Appalachian Basin

Crain’s Cleveland Shale Summit 2013

Yesterday in Mayfield, Cuyahoga County, over 600 attendees, speakers, and panelists attended the Crain’s Cleveland Shale Summit to learn about Ohio’s growing oil and gas industry. The summit was titled “Ohio & Shale: Getting it Right”.

Several speakers addressed how Ohio is getting it right when it comes to shale development. The day started with Mr. John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company and current CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy based in Washington, D.C., as the morning session speaker.  His main point was that good operators following the strong common sense laws on the books and being good corporate neighbors will not only benefit the company, but landowners and the entire state.

Following Mr. Hofmeister, there was a panel about community impacts with panelists Dorothy Skowrunski from the Coshocton Port Authority, Larry Kosiba who serves at the Executive Director of the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center, Dennis Saunier the President and CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, and lastly the President of the Portage Development Board Brad Ehrhart. Each member of the panel is from a different size community that are in various states of Utica development.

Mr. Saunier from Canton, known as the Utica Capital of Ohio, discussed how the city is benefiting even though there is no direct development thus far within city limits. Mr. Kosiba also talked about how the City of Salem, Columbiana County, has gone from zero to 5 hotels in a town of 12,000 people. Dorothy spoke about how the many roads in Coshocton are now being paved by the oil and natural gas industry which is saving the county significant funds – an important benefit for a small local government with limited funds.

After a brief business to business networking session, the afternoon session kicked off with a panel titled “Balancing Economic Gain & Environmental Safety”. The members of that panel included Mr. Jim Samue,l  principal at Capital Integrity Group, Dr. Jeff Dick from Youngstown State University, Mr. Jack Shaner, Vice President of the Ohio Environmental Council, and lastly Energy in Depth.

From left to right: Dave Kaminski, Canton Chamber, Jeff Dick, Youngstown State, Jack Shaner, Ohio Environmental Council, Mike Chadsey, Energy in Depth, Jim Samuel, CIG

Starting off the discussion was the question, “What are some of the most important issues that must be considered as the industry surrounding the Utica shale develops?” Each member of the panel provided some insights based on their background and perspective. Several key factors must be considered when looking ahead as development continues in Ohio.

First thing the panelists identified was that Ohio’s industry leading regulations, as embodied in Senate Bill 165 and Senate Bill 315, will provide sound regulation for development moving forward.

Second, all agreed with the notion that industry can balance economic gain with environmental safety and often times economic development can solve environmental problems. For example, increased natural gas utilization across the United States has allowed the U.S. to lead the world in carbon reductions.   Closer to home, a company called NatGasCar that has a product that converts a gasoline burning car to a natural gas burning car reducing a driver’s carbon footprint.

While Ohio only has seen 48 Utica wells come on-line thus far, there is more to come and events like this allow the public to hear from industry leaders and understand the issues surrounding development and are able to plan ahead. The Buckeye state has much to gain from continuing to balance economic gain with environmental safety.

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