Ewart: Encana remains quiet on Michigan allegations

Ewart: Encana remains quiet on Michigan allegations by Stephen Ewart, July 25, 2012, Calgary Herald
“We do not expect an update to the ongoing investigation and we won’t be able to provide any further information on the issue other than what has already been released,” company spokesman Jay Averill informed the media. Here is what’s already been released: “Encana is aware of the Reuters article regarding land leasing in Michigan in 2010. Encana takes compliance with all laws very seriously and is committed to ethical business conduct in all that we do. In accordance with Encana’s policies, an investigation of this matter was immediately initiated,” says David O’Brien, Chairman of Encana’s Board of Directors. “Encana therefore will not provide any further information at this time.” That’s a total of 67 words. In the world of corporate communications that’s known as “a holding statement.” It buys time until the company has something substantive to report about an issue or an emergency. We’ve been on hold for a month. Last December, Encana took four days to develop a 1,300-word account of how it “strongly” disagreed with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report that blamed its fracking practices for contaminating drinking water in a Wyoming village. Encana evidently opted for a less-is-more communications strategy this time. … Michigan’s Attorney General and Department of Natural Resources are investigating and Reuters has cited unnamed sources saying the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a probe. The stakes for Encana, CEO Randy Eresman, et al are immense. Few terms evoke the seamy history of the oil and gas industry as collusion; a word the Oxford Dictionary defines as “the secret understanding, esp. for a fraudulent propose.” … Companies can be fined up to $100 million for each offence under price-fixing, bid-rigging and market allocations in the U.S. … The company is a shadow of the global independent energy superpower created by former CEO Gwyn Morgan. It spun out its oilsands assets as Cenovus Energy…. [Emphasis added]

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