by John Thaeler
Posted 8/27/2007 12:00 am
Updated 11 months ago
Natural gas from a safe domestic supply such as the Fayetteville Shale is helping to meet those needs while also benefiting many Arkansans. Southwestern Energy remains committed to doing both: exploring for and producing energy while working to benefit all stakeholders.
This balanced, collaborative approach to our business is based on our company formula for success: "The Right People doing the Right Things wisely investing the cash flow from the underlying Assets will create Value +."
Southwestern Energy employees will tell you our formula positively influences our actions on a daily basis and helps us balance the many different needs of a project like the Fayetteville Shale.
Growing Energy Demands
One of our country's greatest needs is to produce oil and gas at home. As we all know, fossil fuels still make up our primary energy sources today. Demand for these fuel sources continues to skyrocket as our residential, industrial, commercial and transportation needs grow.
All strong, sustainable economies in the world need ready access to fuel to run factories and office buildings, drive vehicles, turn on the lights and keep homes heated and cooled. As expanding global economies like India and China put added pressure on existing fuel sources worldwide, the demand for energy is getting even stronger.
On the supply side, it's becoming more difficult and expensive to find natural gas. The easy-to-produce locations are scarcer. Political uncertainty in the Middle East, coupled with the high cost of overseas transportation of liquefied natural gas, makes importing fuel both expensive and volatile. The cost equation and business environment must be attractive enough to justify an investment.
Increasing economic development is usually accompanied by a need for expanded infrastructure, a skilled work force and access to a variety of resources. We are committed to working with a variety of stakeholders to tackle the challenges our industry faces and benefit as many groups as possible.
Working with local officials: We work closely with local officials to address any concerns or needs. We meet monthly with county officials to discuss ongoing operations and identify new ways to minimize our impact.
Working with regulatory agencies: We have long had a commitment to environmental stewardship with a track record of living up to not just the letter of the law but also the spirit. We maintain open, two-way dialogue with regulatory agencies, and in many cases we have established new "best practices" for getting things done.
Working with owners: We have a proactive approach to working with our owners through a dedicated landowner relations group, toll-free hotline, Web site, fax, e-mail and newsletter. We work closely with owners to minimize impact on their property and in many cases enhance their land by putting in access roads and ponds.
Creating a Brighter Future
In spite of these challenges, Southwestern Energy is optimistic about the natural gas industry, its future in Arkansas and specifically the Fayetteville Shale. Southwestern Energy is an exploration company that not only produces natural gas but also helps fuel our state's economy.
By the end of 2007, we will have made a $1.5 billion capital investment in the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas.
We've hired more than 500 employees for good-paying jobs in our Conway and Damascus operations.
In addition to our growth, Arkansas' thriving natural gas industry has helped many small businesses, from machine shops to restaurants, from excavators to Realtors. As entrepreneurs, we're excited to see this spirit in others.
We've donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve the quality of life, including such major gifts as $250,000 to Junior Achievement, $250,000 to help establish the Damascus Bobwhite Quail Habitat and $200,000 to the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton to help establish the state's only petroleum technology program.
As with any new economic development, there are challenges to growing the natural gas industry. At Southwestern Energy, we believe solutions can be found to enable the exploration for and production of energy to help meet our country's needs while also working to benefit a variety of stakeholders here in Arkansas.
(John Thaeler is senior vice president of SEECO Inc./Southwestern Energy Co.)