Encana (ECA)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 20, 2011 1:00 pm ET

Executives

Michael G. McAllister - Executive Vice-President and Senior Vice-President of Canadian Division

Jeff E. Wojahn - Executive Vice President and President of USA Division

Eric D. Marsh - Executive Vice-President And Senior Vice-President Of Usa Division

Renee E. Zemljak - Executive Vice President of Midstream Marketing & Fundamentals

Randall K. Eresman - Chief Executive officer, President and Director

Sherri A. Brillon - Chief Financial officer and Executive Vice-President

Michael M. Graham - Executive Vice President and President of Canadian Division

Ryder McRitchie - Vice President of Investor Relations

Analysts

Dan Healing

Brian Singer - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

John P. Herrlin - Societe Generale Cross Asset Research

Mark Gilman - The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division

Greg M. Pardy - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Brian C. Dutton - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

George Toriola - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Unknown Analyst -

Robert Brackett

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to Encana Corporation's Third Quarter 2011 Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Please be advised that this conference call may not be recorded or rebroadcast without the express consent of Encana Corporation. I would now like to turn the conference call over to Mr. Ryder McRitchie, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Mr. McRitchie.

Ryder McRitchie

Thank you, operator, and welcome, everyone, to our discussion of Encana's 2011 third quarter results, which we are hosting from our Denver office.

Before we get started, I must refer you to the advisory on forward-looking statements contained in the news release, as well as the advisory on Page 36 of Encana's Annual Information Form dated February 17, 2011, the latter of which is available on SEDAR.

I'd like to draw your attention in particular to the material factors and assumptions in those advisories.

In addition, please note that as of January 1, 2011, Encana adopted International Financial Reporting Standards for financial reporting purposes, referred to as IFRS, throughout this call.

Prior to 2011, the company prepared its financial statements in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, referred to as previous GAAP.

The company reports its financial results in U.S. dollars. Accordingly, any reference to dollars, reserves, resources or production information in this call will be in U.S. dollars and U.S. protocols, unless otherwise noted.

The adoption of IFRS has not had an impact on the company's operations, strategic positions or cash flow. Reconciliations between the previous GAAP and IFRS financial information can be found in the consolidated financial statements available on the company's website at www.encana.com.

Randy Eresman will start off with some highlights from the quarter, then Mike Graham and Jeff Wojahn will provide an overview of the operating results from the Canadian and U.S. divisions and then we will turn the call over to Sherri Brillon, Encana's Chief Financial Officer, to discuss Encana's financial performance. Following some closing comments from Randy, our leadership team will then be available for questions.

I'll now turn the call over to Randy Eresman, Encana's President and CEO.

Randall K. Eresman

Well, thank you, Ryder, and thank you, all, for joining us today. During the third quarter, Encana continued to deliver solid operational performance and generated strong cash flow and operating earnings. In fact, throughout 2011, our company has performed at one of the highest operational levels in our history. The third quarter total production of approximately 3.5 billion cubic feet equivalent per day was up 6% per share from the same period in 2010, and we remain on track for the full year as well.

Cash flow for the quarter was approximately $1.2 billion, and operating earnings totaled $171 million. Within the first 9 months of the year, cash flow totaled $3.2 billion, and operating earnings totaled $352 million.

During the quarter, capital expenditures excluding acquisitions and divestitures totaled about $1.2 billion. Year-to-date, we've invested about $3.6 billion out of our planned $4.6 billion to $4.8 billion capital program, and we are on track for the full year as well. During the first 9 months of the year, we completed the divestiture of noncore assets for proceeds of about $500 million. We've also taken significant steps toward achieving our divestiture target for the year, driven largely through the sale of midstream assets.

In September, we announced the sale of a portion of our Piceance gas gatherings assets for about $590 million, and earlier this month, we announced the sale of our interest in the Cabin Gas Plant for proceeds of about $220 million. In both cases, we received very strong valuations for the assets. Further, these transactions, in effect, recapture some capital and reduce future midstream capital requirements. Both transactions are expected to close by year end.

We have a number of additional sales processes in various stages of negotiation, which include the Cutbank Ridge midstream assets in Alberta and British Columbia, our North Texas property in the Barnett shale and a portion of our Jean Marie assets in northeast British Columbia. So we're well positioned to achieve our stated $1 billion to $2 billion worth of net divestiture targets by around year end.

In addition, we continue to explore joint venture opportunities for the undeveloped British Columbia lands and the Cutbank Ridge area. Although I won't comment on the specific deals until definitive agreements have been signed, I can tell you that the interest level is very high, indicative of the high quality of these assets. These are all highly competitive processes. We expect to be in a position to provide more information by around year end.

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