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EnCana Corp. says the Horn River shale gas play could be one of the most important gas finds in North America, and, the remote unconventional natural gas deposit, near Fort Nelson has the potential to dramatically alter the continental supply picture.

CEO Randy Eresman has told a news conference in Calgary, it is still too early to commit to full-scale commercial development,but, the Horn River Basin has enough gas to become “One of the most important plays in our company.”

Horn River resource estimates vary, ranging from 100 trillion to more than 600 trillion cubic feet.

Speaking yesterday with reporters in advance of EnCana’s annual general meeting in Calgary , Mr. Eresman said, “There’s an opportunity to expand the market for natural gas, to displace significant quantities of coal and crude oil.”

At the same time however, prolific unconventional discoveries are being blamed for creating a gas bubble, that has pushed prices to multi-year lows.

The lower prices have taken a huge bite out of the Calgary-based companies second-quarter profits as compared to last year. It still managed to make 239 million dollars, but, that was down from one point two billion in the same quarter in 2008.

Success in Northeast BC in the Horn River and Montney areas has prompted EnCana to begin selling off some of its more conventional gas assets in Alberta.

Last week it sold 700 million dollars worth of central Alberta production, and just yesterday, the company’s shares jumped nearly a dollar and half on the Toronto Stock Exchange, to close at 59 dollars and eight cents.

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