Future of gas and oil discussed

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Ohio Rep. Andy Thompson talked about the future of Eastern Ohio and the natural gas industry when he addressed the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association on Tuesday at Undo’s in St. Clairsville.

OMEGA also hosted several political candidates who are running for office this year, allowing them to speak for a few minutes apiece.

Thompson, R-Marietta, who is not running for re-election after four terms, talked mostly about the history of the Shale Crescent USA organization, and how the Marietta, Ohio-based group is trying to unite the region and market the entire Ohio Valley and its natural gas resources.

“We have to come together as a region,” Thompson said.

He noted that when the group first began trying to market the region as a place to do energy business during conferences, some people and companies did not take them seriously. However, after having a study conducted that showed how rich the area is in resources — natural and otherwise — those same companies, especially international ones, took notice.

“What the study revealed was the strategic financial advantage we have over building on the Gulf Coast. …It was a wake-up call for a lot of folks down there,” Thompson said, referring to a conference in Texas. “We had one meeting with Dow Chemical, and they were not exactly happy to hear about that study.”

Thompson said the Shale Crescent USA region is appealing to a lot of international companies.

“We think the (PTT Global) thing is going to be positive and hope to hear about that in a month or so,” Thompson said, referring to a potential ethane cracker plant proposed for Belmont County. “But there should be additional cracker plants that get built, because we have that much resource to make that happen.”

Meanwhile, politicians, or in some cases their representatives, who spoke during the meeting included: Ginny Favede on behalf of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Ashley Carlin on behalf of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta; Ohio House of Representatives District 6 candidate Shawna Roberts, a Democrat; James Carnes on behalf of Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine, a Republican who is running for governor; Lou Gentile on behalf of Richard Cordray, a Democrat who is running for governor; Monica Blasdel on behalf of Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is running for governor; Zack Space, Democrat candidate for Ohio auditor; Addison Miller on behalf of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican who is term limited; Ohio Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction; John Dyce, Ohio House District 5 candidate and a Democrat; Don Jones, Republican Ohio House 95 candidate; Dan Milleson, Democrat Ohio House 95 candidate; Ohio Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire; and Bob Mazeroski, Republican Ohio House 96 candidate.