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Last updateThu, 21 Sep 2023 8am

EnCana to proceed with planned split


    Last week EnCana announced at its Calgary headquarters that it is proceeding with its planned split more than a year after it was first announced.
    In May of 2008, EnCana, one of Canada’s leading North American unconventional natural gas and integrated oil companies, announced it would be splitting its operations, with one focusing on natural gas, while the other to pursue its oil interests. In October of last year, the company decided to revise its organization and "delayed seeking shareholder and court approval for the transaction until clear signs of stability returned to the financial markets.”
    On Thursday, September 10, it was announced it would proceed with the split. EnCana will now be the name of its gas enterprise.
    It is described as being “a pure-play natural gas company focused on the development of unconventional resources in North America” with a “diversified portfolio of prolific shale and other gas resource plays in key basins stretching from northeast British Columbia to Louisiana.”
    Cenovus will be its oil operations, described as “A premier integrated oil company focused on enhanced oil recovery supported by established oil and gas plays.”
    “We believe the conditions are now favourable to proceed with the split. Equity and debt markets have improved significantly with debt financing available at reasonable cost.  Global and national economic indicators suggest that the world’s economies are showing promising signs of recovery. As well, the strategic rationale for creating two leading energy companies remains as sound as ever – the conversion of one leading unconventional resource company into two independent, premium entities unlocks greater long-term shareholder value from industry-leading North American energy assets,” said Randy Eresman, EnCana’s President & Chief Executive Officer in a press release.
    According to Luigi Vescarelli, community relations advisor for EnCana in Drumheller, the split in the area will proceed as it was mapped previously.
    “With the Drumheller region it is unique in that it includes some EnCana land that will go to the gas company (EnCana), and some that will go to the integrated oil company Cenovus Energy Inc,” he said. “That means both of the new companies will be operating in the Drumheller area. The two new companies will be split along the same lines as EnCana’s current Canadian Foothills and Canadian Plains Divisions.”
    He says the operations in Drumheller will continue as they currently are, it will just be under two new companies.
“Staff currently working for EnCana are expected to continue in their positions,” he said.
    Another component of EnCana that will not change according to Vescarelli is its investment in the community. Recently EnCana jumped on board as a supporter of the Badlands Community Facility. It has also been a support of dozens of community organizations; from softball teams to Rosebud Theatre.
    “All commitments made by EnCana (i.e. community investment programs) will be honoured,” he said.
    The proposed closing date of the transaction is slated for November 30, 2009. This is dependent on two-thirds shareholder approval and regularity approvals.
    For each share of EnCana held by shareholders, they will receive one in EnCana (Gas Co.) and one in Cenovus.

False alarm calls out emergency services


Drumheller RCMP, Drumheller Fire Department and Badlands EMS were dispatched to the Gordon Taylor Bridge after a report of a person jumping into the Red Deer River. Shortly after noon on Tuesday, September 15, a witness reported a girl in her late teens jumping from the bridge fully clothed. The Drumheller Fire Department did a visual search of the area before launching its department’s water rescue boat from Newcastle Beach to continue its search. The boat searched the water and shoreline, but came up with no sign of a person in the water. It was later discovered it was a false alarm.

Local bylaw first call in case of rat sighting


    They’re creepy, crawly, dirty, and very resilient. So far, Alberta remains relatively free of the pests.
    Worries about rats in the province became known in the media following the discovery of two of the spiky-furred rodents in Calgary, and the reports of an infestation in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  This week rats were sighted in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, about 80 kilometres from Medicine Hat.
    While common ways for the animal to be transplanted is often through cargo, or in personal trailers such as RVs or boats, director of Community Services Paul Salvatore, head of the town department that oversees bylaw enforcement, says Drumheller is in no greater risk of seeing the spread of these rodents in the valley.
    Alberta has taken vigilant efforts to control rats in the province since the 1950’s, and it has remained a successful program. Before this latest flurry of reports over the last two weeks, Phil Merrill, an inspector for Alberta Agriculture, says there is usually only a handful of reports.
    He says the recent reports are not necessarily a sign there are more rats, but a heightened awareness of the threat on the part of Alberta residents who are reporting what appears to be either rats, or their nesting areas.
    “Since the media attention to it, we have found 10 other individual animals that have proven to be rats, which is a high number. We usually get about two reports a month,” said Merrill. “I don’t think it is any more than usual, it is just that people are really watching. Many times a rat will come in and jump off a truck and a dog will eat it, no one will see it, and that’s the end of it. There are a lot that no one sees.”
    “There might be a little bit to do with the influx of rats to Swift Current.”
He says for residents who think they have spotted a rat, their first action should be to call the local bylaw enforcement office.
    “You go directly to bylaw if you see something suspicious, or if you see something you are worried about,” said Merrill. “He, (Salvatore), will do an investigation to see if it is a rat or if there is rodent activity. If he has a carcass, he can identify it. If he only has tracks, diggings and dropping it is harder. If we identify it as a rat, I quickly call him back and tell him to check for signs of another rat.”
    Often, Merrill says, a report of a single rat or rat carcass is not reason to be concerned. If more than one rat or a family is discovered, the inspection service will typically be called in because of the animals ability to reproduce. According to the Alberta Agriculture website, a pair of breeding rats can lead to upwards of 15,000 rats in a single year, if left unchecked.
    Merrill said he was in Drumheller about three years ago for a report of rat that was deemed not a threat. Most calls they receive prove to not be a concern.
    “Usually we get two calls a week, and usually by talking to the person, we can tell if it is a rat or not,” said Merrill. “We get lots of reported sightings, and 95 per cent turn out not to be rats.”
    Part of the responsibility of the Alberta Agriculture rat program is education for frontline workers on how to detect and deal with rats. He said the department is implementing a new program.
    “We are starting a program where all towns and cities will be invited to a training session. We are starting with larger towns first, and we’ll do another round of training for pest control officers and animal damage control officers,” Merrill said.


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