STEUBENVILLE - These are exciting times in the Tri-State Area.
Our region is home to the Utica and Marcellus shale formations, which means we are sitting in the center of the nation's - and the world's - next great energy finds.
All indications are that the Marcellus shale region will be the second largest natural gas field in the world, and that's not taking into account the much larger Utica formation. When you add up all the numbers, the region could yield 5.5 billion barrels of oil and 15.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The exploration for and removal of those natural resources will generate an economic boom in our area. Energy companies are buying land at a record pace. Workers are staying in area hotels and eating at area restaurants, and equipment is being purchased from area dealers. It presents the potential for thousands of local residents to find good-paying jobs.
It's a lot of activity to keep track of. That's why the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times are launching a new bi-weekly publication, Shale Play.
Shale Play, a free, stand-alone publication, will offer an in-depth look at the activities of the oil and gas industry in our area, and will allow readers to explore the opportunities that exist now, and more importantly, in the future.
"The oil and gas industry has the potential to bring about big changes in our economy very quickly, and we want to make sure our area's ready to take advantage of those opportunities. That's why the time is right for Shale Play," said Alex Marshall, publisher of the newspapers.
Shale Play will be distributed on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, with the inaugural edition to be published on Thursday. The publication will be mailed to area business owners. Copies also will be available at hotels, restaurants and other high-traffic locations throughout the Tri-State Area.
Linda Harris, business editor of the newspapers, will coordinate the publication.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to be able to do in-depth reporting on the local oil and gas industry," said Harris. "The industry is just in its infancy, but area businesses are already starting to see positive effects."
Oil and gas exploration covers all parts of the Tri-State Area, and Shale Play will be able to draw from reporting resouces from throughout the region to offer you the most in-depth package of stories and information in our region.
Shale Play will be targeted to those who work in the industry and the businesses which support it, which makes the publication a great avenue for advertisers.
"The oil and gas companies are looking to deal with local businesses. They are the people who know our area best," said Jason Mayberry, newspaper advertising director. "They are able to provide quality goods and services in a timely manner, which puts them in a great position to be a part of this explosive growth. Shale Play will offer an efficient way for those businesses to get their message to the people who make the decisions."
The oil and gas contained under our ground will help to make our country less dependent on foreign energy sources, and that's good for our nation, as well as our region.
"There's a real sense of optimism and excitement about what the oil and gas industry will do for our area," said Ross Gallabrese, executive editor. "Everyone is strapped for time, and that makes Shale Play a must-read for anyone involved in the industry."
Gallabrese noted that readers of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times will continue to receive the latest news about the oil and gas industry in their daily newspapers.
Among the locations where you will be able to find Shale Play will be: the Herald-Star offices; Fort Steuben Visitors Shop; Top of West Virginia, Weirton; Hampton Inn; Super 8 Motel; University Inn Best Western; Damon's Grill and Sports Bar; Fairfield Inn & Suites; Baymont Inn & Suites; Grande Hotel of Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort; offices of the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce; Fort Steuben Mall customer service center; Treasure Island Market Place; Franciscan University of Steubenville; Eastern Gateway Community College; Jefferson County Airport; Holiday Inn, Weirton; Holiday Inn Express, Newell; offices of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce; Naples; West Virginia Northern Community College; Zelinski's; Kwik King; Smith Oil in Wintersville and New Cumberland; Pytash Market; Reisbeck's in Wintersville and Toronto; King's Restaurant; Jefferson County Courthouse; Toronto Municipal Building; Weirton City Building; Hancock County Courthouse; Follansbee municipal building; Wellsburg municipal building; First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union; PNC Bank; Huntington Bank; Bob Evans; Eat 'n Park; Convenieint Markets; and Dee Jays.