Appalachian Basin

Shale Opportunities Highlight Youngstown Energy Forum

On June 5th, EID-Ohio attended Youngstown State University’s 2012 Sustainable Energy Forum.  The event was held by the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and attracted industry representatives and students from around the country. On the first day were treated to addresses by Congressman Bill Johnson  and Jason Walsh, a Senior Adviser with the Department of Energy.  The second day was filled with parallel breakout sessions, including “Cleaner Applications of Fossil Fuels Technologies”, “Energy Management and Systems”, “Water Resources and Technology”, among several others.

During the first breakout session (Cleaner Applications of Fossil Fuels Technologies), the group heard from Chris Jaskiewicz of Valley Electrical Consolidated on the impacts and opportunities shale development is providing for the construction industry.  Much of his discussion revolved around the common misconceptions of Ohio’s oil and gas industry, it’s history and it’s practices.  He pointed out the fact that Ohio has had wells for 150 years  – something many Ohioans don’t realize – and that there are more than 273,000 wells that have been developed to date.  He said there are currently 64,400 active wells and 60,000 Utica Shale wells projected by 2030. Although wells have been around for very long time he said today’s well sites are 30% the size of a well site in 1970.  This, of course, means less surface impact, as we can see in the illustration below:


Jaskiewicz touched on the opportunities for Ohioans through jobs and benefits to landowners.  The industry is posed to bring thousands of jobs to Ohioans whether it be through working on actual sites, building the infrastructure, or indirect  jobs.  Ohio has already seen a revitalization in the steel industry that once thrived in the Buckeye State. While the demands of the growing oil and gas industry have brought about a resurgence in manufacturing, Ohio’s ability to continue to draw interest in investment from these companies will continue to grow with development driving down the cost of natural gas.

The biggest cost for manufacturers is utilities, if they can find wet gas for less, they’ll bring facilities to the area—Chris Jaskiewicz, Valley Electrical Consolidated

Last but certainly not least,  Mr. Jaskiewicz discussed the incredible benefits for Ohio landowners and their families – highlighted this week by the New York Times – in regions of our state that need it the most.  Between families leasing their land and new employment opportunities arriving in their communities thanks to Utica Shale development , eastern Ohio is poised to thrive for generations to come.

Next in the session was Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program Executive Director Rhonda Reda. Her presentation, Utica and Marcellus Gas production and outlooks for future drilling in Ohio, echoed many of the opportunities Jaskiewicz pointed out, but emphasized how both industry and education and training centers across the state are working together to ensure Ohioans are in the best position to gain from these employment opportunities.  OOGEEP has continued their stalwart effort to organize programs across the state in order to best position the Ohio workforce to take advantage of the opportunities now and in the years to come.

Since the release of  OOGEEP’s  2011 Economic Impact Study, Youngstown has already seen programs developed in their community and career opportunities highlighted, most recently highlighted at Mrs. Reda’s presentation to students at ITT-Youngstown.

With these efforts, and the fact we are still in the early stages of this play (the leasing and exploration phase), Ohio is in a position to best even the incredible statistics coming from Pennsylvania, where 70% of workers hired are from in-state.  Since OOGEEP released their 2011 Economic Impact Study, reported employment tied to shale development has surpassed initial projections, and students and workers are priming themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.

In the afternoon session of “Cleaner Applications”, Dr. Jerry Hutton of Clean Fuels Ohio presented on “Advanced Fuels for Transportation”.  To start, Dr. Hutton pointed out why transportation matters.  He showed that 28% of US greenhouse gas emissions were from transportation.  Because of this, their company works with fleets to develop projects aimed at switching to alternative fuels including natural gas. They work with fleets, including refuse (garbage/waste trucks) and public transit systems.  He pointed out that Canton, Ohio’s public transit has made the switch and others will soon follow suit. Hutton highlighted the fact that, thanks to shale development across the country driving down prices, natural gas is a very cheap alternative.  Because of this, we are seeing the growth of natural gas vehicles as more and more companies take advantage. We’re already seeing it here at home as EID-O’s Mike Chadsey reported in covering Ohio’s own Smith Dairy which converted its trucking line to natural gas earlier this year.

EID-O also had a chance to talk to a couple folks in attendance.  Tom Bowman of Zoresco Equipment Company displayed a truck that runs on natural gas.

We’re out promoting and trying to increase the market on the CNG side—Tom Bowman (:47)

Brian Alls, a Junior Mechanical Engineering student at YSU explained that the forum provides information and resources for people interested in the industry and how his major piqued his interest in the subject.

This is one of the reasons why I’m here, it’s very interesting to see all the advancements and the growth of the industry that is definitely occurring in this area—Brian Alls (:24)

All in all, the forum was an incredible resource for students and those in the industry interested in sustainable energy, especially those interested in learning about the opportunities shale development is bringing to the great state of Ohio.

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