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Former EnCana staff opts to stay in Butte

December 4, 2002View for printing

Energy company attracts 10 employees to Denver, remainder decline relocation

EnCana, which once had about 50 people working in Butte, has vacated its build ing and has taken only a few local employees to Denver.

By Leslie McCartney of The Montana Standard

Last April, EnCana -- which formed after the merg er of PanCanadian Energy Corp. and Alberta Energy Co. in February -- announced that it would close its oil and gas office located at 600 S. Excelsior. At that time, the company also announced that it would extend job offers in Denver to most of its work force in Butte.

However, only 10 employ ees took EnCana's offer of a job.

`` The majority were offered relocation,'' said Florence Murphy, a spokes woman for EnCana.

In fact, former employees say, the company seemed surprised that so few opted to relocate with the promise of more money and a guaran teed job.

The lack of takers seems to reinforce the notion that Butte people will stay in Butte, even though the local economy continues to strug gle and job growth is skimpy.

`` The biggest reason is my family ties back to Butte, and we want to live in a smaller community,'' said Lynn Lloyd, who worked for PanCanadian as the manager of accounting.

Lloyd and his family thor oughly explored Denver, prowling for homes and checking the schools and other factors of relocation.

`` We wanted to make sure we had all the facts,'' Lloyd said.

After careful considera tion, the family has decided to stay.

`` I love Butte and I love western Montana,'' said Lloyd, who has lived in Butte since 1980. While Lloyd took a temporary position with EnCana in Denver for four months, he is back home and actively pursuing other work in Butte.

`` There may be less oppor tunity and certainly the salaries are less than Denver, but money isn't everything,'' he added.

EnCana retains the build ing lease, and is talking with interested parties in sublet ting the 26,215-square-foot structure, formerly Smith's grocery store. EnCana vacat ed the premises in October and those employees who accepted EnCana's offer moved to the company's U.S. headquarters in Denver.

The building is owned by Pat and Bob Sletten of Great Falls.

`` It's kind of in the hands of the PanCanadian people,'' Bob Sletten said Tuesday.

He said that about 31/sub 2 years remain on the lease, but that `` quite a bit'' of interest has been expressed in the use of that building.

Approximately 30 fieldbased employees remain employed with EnCana, near ly all of them associated with managing gas assets in north ern Montana.

The past couple years has been a bumpy ride for the former EnCana employees. Originally, the company belonged to Montana Power Co., but the oil and gas divi sion was sold with the sale of MPC assets. PanCanadian bought that company for $475 million.

After shedding a few workers after the sale, PanCanadian remodeled the building on Excelsior only to merge a few months later with the Alberta company.

-- Reporter Leslie McCartney may be reached via email at leslie.mccartney(at)(at)mtstandard.com.

http://www.mtstandard.com/newslocal/lnews1.html
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Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. Full copyright retained by the original publication. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


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