BUT, there were plenty of good qualified prospects there IF you were actively working your booth or attentively walking the show. Other than a Marcellus Shale Coalition meeting, I’ve never seen so many E&P and pipeline companies in attendance. And, those representatives were there seeking information on new and best practices, technology, efficiencies and who was still willing and able to work in the industry in the Appalachian Region.
New players?!! When entering DUG and taking a quick glance around at the vendors and exhibitors I thought, ‘wow, I don’t remember some of these names, are they new to the region or am I experiencing a senior moment.’ I was relieved when I sheepishly ask other well-known big players like Beaver Construction, TerraStar, NOVO, Bulwark Apparel and Kallanish their opinion on the vendors and exhibitors in attendance. They too agreed there were many new names and faces. Whew….it wasn’t just me. The many that visited our booth were from WY, Canada, CA, KY, LA, MA, CO, OK and the very obvious TX appearing to have the most.
As I attended the Q & A sessions after the presentations it became very apparent why there were so many new players. Unlike many of the locals in the Appalachian Region who believed the industry was just passing through, these new companies are investing the time and money (yes money) into the Marcellus and Utica plays to be see and be part. Why? There was a resounding statement by several of the presenters, ‘Marcellus, Utica and Devonian plays will be the best longer stronger investment’.
Back in 2013 the Canton Chamber of Commerce and Shale Directories sponsored the first Utica Summit I in 2013 that provided an overview and forecast of the economic potential of the Utica and Marcellus plays locally, regionally, and to our delight and surprise -globally. It opened with the upstream of Chesapeake with presentations from midstream all the way to the downstream utilization of natural gas by Pepsi, FEDX, and Caterpillar to name a few. But, the presentation that still to this day resonates in my mind – and commitment to the industry was the keynote speaker JP Morgan. It was truly a ‘sit up in your seat’ statement when JP Morgan presenter said ‘on Wall Street we have come to call the Marcellus play the Marcellus Monster. He then went on to explain how the natural gas – liquid and wet as well as the then uncommonly known by- products of drilling, ethane, butane and others will impact the world globally. I was a banker for 38 yrs, so I knew when the presenter made these public statements he had valid information. It took another 2-3 yrs for ethane to become a household word for me and certainly with the announcement of Shell’s cracker plant it now is a well-known common subject for many of us. And the ethane economic potential for the Appalachian can be enormous– stay tuned for that story and how it can affect you.