OU Shale Conference Focuses On Industry Positives

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The optimism about the effects on the economy from shale drilling is still there. And participants say they see more jobs slowly being added in Ohio. But while there have been signs of drilling spanning out beyond eastern Ohio, it's a slow process.

"We're in the process of figuring out in the state of Ohio where the oil is, where the natural gas is, where what they call the wet liquids, the petroleum disatillates are," says Scott Miller, Director, Ohio University Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environment:. "Those are the really valuable commodities, and that's where the industry is going to go, where those commodities are."

And the head of a major natural gas company says the benefits go far beyond the drilling.

"If we get a cracker anywhere in this region, it will be wonderful for this part of the U.S.," Scott Rotruck, Vice-President, Corporate Development, Chesapeake Energy Coroporation, told participants Tuesday.

This discussion is coming as the Ohio Legislature is having a discussion about regulating injection wells related to the drilling process.

The proposed legislation would ban injection wells critics say are used for waste from oil and gas development in other states, as well as from Ohio.

"It would take away the toilet that is now available to Pennsylvania and West Virginia," says Heather Cantino, of the Athens County Fracking Action Network, "and actually may be available to Louisiana and Texas if fracking can be barged on the Ohio River, which is under discussion now, and may, in fact, happen."

Experts at the conference said there are ways to keep that waste to a minimum.

"We would like to see if there are new techniques to recycle and minimize the potential negative impacts of oil and gas development," says Michael Finney, Associate Director, Ohio University Voinovich Center.

This was the second year a conference on shale drilling was held on the OU campus.