Encana ‘Not for Sale’ as Interim CEO Focuses on Performance

Encana Corp. is “not for sale” as interim Chief Executive Officer Clayton Woitas focuses on developing assets already owned by Canada’s largest natural gas producer and improving production performance.

Former Chief Executive Officer Randall Eresman retired last week, prompting a search for a permanent replacement with Woitas taking an interim role and sparking speculation about the company’s strategy. The Calgary-based gas producer has posted losses in six of the past 10 quarters as natural gas prices declined to a low of less than $3 per million British thermal units last year.

“The right CEO would see through the maze and see what the world will look like in two to four years,” Woitas said in an interview from Calgary. “Encana offers world-class assets. Whether the gas price recovers in one year or four years, those world-class assets will capture that improved natural gas price.”

Encana will continue to look at joint ventures to help it develop its assets in places such as British Columbia and Alberta, Woitas said without providing details. There are no plans for acquisitions and the company is diversifying into producing more fossil fuel liquids, including oil, he said.

The company plans to look both internally and externally for a new chief executive, Woitas said.

“The search for the new CEO will take a time frame of three to six months and my role will be getting involved in the budgeting role and ensuring the operational momentum in Encana,” Woitas said. “I don’t want people to get distracted.”

Encana fell 2.3 percent in Toronto yesterday to C$19.05, valuing the company at C$14 billion ($14.2 billion). The stock rose 4.1 percent last year after sliding 35 percent in 2011.

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