The Ohio Oil and Gas Association drew a robust crowd of about 1,500 people to its annual winter meeting, which was held the week of March 5-7, 2014 in Columbus.
The gathering included 1,300 attendees who registered in advance and another 200 or so who showed up at the door, said OOGA spokesman Mike Chadsey. It also marked an uptick from the approximately 1,000 guests who registered for last year’s event, as Chadsey and others at OOGA said their organization continues to grow with the state’s shale gas industry.
“It was bigger this year than it was last year and it was bigger last year than it was the year before,” said Mike Eberhart, an OOGA member and a CPA specializing in oil and gas issues at the Canton accounting firm, Hall, Kistler and Co.
The number of exhibitors was also up, to 80 this year from about 60 last year, Chadsey said.
Guests got the usual updates on the industry, its progress in Ohio and the status of state politics surrounding the issue of shale drilling from speakers, including OOGA executive vice president Tom Stewart.
Those from Northeast Ohio who didn’t make the trip might have already heard much of that message, though. Mr. Stewart said he previewed much of this year’s OOGA speech at Crain’s 2014 Shale Summit on Feb. 20. He continues to express optimism in the potential of Ohio’s shale play, and staunch opposition to efforts to increase taxes that he said would slow the industry’s expansion in Ohio.
He also stressed the need for the industry in Ohio to remain unified, in order to stave off efforts both in government and the public sphere that could result in laws and taxes that would stifle its growth.
Exhibitors were a mix of in-state and out-of-state companies that provide a broad range of products and services to the industry, from drilling and midstream infrastructure equipment to surveying, legal and insurance services. Many of the out-of-state participants at this year’s show were from Pennsylvania, where drilling for that state’s dry gas has slowed as some drillers moved their rigs to Ohio. The Utica shale play in Ohio contains more liquids — other hydrocarbons, such as ethane, that are more valuable than natural gas — that have attracted drillers’ attention.
Several exhibitors said this year’s show was a success for them, as they were able to expose their companies to a large number of potential customers and partners.
The association also elected 12 new members to its Hall of Fame, including Mr. Stewart — who is the first to represent the second generation of his family to receive the honor. The elections are held ever four years and Mr. Stewart’s father, William Stewart, was elected to the Hall in 1989.
Others elected to the Hall of Fame this year were Fred A. Badertsher, Robert D. Barrick, Thomas P. Giusti, Steven L. Grose, James Halloran, Carl Heinrich, Dr. William Hlavin, Angela Howard, Thomas E. Niehaus, Richard C. Poling and James R. Smail.