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Encana Corporation (USA) (ECA), Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (SXL): Chasing Growth in the Up-and-Coming Eaglebine

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Production in the Eagle Ford Shale is soaring, and companies are clamoring to drive production in South Texas up even further with each passing day. The buzz is palpable. But up in the eastern corner of the Eagle Ford, there are only a few companies exploring the sandy, organic shale that has become known as the Eaglebine.

Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA)

Who’s in?
The Eaglebine has attracted oil and gas companies with vastly different profiles, and we’ll cover four of them today, beginning with Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA).

Investors know Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) as the Canadian natural gas giant that once played the liquids game, until it spun off its oil assets into Cenovus Energy. Natural gas prices collapsed shortly thereafter, and now Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) is desperately trying to get back in the game. It counts the Eaglebine as one of its emerging play opportunities.

Investors got some insight into the Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA)’s foray into the Eaglebine during last week’s earnings call. First, new CEO Doug Suttles lent legitimacy to the play when he acknowledged that the company is allocating hard-earned savings to the sandy portion of the Eaglebine. No struggling company is going to throw money at a dead-end play. Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA)’s first two wells in the Eaglebine employed a new frac design, and are coming on line right now. We should know more about their production results soon, but Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) spent about $7.5 million on each well, drilling 7,000-foot laterals on both.

Make room for the little guy
At the other end of the spectrum we have tiny exploration and production company ZaZa Energy. The company just announced that it was selling about 10,300 acres in the Eagle Ford, but that did not include any of its Eaglebine acreage. CEO Todd Brooks went as far as to say, “We remain focused on monetizing select Eagle Ford assets in order to improve our balance sheet and we are currently pursuing other joint ventures in the area. In the Eaglebine, our joint venture is progressing as planned and we anticipate timely drilling of the first three wells as part of the Agreement.”

ZaZa made headlines when it announced an Eaglebine development partnership with EOG Resources Inc (NYSE:EOG) earlier this spring. EOG will operate the play and take up to a 75% interest, while paying ZaZa $10 million, on top of drilling and completion costs for three wells. That’s not a bad deal for ZaZa, as EOG Resources Inc (NYSE:EOG) is the top producer in the Eagle Ford and management clearly knows what its doing.

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