Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A Canadian Pacific Rail drill site near Medicine Hat, Alta., undated.

Canadian Pacific Railways Ltd.

February, 1881: The Conservative government, led by John A. Macdonald, creates the Canadian Pacific Railway Co., with a mandate to build a rail line across the country. As part of the deal, the new company received 25 million acres of land, some of which came with surface and mineral rights.

1883-1886: A CPR crew drilling for water near Medicine Hat hits natural gas. This is the first natural gas discovery in what would later become Alberta, marking the accidental launch of Canada’s multibillion-dollar energy industry and Encana’s lineage in the oil and gas business. CPR then drills Alberta’s first producing natural gas well, which had a lifespan of about 50 years. Encana and Canadian Pacific offer differing timelines on the discovery.

1958: CPR forms Canadian Pacific Oil and Gas Co. to hold the railway’s mineral rights. The energy outfit is part of CPR’s expanding conglomerate.

Story continues below advertisement

1971: Canadian Pacific Oil and Gas merges with Central-Del Rio Oils to form PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd. It is the country’s biggest independent energy outfit.

1973: Alberta forms the Alberta Energy Co., a Crown corporation, in response to the Arab oil embargo and subsequent price shocks.

1975: AEC employs four people. It first offers shares to Albertans, selling $75-million worth of stock at $10 a pop. Half of the company remains under the province’s control.

1977: AEC’s utilities plant nears completion, and comes in under budget at $270-million rather than $300-million. The plant was designed to supply steam, electricity and processed water to Syncrude, a pioneer in the oil sands and another government-supported energy company. AEC’s plant provides electricity to Syncrude by the end of the year. AEC also finishes building its oil sands pipeline, providing a conduit between Fort McMurray, Alta., and Edmonton for Syncrude’s synthetic oil.

1979: AEC buys a stake of Syncrude in a $205-million deal. This makes one of Encana’s predecessor companies a player in the oil sands.

1982: PanCanadian moves its headquarters to Calgary.

1988: AEC opens a natural gas storage facility, known as AECO C. This hub gives natural gas in Canada a benchmark price, and therefore shapes much of Encana’s future.

Story continues below advertisement

1994: Gwyn Morgan becomes AEC’s chief executive. Alberta no longer holds shares in the company.

1997: PanCanadian buys assets in the oil sands, and expands its holdings off Canada’s east coast.

PanCanadian Petroleum West Pekisko, Alta., drilling site, in April 1997.

CP Investments

1999: AEC starts to build a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) project in the oil sands. This effort, known as Foster Creek, would eventually be the first operation to extract bitumen using SAGD rather than mining. It requires two pipes: one funnelling steam down and the second ferrying bitumen to the surface. AEC also expands internationally.

2001: CPR breaks up its conglomerate, birthing five companies including PanCanadian Energy Corp. All of the new company’s shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. David O’Brien shifts from heading the conglomerate to the top boss at the new PanCanadian. The energy company continues to expand while AEC morphs into Canada’s biggest natural gas company.

2002: PanCanadian and Alberta Energy merge in a $23-billion deal to create EnCana Corp. The company later dropped the capital C in the middle of its name in favour of lower case. Mr. Morgan, who was previously AEC’s chief CEO, becomes Encana’s first CEO while Mr. O’Brien becomes the new outfit’s chairman. Encana has assets all over the world, although it is selling pipelines.

Gwyn Morgan, seen here, became Alberta Energy Company's chief executive in 1997.

Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press

2005: Randy Eresman takes over as CEO, which sets the stage for massive change. Brian Ferguson is appointed chief financial officer. The firm continues its international selling spree so it can focus on energy in North America.

2006: Encana makes about $6.4-billion, setting a new Canadian record for profit. The company secretly plans to transform into an income trust, a structure that allowed companies to bypass some taxes and pass more cash on to shareholders. Jim Flaherty, then the finance minister under prime minister Stephen Harper, learns about Encana’s intentions, he kiboshes income trust conversions and sets a deadline for existing trusts to ditch the structure. Encana also announces plans to build the tallest office tower west of Toronto, dubbed the Bow, to suit its expansion aspirations.

2008: Encana announces plans to split in two: One company would focus on natural gas, the second on oil. But when the global financial markets crater, the company shelves this plan.

2009: Encana revives its spin-off plan and creates Cenovus Energy Inc., the company that would hold most of the company’s oil assets. Mr. Eresman believed investors would prefer focused companies. He prefers natural gas and is adamant the natural gas prices would rise again. Mr. Eresman remains head of Encana; Mr. Ferguson becomes Cenovus’s first CEO.

2010: Mr. Eresman announces plans to double natural gas production in five years, but when natural gas prices continue to sag, the company turns its attention to natural gas liquids such as propane. Investors are losing confidence.

Randy Eresman, seen here in April, 2009, took over as Encana's chief executive in 2005.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

2012: Encana partners with a Chinese state-owned firm on one of its projects. A Japanese partner joins another. Encana was already working with a Korean firm.

2013: Mr. Eresman announces surprise plans to retire. His attempt to turn around Encana are failing. Doug Suttles replaces Encana’s interim CEO later in the year. Mr. Suttles would spend years reversing Mr. Eresman’s strategy. The new CEO continues to shed international assets, increases Encana’s activity in the United States and revives its interest in oil. The company continues to deploy its fracking expertise in shale plays.

Story continues below advertisement

2018: Mr. Suttles, who is from Texas, moves to Denver. Encana says it is for personal reasons and its headquarters would not be following him. “The answer to that is, absolutely not,” then-Encana spokesman Simon Scott says. “We’re a Canadian company, we’re headquartered in Calgary. This decision doesn’t change that in any way.”

Encana Corp., one of Canada's oldest and largest energy companies, is moving its corporate headquarters from Calgary to the United States to bolster its access to deep-pocketed investors. Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage blames federal energy policies for the move, while Alberta's opposition NDP says the province's plan to rescue the economy by slashing corporate income taxes has failed. The Canadian Press

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies