THE NWP ENERGY STORY
NWP Energy is a local petroleum and propane company owned by the Faulkner family and based in Kilmarnock. Although NWP has been servicing the region for more than 37 years, its origins may be traced to its predecessor, Humble Oil Company, founded over 75 years ago. In those days, fuel was delivered by barges to Humble Oil’s facility on what was then known as Wharf Road.
Humble Oil Company operated as a commissioned agent until 1962, when George Noblett purchased the company and became an Esso Distributor. He renamed the business George Noblett Oil Company and provided area customers with gasoline, diesel and heating fuels. Later, Noblett expanded his offerings to country stores and service stations by providing tires, batteries, motor oils, and lubes.
Norman L. Faulkner purchased George Noblett Oil Company in 1984. Faulkner transitioned his business from supplying automotive accessories to operating convenience stores with food service.
The NWP flagship store was located in White Stone and called the White Stone Buoy. Customers would often find Faulkner’s wife, Lois, behind the counter serving homemade chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, and extra-large chocolate chip cookies.
In 1986, Norman L. and Lois Faulkner were joined by their son, Norman (Norm) F. Faulkner, who took over NWP’s retail division management. They built their next store, Time Square Exxon in Warsaw, and were awarded the “most beautiful new facility” by the Richmond Exxon Territory Manager in 1991.
NWP experienced rapid growth over the next ten years. Norm’s older brother, Doug, joined the family business in 1992, overseeing fuel delivery. Doug integrated propane delivery into NWP’s business model.
After NWP acquired ten convenience stores, they began to replace the food service in some of their stores with Subway restaurants. They also acquired two oil companies, Ware Oil in Dunnsville and Peoples Oil in Warsaw. To simplify their name from Noblett, Ware, Peoples Oil and Propane, the Faulkners decided to use the NWP acronym to acknowledge the brand equity created from each of these entities serving their local communities.
After struggling with health issues in the late ’90s, Doug took a sabbatical from the day-to-day NWP operations. During that period, he developed an interest in biodiesel fuel. Doug was intrigued by the concept of making a premium diesel from soybeans. He believed the reciprocal benefits to farmers and distributors would be a boon to rural agricultural regions. Farmers grow beans, crush the plants extracting the oil from the beans, and sell that oil to a refinery. Then, when a local distributor sells that product back to area farmers, it creates a circular benefit that extends to all parties and their community. So, Doug founded Virginia Biodiesel Refinery, convinced that the non-toxic and biodegradable biodiesel was good for the region and would provide an excellent alternative to fossil fuels. He built the first biodiesel refinery east of the Mississippi in 2004. President George W. Bush visited the plant in 2005 to announce his Energy Bill, which would promote biofuels in the US. Sadly, Doug passed away in 2006 at the age of 51 and did not witness the full impact of his visionary initiative.
After Doug’s passing, NWP decided to sell the retail division of their company. They leased their stores and refocused on their core business, petroleum and propane distribution and service. Their operational headquarters on Waverly Avenue includes a showroom displaying the gas logs, fireplaces, propane heaters, and tankless water heaters available through, installed, and serviced by NWP.
According to Norm Faulkner, NWP’s success is attributable to his employees’ customer-centric approach. “Our team takes pride in serving our customers because they are not just customers … they are our neighbors,” says Faulkner.
The next generation of the Faulkner family is making its mark on the business. Norm’s oldest son, Ryan, joined NWP and Virginia Biodiesel in 2011 as a driver and service tech. Then, in 2014, Ryan began managing Virginia Biodiesel. Today, as Ryan assumes additional responsibilities at NWP, he is preparing to build on the company’s successes and expand for future excellence.
NWP is a leading locally owned and operated fuel supplier for homes and businesses throughout the Northern Neck, King George to Lancaster County. We also offer the full range of NWP services and products to the Middle Peninsula including King William, King & Queen, Caroline, Essex, Middlesex, Mathews counties, and limited service to Gloucester County.