Encana's balance sheet is not in bad shape, but it is not pristine either, and the FirstEnergy Capital analyst said the some investors had been concerned about the company outspending its cash flow over the next few years, too. The deal with PetroChina should allow Encana to accelerate development more than it could alone, while spending half of the capital. Back of the envelope math suggests that PetroChina was paying roughly $8,000 per acre, FirstEnergy Capital's Dunn said. Chesapeake Energy ( CHK) was the most recent energy company to sign a shale deal with the Chinese, when it announced in January a joint venture with CNOOC ( CEO). CNOOC already had a joint venture with Chesapeake before the January announcement. The Encana assets are in what is referred to as the Montney Shale. Any deal in the North American shale plays will spark rumors of coming M&A action. The FirstEnergy Capital analyst said that among Canadian plays, names potentially to be linked to the Encana deal in speculative trading action would include Progress Energy Resources ( PRQ), Painted Pony, Daylight Energy ( DAY), Advantage Oil & Gas ( AAV), Birchcliff Energy ( BIR) and Celtic Exploration ( CLT). The Encana-PetroChina JV represents current daily production of about 255 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d), proved reserves of about 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent (Tcfe), as at the end of 2010, and about 635,000 net acres of land straddling the British Columbia and Alberta boundary, Encana said in a statement. The Encana assets also include about 700 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day of processing capacity, about 3,400 kilometres of pipelines and a natural gas storage facility. -- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Eric Rosenbaum. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Eric Rosenbaum. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.