This article has been condensed from the original version.

From The Am Law Daily

Two Canadian law firms have taken the lead roles on Mitsubishi Corp.‘s acquisition of a stake in a shale project in British Columbia.

Calgary-based Bennett Jones is advising Mitsubishi on the $2.9 billion deal, which will give it a 40-percent stake in the Cutbank Ridge shale gas development. The Japanese conglomerate will pay Calgary’s Encana Corp. $1.45 billion when the transaction closes, probably later this month, with the balance payable over the next five years.

Japanese energy companies have been increasingly looking to tap overseas energy sources following last year’s tsunami and nuclear meltdown in eastern Japan. The deal also reflects a boom in North America’s shale industry. Shale is a sedimentary rock that frequently contains trapped natural gas, which can be extracted by using drills to create fractures in the rock, a process known as fracking.

Bennett Jones Calgary partner Patrick Maguire is leading a team that includes fellow energy cohead Donald Greenfield, oil and gas partner Angus Mitchell, corporate partner Denise Bright, tax cochair Darcy Moch, and IP partner James Swanson. The firm previously advised Mitsubishi on its $850 million shale gas joint venture in British Colombia with Calgary-based Penn West Petroleum in 2010.

Alicia Quesnel, an energy and M&A partner at Calgary’s Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer, is advising Encana on the proposed transaction. Also working on the matter from the firm are energy partner Mark Houston, energy and antitrust partner Jody Wivcharuk, and energy regulatory partner Carolyn Wright. Terry Hopwood serves as general counsel for Encana. The firm has advised Encana before, as lead advisor on the company’s proposed $5.5 billion shale gas joint venture with Chinese state-owned PetroChina last year, although the deal was later abandoned.

Email: bbaxter@alm.com

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