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From Small Utility to Exploration and Production Company
Our company was incorporated as Arkansas Western Gas Company (AWG) on July 2, 1929, to provide natural gas to northwest Arkansas. AWG drilled wells in White Oak Field, Franklin County, and by 1947, it owned and operated 10 wells that produced about 196 million cubic feet (MMcf) of natural gas a day.
In the 1950s, AWG formed an E&P subsidiary, Arkansas Western Production Company, which expanded into Oklahoma. On Oct. 1, 1979, the company reorganized as “Southwestern Energy Company” and still explored for natural gas in Arkansas.
Southwestern Energy Company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SWN” on Dec. 10, 1981.
Previously unknown discovery of Fayetteville Shale accelerated SWN’s growth
A SWN geologist observed more gas than what was expected from a well and didn’t understand why there was higher volumes. His curiosity led him to do more analysis. His conclusion was that the Fayetteville Shale was the source of the additional gas, thus discovering one of the largest natural gas basins in the USA, a previously unknown source of 17 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas.
That discovery prompted the company to lease a large acreage position thus accelerating SWN’s growing portfolio. As a result, SWN helped create the second largest natural gas basin at the time in the U.S..
From Leading Natural Gas Producer to Gas and Liquids Producer in Appalachia
Southwestern Energy expanded into the Appalachian Basin during the mid-2000s, acquiring nearly 115,000 net acres in northeast Pennsylvania by 2008, where it drilled in the Marcellus Shale. Spreading into southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia, SWN acquired 443,000 net acres targeting the Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian Shales, and began producing gas liquids in 2014.
Appalachia production far exceeded Fayetteville production by the end of 2015. In December 2018, SWN sold its exploration, production and midstream assets in the Fayetteville for $1.865 billion. The company now operates primarily in the Appalachian Basin.