Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company

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The Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company (Arkla) was a public utility headquartered in Shreveport, Louisiana. The company was known for natural gas exploration, production, and distribution. At one time time company owned 14,000 miles of pipeline and distributed gas to 2.6 million customers.

The company was incorporated as Southern Cities Distributing Company of Shreveport in 1928. In 1934 the Arkansas Louisiana Pipeline Company, the Arkansas Natural Gas Company, and the Public Utilities Company of Arkansas merged with Southern Cities to form the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company. The company purchased Little Rock Gas & Fuel in 1936.

The company became a public utility in 1952. Two years later control of the company was secured by Wilton R. Stephens. Stephens became director of the utility in 1956, chairman in 1957, and president in 1958. Stephens was also the owner of investment bank Stephens Inc. of Little rock. Subsidiaries of the company in the 1950s included Arkla Air Conditioning, the Arkansas Louisiana Finance Corporation, Arkla Chemical Corporation, Arkansas Cement Corporation, and Arkla Village.

In 1960-1961 the company purchased the Consolidated Gas Utilities Corporation of Kansas and Oklahoma, the Mid-South Gas Company in eastern Arkansas, and the Southwest Natural Gas Company of Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma.

In 1973 control of the company passed to Don W. Weir and Sheffield Nelson. Weir retired in 1979.

The company name was changed to Arkla, Inc. in 1981. In 1983 Thomas F. McLarty became president. He took over the chairman and CEO's positions from Nelson in 1985. That same year the company sold off the Arkansas Cement Corporation. In 1988 Arkla acquired Houston's Entex Inc. in a half-billion dollar stock swap. The next year the company purchased Louisiana Intrastate Gas.

In 1990 the company bought Diversified Energies of Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota, making it the sixth largest pipeline company in the nation. In 1994 the company name changed to NorAm Energy Corp. In 1999 the name changed again to Reliant Energy Inc. On October 10, 2001, the name changed again to CenterPoint Energy. Use of the Arkla name as a consumer brand ceased on December 15, 2004.


  • The History of Arkla, Inc.: 1905-Today (Shreveport, LA: Arkla, Inc., n.d.).
  • Peter Nulty, "Little Rock's Hot-Cookin' Gas Company," Fortune, October 5, 1981.

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