Doug Suttles, President and CEO of Encana Corp speaks at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary, Tuesday, May 3, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Ridewood

Encana CEO says Canadian oilfield would produce more if regulated in the U.S.

CALGARY — Western Canada’s Montney oil and gas region would be two to four times more productive if it was in the United States with its more efficient regulatory systems, says the CEO of Encana Corp.

The enormous hydrocarbon-bearing formation that underlies the northern Alberta-B.C. border can compete with premier Texas shale oilfields, said Doug Suttles on Wednesday.

But it’s being held back by a “cumbersome” regulatory system, along with the inability of smaller Canadian producers to access development capital.

The “complexity and uncertainty in the regulatory process is orders of magnitude higher” in Canada, where Encana produces about one-third of its oil and gas, compared with the U.S., Suttles said.

“The Montney now is the biggest area of growth in Canada — it’s where we’re focusing our attention — and if it sat in the United States it would probably be producing two, three, four times what it is producing today,” he said.

Suttles said his company and its partner have built gas-processing plants to process Encana’s Montney production that use hydroelectric power and are among the world’s most energy-efficient.

He said it’s “ridiculous” that getting permits for such plants can take longer than the time required to construct them.

Calgary-based Encana has been focused on growing its U.S. operations of late, including gaining a new core operating area in the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma with the all-shares acquisition of U.S. rival Newfield Exploration Co. in mid-February.

Suttles made the comments during a panel discussion at a PwC-sponsored energy forum in downtown Calgary that examined what Canada’s energy sector can do to compete more effectively.

It’s vital that the country get pipelines built to take products to market, starting with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that could be approved by the federal government next month, said PwC national energy leader Reynold Tetzlaff.

Canadian politicians also need to co-operate to establish a credible national energy policy, he added, noting that investors don’t want to put their money in a country whose policies are a mystery.

“People need certainty. We saw it in 2011 when we had investment flowing into the Canadian sector,” Tetzlaff said.

“If they can’t model it out, foreign investors aren’t going to invest here. And to get certainty, we need these governments to actually get along.”

Alberta’s recently elected premier, Jason Kenney, has promised to take on foes of the oil and gas sector with an energy “war room” to counter misleading stories on the industry.

It’s a good idea if it focuses on delivering a torrent of good information about Canada’s climate strategy and sector efficiency but it shouldn’t let the focus be on anti-development non-government organizations, said Robert Johnston, managing director of global energy and natural resources for the Eurasia Group consulting firm.

“I know it’s painful but, trust me, no one is listening to those people, they really aren’t,” he said, citing his experience working with some 400 international investment entities.

“It’s just not relevant. What political leaders say and our CEOs say, (that) matters everything. What a lot of those groups say, matters not at all.”

Follow ↕HealingSlowly on Twitter.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ECA)

Just Posted

Drug busts lead to four arrests, $130,000 of drugs and cash seized

Community is safer without drugs and guns on the street: Police inspector

$604,000 worth of contraband goods seized at Bowden Institution

Drugs and other contraband items valued at $604,000 have been seized at… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake man charged with first-degree murder of his dad

A 28-year-old Sylvan Lake man has been charged with the first-degree murder… Continue reading

Red Deer man going to trial on manslaughter

Gabriel Agotic accused of involvement in May 2017 death of Mathiang Chol

Maskwacis youth found dead on reserve

The remains of 16 year old Houston Omeasoo found

Duncan announces $30 million to promote safety and inclusiveness in sport

TORONTO — The federal government is investing $30 million over five years… Continue reading

Raptors president Ujiri addresses rare off-court issues during NBA title run

TORONTO — Even a championship can come with hiccups. Toronto Raptors president… Continue reading

Mouse that roared: Disney characters win local union shakeup

ORLANDO, Fla. — The mouse that roared was heard. Months after workers… Continue reading

Soulpepper’s original musical ‘Rose’ among big winners at Dora theatre awards

TORONTO — Soulpepper’s first original musical “Rose” was among the big winners… Continue reading

‘Must work together:’ Alberta legislature boss chides both sides in earplug spat

Legislature boss chides both sides in earplug spat EDMONTON — Alberta’s legislature… Continue reading

‘He’s my son: Accused mother cries at trial over boy who died of meningitis

LETHBRIDGE — The mother of a toddler who died of bacterial meningitis… Continue reading

Licence revoked for doc who used own sperm to artificially inseminate patients

TORONTO — An Ottawa fertility doctor who used his own sperm as… Continue reading

Most Read