One gas company remains bullish on Fayetteville shale | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

One gas company remains bullish on Fayetteville shale

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 7:39 AM

click to enlarge SHALE, YES: Southwestern Energy keeps drilling in the Fayetteville shale.
  • SHALE, YES: Southwestern Energy keeps drilling in the Fayetteville shale.
The gas glut and dropping prices have brought a dramatic reduction in gas exploration activity in Arkansas's Fayetteville shale zone. But one company forges on and is featured prominently in today's New York Times. It's Steve Mueller, CEO of Southwestern Energy.

“I’d rather have the gas to myself with no one following,” Steven Mueller, Southwestern’s chief executive, said last month as he watched his rig hands pull pipe and mud from a new natural gas well here in northern Arkansas.

Mr. Mueller hardly needs to look back. With the price of natural gas plunging along with oil in recent weeks, virtually no one is following his lead outside of Southwestern. Twelve of the 13 rigs still drilling among the chicken farms and cattle ranches are Southwestern’s. The 45 other rigs — once operated by giants like Chesapeake Energy, BHP Billiton and Exxon Mobil’s XTO Energy a few years ago, when natural gas prices were more than twice as high — are gone.


The glut, insufficient gas pipeline capacity and a shift to oil have deterred others.

But not Southwestern Energy, a Houston-based company that has risen from being the nation’s 40th to become the fourth-largest producer of natural gas. Southwestern’s discovery of the Fayetteville shale field a decade ago, and its quiet leasing of the heart of the field at bargain prices, made the company a power. Since 2007, Southwestern’s Fayetteville production has risen 800 percent and its reserves are up 570 percent. It still drills more than 30 new wells every month here.

Time will tell about Mueller's contrarian bet on gas, which includes new acquisitions in other states. But credit him for this:

Mr. Mueller and Southwestern Energy also stand apart when it comes to the environment. In September, Southwestern was the only American firm to join five European, Asian and Latin American oil and gas companies that signed on to a voluntary United Nations-backed program to monitor and disclose methane emissions, as well as invest in technologies to control the greenhouse gas.

Working with the Environmental Defense Fund, Southwestern has offered data about emissions from its operations and has organized other domestic companies to commit to reduce methane emissions.

Political orthodoxy in Arkansas — from the chamber of commerce down through its hired hands in the legislature and state offices — is that regulation of pollutants is bad for business.

The article includes a video on Southwestern's work, and some favorable comments from an Arkansas environmentalist about Southwestern versus some other operators.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Mitch Landrieu on the removal of Confederate tributes in New Orleans

    You want to hear the words of a strong mayor? Read the speech delivered by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the removal of the last of four Lost Cause tributes in the city. THIS is a strong mayor. Brilliant.
    • May 22, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation