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Encana to Spend $600 Million More to Increase Liquids Production

Encana Corp., Canada’s biggest natural-gas producer by volume, plans to invest an additional $600 million this year as it boosts production of higher-priced petroleum liquids.

Liquids output this year will increase 7 percent more than forecast to 30,000 barrels a day and will range between 60,000 barrels and 70,000 barrels a day in 2013, Calgary-based Encana said today in a statement. Encana said in February it planned to invest $2.9 billion in 2012, 37 percent lower than in 2011.

Natural gas prices in North America, where production soared amid a boom in hydraulic fracturing, fell to their lowest quarterly average in 10 years in the first quarter. Gas output is forecast to remain near current levels of about 3 billion cubic feet per day in 2012 and 2013, Encana said.

“Encana continues to be cautiously optimistic about a recovery in natural gas prices towards the end of 2012 and 2013,” the company said today. “The company will continue to minimize natural gas investments, in an effort to preserve the value of its vast resource base until stronger more sustainable natural gas prices prevail.”

The company said it plans to drill between 115 and 120 wells in 2012 in 10 areas mainly focused on oil, compared with an initial target of 40 to 45 wells. Encana expects to drill about 350 oil and liquids wells in 2013, the company said.

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