Monthly Archives: March 2011

Boom or Bust ?!

Oil, gas and power have always been part of the history for the State of Appalachia region.

In fact the first history of modern oil discovery and production was right here along this valley and in these hills.  It was here in the heart of the state of appalachia West Virginia that the famous oil men like Rockefeller first discovered and processed oil on a major scale.  It was this geographic proximity to the appalachian mountains, oil, steel and most certainly coal that created the industrialized towns of Cleveland (Rockefeller’s capital and lakeside shipping port to the world), Pittsburgh (Carnegie’s steel town, consumer of all that energy) and even places like Parkersburg (A major Standard Oil outpost  with logistics through the Ohio & Lil Kanawha rivers and  B&O railroads).

So while its never really gone away (at least in coal that is) and the world swoons over the supply of oil while clamoring for green energy, we in the state of appalachia sit on the precipice of a new age with the advent of Marcellus & Utica shale finds throughout the northern and southern mountain ranges.  Thanks to new technologies in storage and shipping (read Alan Greenspan’s Age of Turbulence Chapter on energy and his background and thoughts on natural gas) natural gas is the newest best thing for cheap, clean, still relatively abundant fossil fuel resource.  Add to it the new methods of drilling and extraction, and wala, people that have owned land in the hills and the hollers of appalachia could be sitting on a literal gold mine.

But is all this too good to be true?  Leveraging a history of energy natural resources and innovation to address the worlds challenges (and opportunities) with this next generation of technology and fuel?  Will it be the boon to peace and prosperity in the region with every farmer leasing gas rights to their land and every family employed in the surveying, drilling, extraction, transportation and transactions in the space?  Or will that all come to be and then come to end and fade as quickly as the previous booms that oilmen and others helped to fuel in an earlier generation?  Or even worse, will it be a continued opportunity of exploitation for the area, were outsider investment or insider connections cordon  off the profits for a few while leaving the costs to the rest?

Whichever of these or more possibilities come to bear, the only thing that is certain is there will be change and opportunity.  How we respond to both as a people, as entrepreneurs, community leaders, businesses and workers, family members & friends will dictate which of the scenarios will come to pass to benefit or bereft our great State.  I for one will be pulling for and participating in the changes to shape the opportunities for us all to benefit by the journey!

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Filed under Entrepreneurship, Leadership, State of Appalachia