With more than 120 vendors and more than 500 participants, the fifth annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Equipment Show was a deemed a success by organizers.
Dennis Xander, vice president of IOGA and event chairman, said he was very pleased with the turnout.
"We're pleased with the turnout," Xander said. "It is indicative that the industry is still strong, and still here."
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Clise
More than 120 exhibitors are set up on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College for the fifth annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Equipment Show.
This year's event included a community education component that allowed the public to come in and ask questions of the vendors and oil and gas officials.
"We do encourage people to ask questions," Xander said. "There's bad information out there based on misconceptions."
Lewis County resident Bob Smith said he was happy to have driven over for the event after learning much of what he had heard "here there and yonder" wasn't true at all.
"It's good to get some accurate information on the issue," Smith said. "There's a lot of hearsay going around that needs to be stopped.
"This was a good educational tool for me," Smith said. "I would tell anybody to come over and see what the real deal is in the oil and gas business."
Brian Conrad, sale representative for QT Inc. in Hurricane, said the oil and gas business has been a real help to his company's bottom line with the decline of coal.
QT Equipment Inc. sells service trucks and lube trucks in the energy business.
"It helps, especially on the lube side," Conrad said, adding that the trucks carry lubricants to well equipment. Some of those pieces of equipment need up to 48 gallons of oil to operate.
"We are depending on the oil and gas business to pull us up," Conrad said.
Xander said that even though natural gas prices are very low right now, it is still good for the economy.
Since 2008 there has been a glut of natural gas in the market due to the increased extraction created by horizontal drilling.
In the traditional drilling Xander has experienced in his 38 years in the oil and gas business, most wells have a life span of 25 to 30 years with the potential of 150 million cubic feet. In horizontal drilling, a well could produce 5 million cubic feet a day. A horizontal well could equal in one month what took 25 years to accomplish before.
"Cheaper energy offers more opportunities," Xander said.
Since 2009, consumers and businesses have saved $150 billion with lower natural gas prices.
"We are now producing as much electric with natural gas in this country as we are with coal," Xander said.
Xander believes the state should begin exporting natural gas and coal to other countries to help offset our trade deficit.
"There are many less developed nations ready to burn coal," Xander said. He cited China and India as two countries in need of coal.
"We should be exporting natural gas," Xander said. "We have a trade deficit, and could balance it through exporting natural gas."
Truthland, a documentary about a Pennsylvania woman's search for truth in the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas, was screened during the event to help bring more knowledge to residents seeking answers about the industry.
Contact John Clise by email at email@example.com.