The Executive Director of West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA), Anne Blankenship spoke to the Weston Rotary about how West Virginia (WV) could use natural gas in the future and how it is working in WV currently.
WVONGA is an organization that is over 100 years old, that works with all companies and components in the oil and gas field, in all the different sectors.
“It [oil and gas] is a very dynamic industry, with many different parts,” said Blankenship.
Prior to working for WVONGA, Blankenship was a lawyer working for oil and gas companies.
“Oil and gas is touching everyone with all the different ‘booms’,” she said.
Blankenship said that her job is to network with different committees and to lobby during legislative sessions to help with regulations, legalities and any other situations, to help the oil and gas industry strive.
“A lot needs to change in this state, to help promote the oil and gas industry,” said Blankenship.
According to Blankenship, WV has an enormous supply of natural gas and a number of factors have to come together for WV to reach its potential in this particular industry.
Blankenship said that technology changing and improving, caused the last oil and gas boom, leading to horizontal drilling, which meant less land disturbances.
One way to capitalize on natural gas’ potential, according to Blankenship, is to power electric plants with natural gas.
“We are in a low price environment, but productions continue to increase,” she said.
One reason why it takes so long for pipelines to come into service, is the regulations and how long it takes to get approved by the government. Blankenship said that it takes three to four years for a pipeline to get approved in a smooth process.
Most of the pipelines are currently in approval stages, according to Blankenship and the hold up was do to not having a quorum with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), due to President Donald Trump needing to appoint a new person, which recently happened.
Currently, West Virginia University is doing geological study in a few areas, that will determine whether or not the land is feasible to store liquid natural gas, such as methane and butane. Liquid natural gas is the first step in processing plastic. Which in turn could lead to manufacturing plants.
Blankenship also spoke about Energize West Virginia, whose goal is to educate the public about natural gas and oil.