Appalachian Basin

EnerVest CEO Touts Utica Shale Development at Chamber Day

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce held their Annual Chamber Day in Columbus this week bringing together members and supporters of the Chamber at the Southern Theater.  The attendees got a closer look at what natural gas development means to one of the largest leaseholders in the Utica Shale.

John Walker, President and CEO of EnerVest was the Keynote Speaker for the event and offered some insight on Utica Shale development.EnerVest began operations in 1992 in Houston Texas.  Since then the company has continued to grow and produce oil and natural gas through out the country.  EnerVest operates over 20,000 wells in 12 states with reserves of over 4 trillion cubic feet.  Now EnerVest has set its sights on Ohio and the development of the Utica Shale.

While some companies have recently entered  Ohio, EnerVest is currently the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the Buckeye State. In fact, the company accounts for nearly 25% of Ohio’s oil and natural gas production.  Of course Enervest also has its eyes on the future.  That is what led them into a joint venture with Chesapeake Energy which developed  the single largest producing well in Ohio, the Buell Well.  This development will continue and EnerVest’s presence, and importance, in Ohio will continue to grow.

In his remarks, Mr. Walker covered a wide variety of subjects from manufacturing to job creation.  In regards to manufacturing, Mr. Walker sees Utica Shale development as a catalyst in bringing companies back to Ohio.  He noted that Ohio, and the United States, had seen a continuing decline of natural gas since the 1970’s, a critical component of manufacturing.  With new shale development occurring across the United States, and the cost advantages and abundant feed stocks it brings, manufacturers are returning to Ohio and are bringing plenty of jobs and opportunities with them.

If we look at the 1970’s it is when oil came into peak production and gas came into peak production.  For the next 30 years oil and gas production declined and we imported much more expensive fuels in this country.  And I think that reason is why we lost our manufacturing base is that we went from being a low cost producer of fuels to having very high cost energy.  And I don’t think there is a state that its any more important to than Ohio, for not only has America lost its manufacturing base but Ohio has lost a lot of its manufacturing base.  And I do think that we are probably in what I would term the new industrial revolution with now having the lowest cost natural gas and the lowest cost natural gas liquids in every place in the world minus the Middle East. -John Walker

Although we are in the beginning of what Mr. Walker describes as a new industrial revolution, we have already seen investment and job creation that Ohio has not seen in years.  Mr. Walker touched on those investments that helped the crowd understand the gravity of this upcoming development.

During a recent drive near Canton, where EnerVest is headquartered, Mr. Walker remembered all of the tire plants that used to be  in the area.  Unfortunately, they are now all dormant.  His hopes are Utica Shale development can help fill that void that has plagued  Stark County and many other areas in Eastern Ohio.

Seeing those former tire factories with no smoke coming out of them is a real tragedy.  But the thought is that we can put a lot of those workers back to work. -John Walker

Mr. Walker ran through a few of the significant announcements that have been made in Ohio over the past year.  350 jobs at Halliburton, 300 jobs at Ariel Corporation, 350 jobs at V&M Star, 160 jobs at US Steel, 120 jobs at TMK IPSCO, 145 jobs at Tremcar, 250 at jobs Schlumberger, 200  jobs at MAC LTT and 700 with Baker Hughes.  The list goes on of course.

With thousands of jobs already created those in attendance could easily recognize the benefit Utica Shale development is bringing to Ohio.  Whether is is lower energy costs, increased sales from a better economy or possibly lower feedstock to manufacture their products, Utica Shale has a lot to offer Ohio businesses and its residents.

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