STEUBENVILLE — Local business leaders were briefed Monday on developments in the shale industry and how local manufacturers can benefit from growth.
The morning workshop held at the JeffCo Event Center was sponsored by the Jefferson County Port Authority and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, along with Encino Energy, Ohio Southeast Economic Development, Ohio Oil and Gas Association, Voto Sales, Tuscarawas Economic Development Corp. , WV Industrial Extension and Magnet (the manufacturing promotion and growth network.)
Port Authority executive director Robert Naylor said the workshop was aimed at “dispelling misconceptions that the oil and gas boom has only enriched landowners without translating into real economic growth” In the region.”
“The second big goal was to help local manufacturers and suppliers understand the energy supply chain and how to immerse themselves in it so they can create economic opportunities,” said Naylor. “In short, the (purpose) of the workshop was to highlight or demonstrate how the business community – sellers and manufacturers – could enter the energy supply chain to create jobs, develop the workforce- work and the overall economic game for our region.”
Shale POWER’s Katie Klaber said the goal was to show manufacturers “how the industry is very well established and embedded in the business community, where the opportunities are to grow with the industry.”
Shale POWER provides technical assistance and business support to small and medium manufacturers and companies looking to expand their business, production and jobs in the shale gas and downstream manufacturing sectors in the Appalachian region.
“The opportunities that existed before have passed, but there are current and future opportunities that we want to make sure local businesses are aware of,” she says. “It’s definitely evolving.”
Klaber said midstream opportunities have expanded with the opening of the Shell ethane cracker in nearby Monaca.
“Ethane now goes to the Shell plant, where before it had no local value, it just went into the natural gas stream or was sent north to Ontario or south to Ontario. Gulf”, she says. “Now we’re getting economic benefits from using that ethane instead of just getting rid of it.”
She said shale gas from Ohio was a game-changer from a local resource to “is part of something much bigger than the region.”
“When you consider our region here to be second only to Texas in terms of producing a resource that’s not just used here, but nationally and globally. Our molecules are finding their way to help our allies abroad,” she says.
Klaber said the industry still needs to overcome barriers to infrastructure development, “So right now we have more resources that people would like to bring to market than they can due to pipeline constraints, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of resources. under development at the moment — it’s going very well. It’s built into our electricity generation, it’s built into our winter heating costs — we get gas locally instead of importing it from other places or countries. We produce our own.
Matt Henderson, also at Shale POWER, said the industry is rising to the challenge, “help solve some of the challenges – solve some of these greenhouse gas emissions, reduce methane, provide more energy to export overseas.”
“I think from a global perspective the industry has stepped up, will continue to help provide and solve the energy need for the power transmission that everyone is talking about. Most oil and gas companies are energy companies – their footprint isn’t just oil or gas, they’re into renewables, and they’re looking at some of the new technologies that are coming.
Henderson said the presentation was intended to help manufacturers understand how to fix issues, “What new technology and innovation do they have to help meet industry needs.”
“It’s an evolving industry, shale is maybe 12, 15 years old, but there is still a lot to develop, to understand”, he said. “There are many opportunities for local companies – there is an established supplier base in traditional oil and gas in the Gulf, but companies want to work with local (companies). This is what Shell is working on, working with local manufacturers and helping them understand where the needs lie, then helping manufacturers develop their value proposition to enter the supply chain.
The Shale POWER initiative was launched three years ago to help manufacturers and local businesses make them marketable to the energy industry, he said.
This could be things like quality certifications, increasing production, helping with outreach to promote yourself to the industry. That’s what the Shale POWER program is for, we want local businesses to be competitive in these opportunities and ready to compete.