EnCana Expands Natural Gas Storage Capacity in Alberta

EnCana plans to develop a new natural gas storage facility in southeastern Alberta that will store up to 40 billion cubic feet of gas. On completion of the development, the Countess gas storage facility is expected to increase EnCana's Western Canada gas storage by approximately 40 percent to more than 135 billion cubic feet.

"As natural gas markets continue to grow, so does the industry's anticipated demand for storage. The addition of this facility should help strengthen EnCana's position as the largest independent gas storage owner and operator in North America. With daily production of approximately 2.8 billion cubic feet of gas, EnCana is also North America's largest independent gas producer. The new Countess facility will not only be used to help manage sales and optimize the value of the company's produced gas, but will also expand the Canadian capacity available to other producers and marketers for managing gas supplies and sales," said Bill Oliver, President of EnCana's Midstream & Marketing division.

The Countess storage facility, designed for peak injections of 950 million cubic feet per day and peak withdrawals of 1,250 million cubic feet per day, will use two depleted underground natural gas reservoirs located about 85 kilometers east of Calgary. The first 10 billion cubic feet of new storage capacity is scheduled to be available in the second quarter of 2003.

The full 40 billion cubic feet of space is expected to be available in April 2005. The facility will be operated commercially as part of the AECO Hub, which is comprised of 85 billion cubic feet of gas storage capacity at Suffield, in southeast Alberta, and 10 billion cubic feet of gas storage at Hythe, in northwest Alberta. Once Countess is complete, EnCana will own and operate about 180 billion cubic feet of gas storage capacity across North America, with facilities in Alberta, California and Oklahoma. Construction is currently underway to double the capacity of EnCana's Wild Goose storage facility in northern California to 29 billion cubic feet of storage. With the two expansion projects complete by 2005, total peak withdrawal capacity of EnCana's North American storage network is expected to grow to approximately 4 billion cubic feet per day.

"The development of this facility exemplifies an ideal business opportunity resulting from the merger of EnCana's predecessor companies. The Countess reservoir first produced gas for PanCanadian Energy Corporation in 1984. Now depleted, it has a second life as a new and vital part of the AECO Hub, the leading Canadian gas market center first established by Alberta Energy Company Ltd. in 1988," Oliver said.