PITTSBURGH - T. Boone Pickens, BP Capital Management hedge fund chair and chief executive officer, said U.S. consumers have lost about $7 trillion since 1976 by continuing to import millions of barrels of oil each day during the two-day Developing Unconvential Gas Conference and Exhibition in November.
With the Marcellus and Utica shale formations likely containing billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet in natural gas, increased production from these shales may hold the key to reversing the trend of relying on foreign fuel sources.
"There is so much for us to work with in this country," Pickens. "Our energy picture is vastly different than it was five years ago."
Some believe Ohio's share of the Utica shale - including portions of the formation underlying Belmont, Jefferson, Monroe and Harrison counties - may contain as many as 5.6 billion barrels of oil. Pickens, a billionaire oil entrepreneur, said the U.S. must work toward energy independence, noting the Utica contains "a lot of oil."
Consol Energy President Nick DeIuliis spoke of the need to continue developing fossil fuels. Consol is the parent company of the Marshall County McElroy and Shoemaker coal mines, as well as CNX Gas Corp., which has active gas drilling operations throughout Marshall County and in eastern Wetzel County.
"The enemies of fossil fuels are good at dividing and conquering," he said. "Coal and natural gas are much better off together than they are separately. Pittsburgh, as well as the surrounding area, is the energy capital of the world."
Gary Evans is Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. chair and chief executive officer. The company holds leases and wells over 58,000 acres in Ohio and West Virginia, including Monroe, Wetzel and Tyler counties. Magnum is drilling the third of three pad wells in Tyler County.
"Our federal government ought to get its act together and realize that we are a job creator," he said.
Also during the conference, Caiman Energy Chief Executive Officer Jack Lafield said more gas processing plants will be built in the local area to handle the material coming out of the ground. Caiman runs the Fort Beeler processing plant near Cameron on U.S. Route 250.
MarkWest Liberty operates a processing facility in Majorsville, while Dominion Resources is building a plant along the Ohio River near PPG Industries.
Officials with Shell Chemicals plan to announce the location of the company's "multi-billion dollar" ethane cracker by January, according to Dan Carlson, general manager of new business development. The firm's parent company, Royal Dutch Shell, announced plans for the cracker earlier this year.
Leaders across West Virginia have been scrambling to attract the large petrochemical plant. In addition to the direct jobs at the cracker, an American Chemistry Council study showed that gaining a cracker would help West Virginia create about 12,000 new permanent jobs in related businesses. Ohio leaders also are pitching for a cracker, as the chemistry council believes the facility would generate 17,000 jobs across the Buckeye State.
Kurt Dettinger, general counsel for West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, recently said state officials anticipate generating 270,000 barrels of ethane daily at peak production. Even if Chesapeake Energy and Caiman Energy ship some ethane away from the state, Dettinger said this would leave at least 95,000 barrels of ethane per day to support a Mountain State cracker.
Carlson said Shell's facility would consume 60,000-80,000 barrels of ethane daily.