The company credited with being the first to successfully drill for natural gas in Arkansas is expanding and creating more jobs. Southwestern Energy announced it will open a regional headquarters in Conway.
"Giddy," says Tab Townsell, Mayor of Conway. That sums up how Conway and state leaders feel about Southwestern Energy, a natural gas exploration company, making Conway home for its regional headquarters. Company CEO Harold Korell made the announcement before a packed house at Hendrix College.
Korell says business is booming on the Fayetteville Shale and while his company already has offices in Conway they need more of a presence. "I can remember back in 2002 we were in a small room in an office in Fayetteville discussing what could be if everything worked and you know what everything did," says Korell.
The land next to the Village at Hendrix is where Southwestern Energy makes its home now. Korell and Hendrix President Tim Cloyd say it’s in keeping with the vision for this area. "This is a vision of new urbanism mixed commercial and residential property and retail property."
The new $25 million facility will house 170 current Southwestern employees and eventually 250 new employees will join them.
Most of the jobs are knowledge-based like geologists, construction engineers, petroleum engineers, environmental engineers and accountants. The average salary will be $60,000 with some making well into six figures. "A whole lot of why we've been able to withstand the national economy has to do with economic activity of the Fayetteville Shale," says Governor Beebe.
And the numbers agree with general sales and restaurant taxes showing growth in the last four years. "This will be visual evidence that the Fayetteville Shale play is here. It's gonna be a positive impact on the economy for years to come," says Townsell.
Southwestern led the discovery and development of the Fayetteville Shale. It has invested more than $2.5 billion into its Fayetteville Shale operations and employs 800 workers in Arkansas. The company hopes to start construction on the new headquarters next year. For job listings visit www.swn.com