Stark County Oil & Gas Partnership Hosts Flagship Event
This week, Energy in Depth attended the Stark County Oil & Gas Partnership’s flagship event. “Choose Stark County” featured key industry leaders to update the community on the oil and gas industry’s presence and potential opportunities in Stark County. More than 250 attended the business to business networking opportunity and listened to speakers including Canton Mayor William J. Healy and Chesapeake Energy‘s Keith Fuller.
The Stark County Oil and Gas Partnership is a coalition made up of local governments, chambers of commerce, labor, education, development groups, and employment organizations. Each having a different role to play but each connected through shale development inside and outside of Stark County. This model should set an example to other counties in Ohio that when parties work together to achieve a common goal the entire area will benefit. The group works to promote a complete understanding of the oil and gas industry, safe and responsible production of resources, and encourages the use of Stark County residents and businesses.
Keith Fuller, Senior Director of Government Affairs for Chesapeake, provided an update on their development activities. He commented on the possible longevity of the Utica/Point Pleasant Shale play in Ohio by explaining that if they explore all of their leased acres in Ohio, Chesapeake will be looking at 20-30 years of development.
It took a while to convince people the Utica was real. But if you look around this room, you can see they believe it now. Companies are coming here and hiring people, so embrace it. It is early, but we are here to stay. We need to drill safely and responsibly and be a part of the community.-Keith Fuller, Senior Director of Government Affairs for Chesapeake (Stark County Looking to Lure More Oil and Gas Work, 1/31/13)
He also noted their connection to Stark County. Currently, Chesapeake and their subsidiaries are in six different locations, but soon will be under one roof in their official Ohio headquarters in Louisville. EID was able to catch Mr. Fuller’s update on their current operations and their future plans:
I think it shows we are committed to the area but as other operators come into the area, it shows that the Utica is for real. The beauty in this is we have a long way to go.—Keith Fuller (1:46)
Rebecca Heimlich, from American Petroleum Institute, also addressed the audience on several issues relating to Utica/Point Pleasant development.
To give perspective, Rebecca Burke, former commissioner from Williamsport, PA, explained how the oil and gas industry benefited her community and offered advice. Canton Mayor William Healy relayed the benefits Canton has already enjoyed. He said in 22 months, Canton’s unemployment rate has dropped 52%.
The Utica Shale is attracting international interest and businesses from all over the nation are making eastern Ohio – including Stark County – their home. Organizations like the Stark County Oil & Gas Partnership are setting a great example for other Ohio communities to follow. They are being proactive in the early stages of Ohio’s shale development and bringing business to their area instead of waiting and hoping. With more than 200,000 jobs expected to come to Ohio from shale development, it looks like Stark County is positioning itself to take full advantage.