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The Utica Hotspot: Broadcasting the 2015 Ohio Valley Regional Oil & Gas Expo

By On April 16, 2015 5:43 pm


By: Adam Larson, Staff Writer, Shale Media Group
Edited By: Mindy Gattner, Editor, Shale Media Group

Natural gas liquids – ethane, propane, and butane – are all being pulled out of the eastern Ohio ground and subsequently pushed through pipelines then processed. These wet gases are pooled in sweet spots across the Utica Shale, anchored at the Appalachian Basin. Despite the current downturn and volatility of the shale oil and gas market, the Utica upstream and midstream sectors aren’t drastically slowing down.

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While all of the North American shale plays’ upstream sectors are feeling pain, the midstream segment in Ohio still has momentum. Linked with midstream, while new rigs in the Utica aren’t rapidly going online, production is soaring. At an April Utica conference at Walsh University, hosted by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Shale Directories, Jeffrey Dick, Chairman of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Youngstown (Ohio) State University, and Director of the school’s Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute, said, “In 2011, the Utica produced 2.56 billion cubic feet of gas. In 2012, the Utica produced 12.83 Bcf, 2013, 100.12 Bcf, and last year, 452.14 billion cubic feet of gas.”

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Rick Frio, Executive Chairman, MPR Transloading and Energy Services, voiced a similar outlook. “The Utica Shale is still going strong. At the 2015 Ohio Valley Regional Oil & Gas Expo, this is evident through our event being sold out. We pulled in 60 new exhibitors and vendors. While the upstream is slowing down a little, the midstream continues to expand in the Ohio Valley.”

Embracing the Utica Shale and the companies and community members that surround the play, the fourth annual Ohio Valley Regional Oil & Gas Expo will be held on April 28-29 in St. Clairsville, Ohio at the James E. Carnes Center in Belmont County. The event will kick off on the 28th with a network reception at 6pm, while the 29th will focus on an all-day expo and conference. The event is being hosted by the Belmont County Commissioners and Belmont County Port Authority, while led and directed by Bellaire, Ohio’s MPR Transloading and Energy Services.

Speakers throughout the expo will include: a representative from Rice Energy; Rick Frio; Natalie Brown, President, MPR Transloading and Energy Services; Jimmy Stewart, President, Ohio Gas Association (OGA); George Harakal, President and CEO, TEK Construction Services; Shawn Bennett, Executive Vice President, Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA); Jackie Stewart, Director, FTI Consulting and Energy In Depth (EID) Ohio; and Tejas Gosai, CEO, Shale Media Group.

Building on Frio’s comment about the growing Ohio midstream sector, Harakal expressed, “To my knowledge, TEK is one of the few contractors in the midstream construction industry in our area that offers a complete line of midstream construction services from routing pipelines and ROW acquisition to gas processing and compression facilities to pipelines and MER stations along with the fabricated piping assemblies used throughout these midstream systems.” Over 80% of TEK’s work is concentrated in the midstream market.

Harakal continued, “One of our goals for the Ohio Valley Regional Oil & Gas Expo is to introduce our existing and new customers to our newly opened pipe fabrication shop in Cadiz, Ohio and to our line of helical pile foundation products. Of course, we also want to spread the word about our complete line of midstream construction services that we can provide to our clients.”

Keeping the conversation flowing, Jackie Stewart, a native to Ohio, knows the ins-and-outs of the shale oil and gas industry. “Born and raised in Columbiana County, Ohio, I have witnessed firsthand the growth and economic prosperity the oil and gas industry has brought to Eastern and Southeastern Ohio,” stated Stewart. “When leasing started about five or so years ago, I watched this region of Ohio transform and rise out of double digit unemployment. Counties impacted by shale have experienced an average decline in unemployment of 66 percent.”

The Utica Shale is a gamer-changer. Top playmakers in this game include Chesapeake Energy, Gulfport Energy, XTO Energy, Antero Resources, Eclipse Resources, and Rice Energy, all producing tremendous amounts of Utica oil and gas. Jackie Stewart knows this story precisely, relaying, “Prior to joining FTI, I logged in time working for a United States Senator on Capitol Hill and most recently served Congressman Bill Johnson, who represents the bulk of the Utica Shale development. I also briefly worked for the PGA Tour and our family’s small business, drilling water wells. Today, I provide strategic and crisis communication, research, messaging, public relations, and government affairs for the oil and gas industry.”

While Stewart leverages her class-leading expertise and board network of relationships at FTI Consulting, FTI also runs the Energy In Depth (EID) program nationwide, on behalf of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). “EID is a research, education and public outreach campaign focused on getting the facts out about the promise and potential of responsibly developing America’s onshore energy resource base,” said Stewart.

eidStewart runs the EID program in Ohio. In Ohio, EID is part of the Ohio Energy Resource Alliance, a partnership of OOGA, American Petroleum Institute (API), Southeastern Ohio Oil & Gas Association (SOOGA), Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP), America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), and OGA. Stewart noted, “Ohio is unique in that we have a true partnership with all of the energy advocacy groups, with a unified vision and charge to ensure that the Utica Shale development will continue for years to come.”

A solid dynamic has been formed between Ohio’s EID and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA). Similar to Stewart, a born and raised Ohio native is at the forefront of the brass tacks at OOGA. Brought up from Cambridge, Ohio, Shawn Bennett is the Executive Vice President of OOGA.

Bennett’s journey actually started with EID and then transposed from there. “Thankfully, I was lucky enough to get involved with Energy In Depth, a grassroots program sponsored by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, in 2011 where I really found my calling in the oil and gas space,” said Bennett. “Since then I have dedicated my life to advocating for the oil and gas industry, which led me to my position with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association in 2014.”

oogaBennett commented, “As the Executive Vice President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, I serve a broad range of entities involved in the Ohio oil and natural gas industry by being an effective voice in governmental affairs and the media as well as an informational resource to the membership.”

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association is a statewide trade association representing 3,100 members who explore for, develop, and produce Ohio’s crude oil and natural gas resources since 1947. OOGA’s membership consists of people who professionally represent all phases of the exploration and production (E&P) process and all sizes of producers, from small independents to major oil companies.

The fourth annual Ohio Valley Regional Oil & Gas Expo looks to offer another great turnout, while offering an educational, networking community outlet for participants, exhibitors, and speakers. The expo promises to zoom in on the Utica’s functional mechanics, as Bennett ended, commenting about the Ohio Valley, “It was very interesting to watch the Utica develop from this conceptual shale play to a real producing play over the past several years. In the beginning, many people thought the play was going to be focused further north in the state, but as we have seen it looks to be far more prolific in the Ohio Valley than originally anticipated.”

For more information about the Ohio Valley Regional Oil & Gas Expo, call 740-671-9822 or email expo@mprsupplychain.com.


Shale Media Group (SMG) is the news, information, and education resource dedicated to the shale oil and gas industries by messaging across video, Internet, publications, events, and radio. For more, check out ShaleMediaGroup.com to access all platforms, including SMG’s latest news delivery system—Shale Energy Business Briefing (SEBB), an ad-free subscription based service, where subscribers receive a real-time, daily email, featuring concise, hard hitting shale news 7 days/week, 365 days/year. To sign up, go to sebb.us. In addition, join us on March 19th for our next Elite Energy Event at the Holiday Inn Express in Bentleyville, PA from 5-8pm. Adam Larson is a Staff Writer with Shale Media Group. Contact him at ALarson@ShaleMediaGroup.com.