Texas Oil Company Tempts Staff With One-Year Mortgage Payoff Incentive

A Texas oil and gas company is awarding employees who help increase production and cut debt by paying their mortgages for one year.

The incentive plan is part of a program aimed to spur ATP Oil Gas' 66 employees to meet the company's annual goals. Last year's bonuses included a trip to Sweden and keys to a new Volvo.

"I think it's very important for each of us to have a goal in front of us," T. Paul Bulmahn, chairman and CEO of ATP Oil Gas, told Houston's FOX 26. "I'm happy to really look at the very best employees, and try to reel them in if we can."

The incentives to ATP's workforce have apparently paid off. According to MarketWatch.com, the company's value on the NASDAQ jumped from around $5 to $50 per share over the last four years. Still, while profits from 2004 to 2007 grew, the firm has seen a slowdown so far this year.

The company describes itself as engaged in the development and production of oil and natural gas. The company acquires previously undeveloped properties and has successfully located probable reserves.

Bulmahn told FOX 26 that this year's objectives include getting a new rig up and running in the Gulf of Mexico, reducing the company's debt in half and meeting deadlines on another project in the North Sea.

Bulmahn said the bonus program has yielded the best resumes. Second-year accounting clerk Chamiera Barksdale said she was stunned by the mortgage payment incentive.

"With the Volvos, I was like, what could get any better that? And I'm like wow. When he presented that, I was just in shock," she said of the new bonus offer.

Click here to watch a video on ATP at MyFOXHouston.