Some Ponoka staff have recently been laid off after a recent Encana announcement stating the company is restructuring.
About 20 per cent of the company’s overall workforce is being cut and Ponoka is one of those communities affected by the decision. Although Encana’s presence is limited to a handful of employees in the area and little mining operations, Ponoka County CAO Charlie Cutforth worries how this will affect community groups. “The concern for us is we don’t want to lose the Encana presence in the community,” he said as he considered the company a strong corporate citizen that supports many local initiatives.
Also some county offices have been leased to Encana and Cutforth is working with company representatives over extending the lease, which expires March, 2014.
Encana spokesman Douglas McIntyre said in an email they are not providing specific details on how this decision will affect Ponoka as a base.
“This very difficult part of our transition has meant a reduction in the workforce across the company and in every part of our company…At this point, it is too early to speculate on our future plans in the Ponoka area.”
The goal of restructuring the company now is to become stronger in the future, he added. Investment is still being made to five areas around the world, one of those is the Duvernay area in west-central Alberta.
“The Duvernay and the other four plays we identified will receive about 75 per cent of our 2014 capital investment. We believe the Duvernay is truly a world-class emerging play and will be a big potential growth engine for Encana. Our plans for next year are to start pad drilling in the northern part of the Duvernay while continuing our appraisal of the southern part of the play in order to unlock its potential,” explained McIntyre.
Whether Encana decides to stay in Ponoka is another matter and he would not provide further details as he feels it is too early to speculate. Giving back to the community will not change as it is a core value for Encana, he added.
But, “we will work to ensure that it is aligned with our new strategy moving forward while continuing to make investments in initiatives that contribute to the strength and sustainability of the communities in which we operate.”