Appalachian Basin

Shale Economic Opportunity Forum Showcases Youngstown’s Bright Future

Yesterday, Energy In Depth attended the Ohio Shale Development: Economic Impact & Opportunities Forum in Youngstown.  The event was co-sponsored by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Energy Resource Alliance, and the Ohio Shale Coalition.  The event presented a crowd of over 200 an update of what is going on in Ohio’s shale industry, what they can expect in the coming year, and how to benefit from the incredible economic opportunities afoot.

Numerous elected officials and local leaders came out to show their support for the region including State Senator Joe Schiavoni, State Senator Eric Kearney, State Representative Sean O’Brien.  Those in attendance also got to hear from U.S. Congressmen from both sides of the aisle.  First up, Congressman Bill Johnson spoke on Ohio’s role in creating American energy independence:

There’s a place on this playing field called energy independence and security. There’s room for everybody to get int he game; and you folks are in the game. We’re going to take this to unbelievable levels. Eastern and southeastern Ohio and right here in the Mahoning Valley–we’re sitting on the pointed end of the spear of what’s going to lead America back, I really believe–Congressman Bill Johnson (:02)

Echoing much of what Congressman Johnson said, Congressman Tim Ryan emphasized working together to provide a safe and successful business atmosphere in the region:

We have come such a long way in this community.  And I think that the natural gas and the Utica and everything that has happened here is God’s way of saying, ‘You weathered the storm, you did it, now take it to the next level’, and that’s what’s happening here.  We are going to work now from the Appropriations Committee, working with Congressman Johnson and the Defense Appropriations Committee, to try to build an ecosystem here of skilled workers, additive manufacturing, business software, clean energy – the next future–Congressman Tim Ryan (6:43)

Next up, the room heard from Linda Woggon with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.  Woggon heads the Ohio Shale Coalition, which was created in May of 2012 because they realized shale energy was going to have one of the most profound impacts on Ohio’s economy in recent history.  She also moderated one of the day’s three panels.  Her panel was titled “Supply Chain Opportunities” and featured Butch Taylor with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396, Chris Jaskiewicz with VEC Inc., and Eric Planey with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.  Planey stated that some 42 companies and projects have come to the Mahoning Valley because of shale and that the chamber is working to reach out to more companies, instead of waiting for opportunity.

Many in the crowd were representatives from companies looking to take advantage of the growing shale industry and Mr. Jaskiewicz used his time to give them advice.  In 11 years, his company saw their revenue go from virtually none to more than $50 million and they’ve hired more than 110 people.  Much of this is thanks to shale.  He explained their success is largely due to their flexibility. When clients would ask them if they did something and they didn’t, the company grew to fill more needs.  They also focus on safety, employing 5 safety directors.

EID’s own Shawn Bennett sat on the “Update on Utica Shale Development: Where Are We & What Can We Expect in 2013” panel.  Shawn, Rick Simmers, Chief of ODNR’s Oil & Gas Division, and Michael Grimland with Exterran Holdings explained what is happening in Ohio’s oil and gas industry including permits, regulation, employment, and investment.

EID’s Mike Chadsey also got a chance to participate by moderating a third panel, “Protecting Workers and the Community”.  Craig Kasper with Hull & Associates, Amy Rutledge with the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, and Rhonda Reda of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program all weighed in on the subject.  Rutledge gave Mahoning Valley residents a peek into what they can expect in the coming year and Reda explained to the crowd the firefighter and emergency responder training her group does to encourage a safe and prepared industry.

To finish out the day, Tim Gonzalez with American Petroleum Institute outline the process of getting API certified and answered questions from the crowd.  The Regional Chamber, the Ohio Shale Coalition, and the American Petroleum Institute are teaming up to provide API Spec Q1 training on April 9 & 10.

Overall, the chamber hosted an incredible event.  Local and state leaders showed the community they have their support and now local businesses have the information they need to take full advantage of the opportunities coming from Ohio’s oil and gas industry.

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