First Annual Oil and Gas Expo Offers Public a Chance to See for Themselves

by Nicole Good on October 6, 2011

If you missed the Oil and Natural Gas Expo in Morgantown yesterday and you want to imagine what it was like, combine a career fair, a PR campaign, a press conference, and a trade fair.  Throw in a little carnival food, some heavy industrial equipment, and the image in your mind should come close to the experience.

A map of booths both indoors and outdoors, including lists of participants, is available on the expo’s website.  The 200+ indoor displays included companies directly related to gas drilling and production operations, and a myriad of related services such as security companies, insurance companies, accounting firms, and companies that manufacture work uniforms.

A jar of waste water from a frack job. Please contact us if you find an oil and gas PR campaign displaying this kind of vivid honesty.

Outside booths featured ground moving equipment, cranes, a water storage container, a brine tanker truck, and most notably, a drill rig set up in the parking lot.  Visitors could get up close and personal with the equipment, generating a better sense of the huge scale of shale gas well pad operations, and even hold a jar of fracking waste water while asking questions of the company that cleans and recycles it.

Three forums were held throughout the day, and at least two of them “Expansion an Development in West Virginia,” and “Responding to Regulation,” resounded a theme that the gas industry has some catching up to do with damage it has caused both physically, and as a trustworthy participant in the community.  Speaking during “Expansion and Development in West Virginia,” Scott Rotruck, Chesapeake Energy’s vice president for corporate development admitted that the company tore roads to pieces in Wetzel County and is just now investing in improving and repaving them.  (Read more about the forum here…) At the “Responding to Regulation,” forum, James Walls of Spillman, Thomas, & Battle, PLLC, who represented Northeast Natural Energy (NNE) in the civil suit against the Morgantown city ordinance, spoke of the pressing need for increased transparency in the industry, and the consequences they are facing now from failing to have done a better job of it.  Nothing notable was actually expressed regarding industry stances on regulation; although, in responding to a question, Walls said confidently that there will be a public comment period included in the permitting process– the needed length of which, he said, was debatable.

Give the public more transparency, and fewer catchy phrases

Overall, what can a concerned citizen come away with from a visit to the expo? Industry should save their money wasted on insulting our intelligence through PR campaigns like “Just Beneath the Surface,” and instead provide more opportunities such as this one, where we can learn about the industry first-hand from the people on the ground and behind the scenes.  The expo was an excellent and rare opportunity to speak with equipment operators and industry professionals in person, ask questions, and get specific answers instead practiced televised responses.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Charlie October 7, 2011 at 11:54 am

I see the bumper stickers in the photo up above, “Friends of Marcellus” and I get all kinds of crazy ideas…like, “You can take the gas from my cold dead fingers”, or “Marcellus, makes us Cuss”, or maybe “Methane is your friend.” How about ” Frack away, drinking water is over-rated.” I’m on a roll now! “JUST BENEATH THE SURFACE is our drinking water.” How about this “If you can read this, your probably not drinking fracking chemicals”. And, “You can trust us, we are the oil and gas industry”. Or “Who needs clean water?” What is the fuss about fracking, Its NATURAL gas.” Please add your own ideas. Maybe we can start a bumper sticker campaign.


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