When Canadian energy player EnCana (NYSE:ECA) put its corporate breakup on the back burner last month, the prospect of a big ol' buyback appeared to loom large. Last week, the company teased us with the announcement of a renewed "normal course issuer bid." That's Canadian for "share repurchase program."

Why teased? Well, the program's paused as long as the spinoff of Cenovus Energy, EnCana's integrated oil arm, is still in the offing. Since the split is a non-starter in this market, the buyback can't resume anytime soon.

The sequence here defies logic. Once the markets are cheery enough to enable a split-up and recapitalization of EnCana's two businesses, the shares won't be on sale anymore. The break-up could be implemented at anytime in the future, while a repurchase program would be most effective in the near term.

As proposed, this is no tentative top-up. The repurchase authorization covers fully 10% of EnCana's public float. While that doesn't quite match Anadarko Petroleum's (NYSE:APC) own ambitious program, the latter company has several years to reel in shares. EnCana's authorization only extends one year. That's not to say the oil & gas giant would snag every last share authorized, but it could if it were committed.

My fellow Fool Rich Duprey has decided to presume buybacks guilty until proven innocent. This is understandable. When liquidity was sloshing around the world not so long ago, a huge amount of shares were repurchased with borrowed money, at any old price, all in the name of value enhancement.

That chapter is closed. If a company is buying back shares in this horrid market, where financing is next to impossible to secure, that speaks volumes about the firm's fortitude.

EnCana, with its enchanting financial position, would join my "innocent" list right alongside Anadarko and PotashCorp (NYSE:POT). About 60% of the firm's natural gas production from this month through October 2009 is hedged at more than $9 per thousand cubic feet. Natural gas, in turn, represents about 80% of production. The company's ratio of net debt to capitalization is 26%, compared to XTO Energy (NYSE:XTO) at more than 40%. That's about low enough to join the EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) breathe-easy club. There's also room for EnCana to divest assets, as it did with some Brazilian interests last year.

So, come on EnCana -- get with the (repurchase) program.

EnCana is rated a full five stars by Motley Fool CAPS players. That's a strong endorsement -- but we could use even more points of view. Weigh in with your own call right here.

Fool contributor Toby Shute is active in CAPS under the name TMFSmashy, but doesn't have a position in any company mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.