On Thursday September 27, 2018 the Ohio Section of AIPG held its fall meeting at the Boulder Creek Golf Club & Event Center in Streetsboro Ohio. The meeting was held in Northeast Ohio to provide an event to our members and student groups in the region. The event was well attended, with over 40 people in attendance, including members, students, and other professionals. Special thanks to our new Youngstown State University (YSU) student chapter for making the trip. Also, thanks to students from Kent State University and the University of Akron for coming as well! Prior to the feature presentation, AIPG Ohio Section President-Elect Tim Brown welcomed the attendees and gave an update on recent upcoming AIPG events for 2018. Tim provided a brief summary of his experience at the AIPG National Meeting in Colorado Springs in early September, and highlighted upcoming events including the 2018 AIPG Ohio Section Vapor Intrusion Short-Course scheduled for early October 2018, and the Ohio Section Annual Meeting scheduled for November 16.
The event began with a social/networking hour, and continued with a buffet style dinner before the guest speaker presented. Students were encouraged to network with professionals to gain insight into potential careers in the geosciences.
Our guest speaker for the evening was Dr. Jeffrey C. Dick, Chairman, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Youngstown State University. Dr. Dick presented on The State of the Oil and Gas Industry in Ohio and the Appalachian Basin. The presentation began with an overview of the natural resources currently being developed within the Marcellus and Point Pleasant (a.k.a. Utica) Shales of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and the overall hydraulic fracturing process. Dr. Dick then when on to present a detailed and concise analysis of data obtained from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and other sources showing how the overall production has increased dramatically since 2010, when large oil companies began resource development. He showed that over 17,000 wells have been drilled within both units since 2010, with almost 3,000 of those occurring in Ohio. Also, despite the OPEC-influenced crash of oil prices in 2015, natural gas and oil companies have become more innovative and efficient in their procedures.
In addition, Dr. Dick demonstrated how oil companies have become more selective about locations, with areas where the Utica cap rock at its thickest showing the least decline in production over time, thus being the most lucrative areas to drill. This is demonstrated by recent increases in drilling permits in Belmont County, Ohio, where the Utica is relatively thick. Efficiencies were further demonstrated through a spatial production analysis of yields relative to drilled lateral distances. This analysis reinforced that a significant increase in overall gas production has occurred since 2010, and resulted from streamlined well pad development logistics and better site selection.
Dr. Dick continued his presentation by shifting to an economic focus. Specifically, he discussed the benefit to land owners, the increase in jobs, and boost to local economies that have resulted from not only the resource development, but from related construction and support services. Construction of infrastructure, new pipelines, and natural gas plants has been an economic boost for many Ohio counties. Dr. Dick pointed out how these improvements are setting the United States up to be a major exporter of natural gas. In addition, construction of the Royal Dutch Shell ethane cracker facility near Monaca, PA and the planned PPT Global ethane cracker in Belmont County, Ohio will transform the Ohio River into petrochemical corridor.
Dr. Dick finished his presentation by speculating on what will come next with this natural resource boom. He elaborated on potential plans for an expansive, natural gas storage field in West Virginia, and potential development in other historical Ohio oil and gas producing units such as the Knox Group.