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Encana sells big Moneta Divide natural gas project

May 8, 2015 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Two investment firms finalized the purchase of the Moneta Divide natural gas development from Encana Oil and Gas (USA) on April 30.

Encana's 42 Riverton-based employees are to stay on working for the buyers, Encana spokesman Doug Hock said. His company still plans to operate the Pavillion field located east of the town.

Encana is to keep a few employees on to work that development, Hock said.

Aethon Energy, of Dallas, and RedBird Capital Partners, of Dallas and New York City, purchased the Moneta Divide's 300 operating wells and 219,000 acres of mineral rights straddling the Fremont County and Natrona County line for an undisclosed amount.

Encana's plans for the Moneta Divide project called for drilling about 4,250 more wells in the field, and the company expected it to produce for about 40 years.

The purchasers believe the field has low risks and costs and will have a long life, a press release from the companies stated.

"Aethon has a legacy of operating in the Rockies. We are pleased to expand our holdings with these operated assets in the Wind River Basin and welcome 42 talented new employees to our team," Aethon Partner,Gordon Huddleston said in the release.

The Bureau of Land Management plans to finish an environmental impact statement for the Moneta Divide project, a step in permitting the development, in January 2016, according to bureau records.

Last year, Encana sold its biggest development in Wyoming to Jonah Energy for about $1.8 billion. The Jonah Field in Sublette County comprises about 24,000 acres and 1,500 operating wells.

Both sales were part of Encana's strategy to pivot toward more oil operations and away from natural gas. The company plans to spend 80 percent of the capital it is investing on two projects in Texas and two others in Canada.

"What we try to do is focus on the areas that have the best economics in terms of drilling right now," Hock said. "And those are the two in Canada and the two in Texas."

Encana's only Wyoming operation now is the Pavillion Field.

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