The Marshall County natural gas drilling boom is probably still just in its beginning stages, as Scott Rotruck believes there could be "hundreds and hundreds" of wells in the county five years from now.
"This region should be able to rock and roll," said Rotruck, vice president of corporate development and state government relations for Chesapeake Energy, as he spoke during the Thursday Marshall County Chamber of Commerce dinner. "If we really ramp up this energy source, we will see some West Virginians come home to work."
Though far from the only company drilling into the Marcellus Shale underlying Marshall County and all of West Virginia's Northern Panhandle, Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake is the most active in the region. Rotruck emphasized the projection of hundreds of wells would also include those drilled by CNX Gas Corp., Chevron and the other companies with operations in the county.
Photo by Casey Junkins
Scott Rotruck, vice president of corporate development and state government relations for Chesapeake Energy, speaks during the Thursday Marshall County Chamber of Commerce dinner.
"West Virginia has a unique slice of the Marcellus Shale. This is the 'wet' gas window," Rotruck said of the gas under the Northern Panhandle. The wet gas consists of ethane, propane, butane and pentanes, in addition to the methane natural gas.
In relation to the multi-billion ethane cracker plant that Bayer Corp. officials are trying to attract to their site near New Martinsville, Rotruck said officials need to make a decision soon. This is because some companies, like Caiman Energy and Range Resources, are planning to send ethane to Canada. A cracker would transform ethane into ethylene, the basis for plastic production.
"We have to hurry. Decisions are being made for what to do with this ethane," he said.
Rotruck said the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays "are truly revolutionary on terms of creating stable energy markets," due to the ability to produce more natural gas and liquids.
Also during the dinner, chamber President Mark Ritz presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Altmeyer Funeral Homes. According to the company's website, Altmeyer's acquired the Kirby-Vance Funeral Home of McMechen and the Lutes Funeral Home in Moundsville in 1991. Today, this is the Altmeyer Funeral Home, Lutes & Kirby-Vance Chapel, located in Moundsville. Ritz acknowledged the company's commitment to serving the community.