Encana founder blames Trudeau for Newfield deal, U.S. focus

By Kevin Orland on 11/5/2018

CALGARY (Bloomberg) -- Encana Corp.’s founder and former CEO Gwyn Morgan said he’s disappointed by the driller’s $5.5 billion purchase of Newfield Exploration, which moves focus to the U.S. and dashes his hopes that the company would represent Canada on the world stage.

Morgan, who named the oil and gas producer Encana to evoke “Energy Canada,” blames the move on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s environmental policies, which he has said are making the country irrelevant in the global energy industry. The Newfield deal extends Encana’s reach into the shale fields of Oklahoma. It also moves the company toward what current CEO Doug Suttles called a “headquarter-less model,” with operations controlled from offices near Houston, Suttles’ home city of Denver and in the company’s official base of Calgary.

“I’m deeply saddened that, as a result of the disastrous policies of the Trudeau government, what was once the largest Canadian-headquartered energy producer now sees both its CEO and the core of its asset base located in the U.S.,” Morgan, who served as Encana’s CEO from 2002 to 2005, said in an emailed statement Friday to BNN Bloomberg television.

Morgan said he had envisioned that “Canada should have an energy company that stood among the world’s biggest and best.” Encana declined to respond to Morgan’s comments.

Trudeau’s office responded that his administration has done more to support the energy industry and get its resources to market in his three years in power than the rival Conservatives did in a decade. Spokeswoman Vanessa Adams said in an emailed statement that Canada is “one of the world’s most attractive destinations for investment in sustainable natural resources development” and pointed to LNG Canada’s decision to proceed with a $31 billion facility last month as evidence.

Encana’s Newfield deal “does not change the fact that Canada is a great place to do business,” Adams said.

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