Twelve local Southwestern Energy employees are the proud owners of new vehicles.
Winners of the company’s latest natural gas incentive were announced Wednesday in Conway. The employees joined hundreds of co-workers for the SWN Big Give program at the Agora Events Center.
Arkansas winners of compressed natural gas-powered vehicles are Preston Keller, Will Kaler, Ted Hunter, Eric Garrett, Eric Edwards, Sheila Barr, Jacob Ledbetter, Jennifer Perkins, Bradley Pope, John Quinalty, Mike Stinnett and Clay Umholtz.
The company announced 21 winners, 12 of them from Arkansas. Winners also were provided with home refueling appliances equipped for natural gas.
The incentive program was devised to increase mainstream awareness of compressed natural gas and "allow more consumers to experience its benefits," a company spokesman said.
Winners were announced by Steve Mueller, SWN chief executive officer and president, and Jenny McCauley, senior vice president of human resources.
Mueller also announced Phase 2 of the incentive program in which the company will pay some or all of the cost for select SWN employees to convert their personal vehicles to compressed natural gas. A hundred employees will be chosen to participate in Phase 2.
About 112 million people worldwide drive vehicles equipped with compressed natural gas, including 12,000 motorists in the U.S., Mueller said during Wednesday’s program. He said SWN’s goal is to have all 950 vehicles in the company’s fleet running on compressed natural gas.
"If we have just 10 percent who convert to a CNG engine, we’d have 9.5 percent less oil imported into the country," Mueller said.
SWN is the largest producer of natural gas in the Fayettevile Shale play, employing 1,150 people. The company’s first owned and operated fueling station is in Damascus.
Mueller said he recently learned that the general public accounted for 38 percent of fuel consumption at the station.