Beebe: Shale play contributed to national security | – Conway, Arkansas

Gov. Mike Beebe linked the Fayetteville Shale play to national security on Wednesday in Conway.

Southwestern Energy celebrated its 10-year anniversary in the Fayetteville Shale play with hundreds of employees of the company gathered for food and prize drawings at the Conway Expo Center. According to a press release, SWN is credited with discovering the economic viability of the play and producing its first natural gas.

Beebe said, “American ingenuity has always been better than anywhere else. Americans have always been able to figure things out faster than anyone else. That’s what happened with frac technology.”

He said before the technology that fractures shale, allowing the natural gas within it to be collected, the United States had a 20-year supply of natural gas.

“The only places that had a significant supply of natural gas were Iran and Russia. Imagine if we were held hostage in this country because the only place we could get natural gas was Iran or Russia. Imagine what it would do to our economy, our national security.”

Now, he said, the U.S. has a 100-year supply of natural gas.

He said in Arkansas, people understand that natural gas means cleaner energy, more jobs and a transformed economy, but no one ever discusses lives being saved or the contribution to America’s national interests.

He encouraged Southwest Energy employees, “You think of what you’ve done for America’s national security … and the free world.

Paul Geiger, senior vice president-Fayetteville Shale Division for SWN, said the company “almost single-handedly put Arkansas on the map” as the fourth-largest natural gas producer in the lower 48 states. He also noted the Fayetteville Shale has had a huge impact on the industry, making up 74 percent of SWN’s production in the past year.

According to information supplied by SWN, in 2013 the company produced 486 billion cubic feet (BCF) of natural gas in the Fayetteville Shale.

One BCF can power: 3,600 televisions running nonstop for a century; or 24,315 homes’ electricity for a year; or 85,000 journeys across the U.S.; or 559 trips to the moon and back.

Bill Way, executive vice president and chief operating officer of SWN, said the Fayetteville Shale play will continue producing for decades to come.

(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at

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