First Nation, Metis acquire Lakota Drilling rigs; Investment, training, ownership enhance group involvement in oilpatch economy

Calgary, June 18, 2002 - Alberta's First Nation and Metis populations today took yet another significant step in becoming more directly involved in exploration activities related to Alberta's oil and natural gas resources.

EnCana Corporation, the largest driller in Canada, today hosted and participated in a ceremony with representatives of the Dene Tha' First Nation, the Metis Nation of Alberta Association, and Lakota Drilling that signaled a transfer of ownership and eventual full operatorship of three heavy duty drilling rigs.

EnCana also announced a separate agreement with Saddle Lake First Nation to contract that group's Lakota drilling rig, also for work at EnCana sites in Alberta and northeast British Columbia.

The noontime ceremony took place during EnCana's corporate celebration and recognition of Aboriginal Awareness Week. The significance of this event is that it is the second such commitment with Aboriginal groups, and the first involving more than one rig . The precedent setting agreement one year ago was between Precision Drilling, four First Nations from northeast Alberta, and EnCana's predecessor, Alberta Energy Company Ltd. Another precedent this year is a similar relationship with the Metis Nation of Alberta . Also attending the ceremony were the Honourable Stephen Owens, Secretary of State (Western Economic Diversification and Indian Affairs and Northern Development), Government of Canada, and Alberta's Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Honourable Pearl Calahasen.

The Dene Tha' First Nation, part of Treaty 8 region in northwest Alberta and northeast BC, has acquired two 3000-meter TSM 7000 telescopic double rigs with 800-horsepower mud pumps. The Metis Nation of Alberta Association, which has representation throughout Alberta, is also working with another rig of the same model. Collectively, the Aboriginal groups will eventually invest a total of $13.5 million towards the overall purchase cost of the rigs. EnCana has made a minimum four-year drilling commitment at competitive rates to ensure that the rigs are fully engaged.

Ownership of all four rigs, currently held by Lakota Drilling, will transfer to First Nation and Metis groups under terms of the agreements, ranging from 50 to 100 percent ownership. They will be managed by Lakota Drilling. The commercial or work value of the transactions will total more than $30 million. The rig deals are designed to increase jobs, training and business expertise among groups of Aboriginal people. Each rig will provide employment for approximately 25 workers, complemented by additional spinoff business opportunities associated with serving the rig.

"EnCana fully recognizes the tremendous source of manpower potential that is available, to our Company and the industry generally, through First Nation and Metis communities. We were pleased to pioneer the concept in Alberta last year, and we are now very proud to be associated with the opportunities afforded to Dene Tha' and Saddle Lake First Nations and to the Metis Nation of Alberta. This is consistent with the principle of capacity building that serves as the foundation of our Community Investment programs and guidelines," said Randy Eresman, President of EnCana's Onshore North America Division.

Participating in the rig signing ceremony were Audrey Poitras President of the Metis Nation of Alberta Association; Chief Stephen Didzena of the Dene Tha' First Nation; Chief Eddy Makokis, of Saddle Lake First Nation; and Elson McDougald, president of Lakota Drilling Inc.

EnCana, with an enterprise value of approximately $30 billion, is the largest North American based independent oil and gas company, driven to be the industry's best-in-class benchmark in production cost, per-share growth and value creation. EnCana common shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol ECA.

For further information please contact EnCana Corporation:

Media Contact:
Dick Wilson
Vice-President, Public Affairs
Direct: (403) 294-4777
Cell: (403) 860-3850

ECA stock price

TSX $14.27 Can -0.540

NYSE $11.11 USD -0.510

As of 2017-12-15 16:03. Minimum 15 minute delay