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EnCana Corp. says it has completed the acquisition of 500,000 acres of prospective natural gas lands in the Rocky Mountain foothills.

The Calgary-based company said that the Cutbank Ridge development, which spans the British Columbia and Alberta border, will provide it with more than 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas

"We have successfully demonstrated that our application of technology and large repeatable drilling programs can drive down development costs in these resource plays to achieve attractive financial returns," Randy Eresman, EnCana's chief operating officer, said.

"Typical of EnCana's other large resource plays, Cutbank Ridge has potential of several hundred million cubic feet per day of long-life gas production."

EnCana says it has been gathering the land over the past year and a half, with its last investment a $369-million purchase of 39 parcels of land for 350,000 acres. The other land was acquired though land swaps and Crown land sales. The play is centered 50 kilometres southwest of Dawson Creek. The company is expecting to drill between 100 and 200 wells a year.

The Calgary company also said it expects to meet its target of 10-per-cent sales growth from 2002. Oil, natural gas and natural gas liquid sales are expected to average between 740,000 and 797,000 barrels of oil a day.

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