was privatized in 1993.2 A year later, Gwyn Morgan took the helm as company’s CEO, leading it through various incidents of corruption and environmental violations within Canada3 and abroad before it merged to become Encana, with Morgan as founding CEO, in 2002.4

In 2009, Encana split into two independent energy companies, Encana Corporation and Cenovus Energy Inc. Encana remains focused on developing shale and other gas resources in North America, while Cenovus focuses exclusively on developing oil assets.5


Encana’s Canadian operations are focused on unconventional natural gas and natural gas liquids exploration and production, with operations in Alberta and northeastern British Columbia (BC), as well as off the coast of Nova Scotia. In the United States, Encana has oil and gas operations in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Texas and Louisiana via its subsidiary Encana Oil and Gas.


Shareholder Country Ownership
Share (%)
Davis Selected Advisers LP US 9.92
Viking Global Investors LP US 8.39
BlackRock Inc. US 7.90 (direct)
Causeway Capital Holdings LLC US 6.81
Causeway Capital Management LLC US 6.59 (direct)
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) CA 3.01
Vanguard Group Inc. US 2.63
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) CA 2.07
PointState Capital LP US 2.02
Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group Ltd. US 1.78
Wellington Management Group LLP US 1.78
Letko, Brosseau & Associates CA 1.63
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC US 1.51
Power Corporation of Canada CA 1.51
Steadfast Capital Management LP US 1.47
Toronto-Dominion Bank CA 1.31
MLM Trust B LLC US 1.04
Bank of Nova Scotia CA 1.01
Bank of Montreal CA 0.93

Included are all shareholdings of approximately 1% and greater. Source: Orbis Database, October 2018.


Encana is the third-largest natural gas producer in Canada,6 with its core Canadian assets comprising the Montney and Duvernay shale gas plays located in northeastern BC and central Alberta, respectively. Gas in these plays is extracted through the environmentally destructive process of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking).

Fracked gas production in the Montney region of BC has been especially central to Encana’s accumulation strategy, making it a key contributor to the shale gas “boom” in BC. In 2002, the company purchased half a million acres of land in the region.7  It has subsequently drilled over a thousand wells in the region, which have contributed to the company’s steadily rising production levels. Encana’s core asset production, for example, rose by 31 per cent from 2016 to 17,8 and the company projects that these increases will continue, stating in 2018 that it aims to double its gas production in the Montney formation by the end of the year.9

The discovery of major unconventional gas reserves in the northeastern US (especially the Marcellus and Utica shale formations) has resulted in US gas moving into western Canadian producers’ traditional markets, including Ontario and Quebec, leading to depressed natural gas prices throughout the region.10 Despite these conditions, Encana has continued to grow its production, given that much of the gas it produces is moved by pipeline to Alberta, where the biggest industrial user of gas is the oil sands industry.11 Here natural gas is used as an energy source to mine bitumen, and natural gas condensate is used to dilute bitumen (create “dilbit”) so that it can flow through pipelines. As an integral part of oil sands production, gas liquids are highly profitable, Encana’s business strategy takes this into account, and is subsequently targeting condensate-rich locations of the Montney and Duvernay plays 12 (considering them primarily in terms of their value as condensate plays rather than as gas plays), tightly tying Encana’s business strategy to oil sands expansion.13 A corporate presentation in March 2019 suggests that such “liquids growth” is central to Encana’s corporate trajectory.14

As it promises to ramp up gas production, Encana claims that its operations will have a positive impact on the climate, since natural gas could displace higher-carbon oil.15 While oft-quoted by gas manufacturers, Encana’s argument has received considerable criticism from the scientific community: methane gas, which is leaked during the fracking process, is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat within the atmosphere. Moreover, there is recent evidence that the extent of fugitive emissions has been seriously underestimated. A study by the David Suzuki Foundation and St. Francis Xavier University, for example, found that fracking operations released at least 2.5 times more methane than indicated by conventional government estimates.16


Encana has been a major political party donor and is a highly active lobbyist. Of Canada-based fossil fuel firms, Encana has been the second-largest corporate political donor in BC (behind only Teck Resources), giving over $1 million to the BC Liberal Party between 2008 and 2015. These donations account for close to 25 per cent of the fossil fuel industry’s total donations in BC during that period.17 Encana is also highly active in lobbying public officials in BC. Between 2010 and 2016, Encana reported 2,510 planned communications and meetings with government officials, the fourth most of all fossil fuel firms.18

Encana’s connections to the provincial government were also entrenched through its founder and former CEO, Gwyn Morgan. When Christy Clark was elected as leader of the BC Liberal Party in 2011, Morgan was one of her key economic advisors. Morgan was also a generous donor to the BC Liberal Party, having donated a whopping $181,770 to the party between 2009 and 2017.19 Morgan is also the former chair of the board of SNC-Lavalin, the Canadian mining company with a long and varied history of illegal practices overseas. He is a current board member and donor for the right-wing think tank the Fraser Institute.20

Encana has cut a record number of jobs since the downturn in oil and gas prices in Canada: in 2016, the company reported cutting over half its entire staff in just three years.21 In recent years, however, Encana’s revenues have been on the rise again, and it is projecting to increase its spending budget accordingly.22

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  1. Andrew Nikiforuk, “The Gwyn Morgan File: EnCana’s Grip on BC,” The Tyee, March 18, 2011, http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2011/03/18/GwynMorgan2/.
  2. Andrew Nikiforuk, “The Gwyn Morgan File: Rise of a Shale Gas Baron,” The Tyee, March 17, 2011, http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2011/03/17/GwynMorganFile/.
  3. Nikiforuk, “The Gwyn Morgan File: Rise of a Shale Gas Baron.”
  4. Nikiforuk, “The Gwyn Morgan File: EnCana’s Grip on BC.”
  5. EnCana, “EnCana Proceeds with Plan to Split into Two Distinct and Independent Energy Companies” (news release), September 10, 2009, https://www.cenovus.com/news/news-releases/2009/0910-split-proceeds.pdf.
  6. Encana was the second-largest producer in Canada until 2015, when it was surpassed by Canadian Natural Resources, which has made a major move into natural gas in Alberta in recent years. See Reuters, “How Canadian Natural Resources Beat Encana to Become Canada’s Top Natural Gas Producer,” Financial Post, July 18, 2016, http://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/canadian-natural-resources-overtakes-encana-to-become-canadas-top-natural-gas-producer.

  7. “EnCana Completes Land Acquisition.” Globe and Mail, 22 Sept. 2003. The Globe and Mail, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/encana-completes-land-acquisition/article1166380/.
  8. Encana, “Encana Delivers Strong Fourth Quarter and 2017 Results; Company Announces $400 Million Share Repurchase Program” (news release), February 15th, 2018, https://www.encana.com/news-stories/news-releases/details.html?release=16801
  9. Encana , “Encana Strengthens its Condensate-Focused Growth Plan in the Montney with Innovative Midstream Agreement” (news release), April 2nd, 2018, https://www.encana.com/news-stories/news-releases/details.html?release=16816
  10. Tim Boersma and Corey Johnson, “The Shale Gas Revolution: U.S. and EU Policy and Research Agendas,” Review of Policy Research 29, no. 4 (July 2012): 570–76, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-1338.2012.00575.x. The development of a large-scale liquified natural gas (LNG) export industry in BC (which was aggressively pursued by the former Liberal government in the province) would also require a massive expansion of fracked gas production in BC’s northeast. At present, however, only one of the approved export terminals—the relatively small Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish—is slated to move ahead with development. Beyond this terminal, companies have postponed locking in financial decisions in the face of highly unfavourable market conditions. See Marc Lee, Path to Prosperity? A Closer Look at British Columbia’s Natural Gas Royalties and Proposed LNG Income Tax, April 30, 2014, https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/path-prosperity.
  11. Eleanor Stephenson et al., “Greenwashing Gas: Might a ‘Transition Fuel’ Label Legitimize Carbon-Intensive Natural Gas Development?” Energy Policy 46 (2012): 452–59, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.04.010.
  12. Encana, Annual Report 2016: Positioned for Growth, 16–17, http://www.encana.com/pdf/investors/financial/annual-reports/2016/2016-annual-report.pdf; Encana, “Encana Strengthens Its Condensate-Focused Growth Plan in the Montney with Innovative Midstream Agreement” (news release), April 2, 2018, https://www.encana.com/news-stories/news-releases/details.html?release=16816.
  13. Ben Parfitt, “The Resource B.C. Is Piping into Alberta That Nobody Is Talking About,” The Narwhal, August 8, (2018), https://thenarwhal.ca/the-resource-b-c-is-piping-to-alberta-that-nobody-is-talking-about/.
  14. Encana, Corporate Presentation, March (2018)2019, https://www.encana.com/pdf/investors/presentations-events/corporate-presentation.pdf.
  15. Dan Healing, “Oil Executives Complain about Canada’s Competitiveness Gap as Crude Discounts Widen,” Financial Post, October 10, 2018, https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/encana-ceo-says-carbon-taxes-cost-100000-per-well-in-northeastern-b-c.
  16. David Suzuki Foundation, “New Science Reveals Unreported Methane Pollution from B.C.’s Oil and Gas Industry Threatens Canada’s International Climate Commitments” (news release), April 26, 2017, https://davidsuzuki.org/press/new-science-reveals-unreported-methane-pollution-b-c-s-oil-gas-industry-threatens-canadas-international-climate-commitments/; Emmaline Atherton et al., “Mobile Measurement of Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Developments in Northeastern British Columbia, Canada,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17, no. 20 (October 19, 2017): 12405–20, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-12405-2017.

  17. Nicolas Graham et al., Mapping Political Influence: Political Donations and Lobbying by the Fossil Fuel Industry in BC, March 8, 2017, https://www.policyalternatives.ca/bc-influence.
  18. Graham et al., Mapping Political Influence.
  19. Tyee staff, “Christy Clark’s Club: Kings and Queens of the Crowns,” The Tyee, May 3, 2017, https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/05/03/Clark-Club-Kings-Queens-Of-Crowns/.
  20. Bill Tieleman, “Meet Christy Clark’s Hard Right Advisor,” The Tyee, March 8, 2011, http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2011/03/08/ClarksHardRightAdvisor/.
  21. “Further 20% Cuts Planned at Encana as Calgary Company Looks to Save $250M.” CBC News, 24 Feb. 2016, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/encana-cuts-20-percent-downsize-1.3461568.
  22. Jeffrey Jones, “Encana Cuts Losses in 2016, Sees 2017 as a Growth Year,” Globe and Mail, February 16, 2017, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/encana-cuts-losses-in-2016-sees-2017-as-a-growth-year/article34043584/.
  23. “Top 25 Gas Producers,” Oilweek, June 2018, https://s3.ca-central-1.amazonaws.com/media.jwnenergy/reports/Oilweek_Top+100+2018_final.pdf.
  24. Encana, Annual Report 2017: Focused on Quality Shareholder Returns, https://www.encana.com/pdf/investors/financial/annual-reports/2017/2017-annual-report.pdf.
  25. Encana, Annual Report 2017.
  26. Stephenson, Amanda. “Encana Confirms Layoffs in Calgary in Wake of Newfield Acquisition.” Calgary Herald, 22 Feb. 2019, https://calgaryherald.com/business/local-business/encana-confirms-layoffs-in-calgary-in-wake-of-newfield-acquisition.
  27. “Top 80 Canadian Companies by Reserves,” Oilweek, June 2018, https://s3.ca-central-1.amazonaws.com/media.jwnenergy/reports/Oilweek_Top+100+2018_final.pdf.
  28. “Top 100 Canadian Companies by Production,” Oilweek, June 2018, https://s3.ca-central-1.amazonaws.com/media.jwnenergy/reports/Oilweek_Top+100+2018_final.pdf.