In 1900, the Marietta Board of Trade published a "Century Review of Marietta." Reprinted by the Washington County Historical Society in 2006, it is a book that I read and re-read. Understanding our past brings insights into our present and our future. Issues faced by our ancestors come around again, in an altered format, to confound us.
The book opens with a summary extolling the advantages of our city. One section titled "Petroleum Oil and Natural Gas" states, "In addition to many other favors that nature has conferred on this region, not by any means the least, are the extensive fields of oil and gas territory that lie immediately around this city ..."
Today, more than a century later, new potential sources of oil and gas have been identified in our region, namely the Marcellus and Utica Shale.
With this discovery comes a lot of questions. To help address these questions, a series of oil and gas forums are offered as a community service by Peoples Bank in partnership with both the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley and the Marietta Area Chamber.
The forums will feature local experts addressing questions from legal, accounting, business, financial planning and economic perspectives and reviewing the impact to businesses, communities, and landowners. In this collaborative effort, the two chambers and Peoples Bank scheduled a Wood County Forum on Aug. 23 and a Washington County Forum on Aug. 25. We invite you to attend and hear how our local economy will be impacted with job growth and increased revenue for the businesses and the communities we live in. With increased economic development, greater tax revenues may be generated and will benefit entire communities as a whole, which in turn benefits all of us.
As with most economic activity, the impacts of natural gas affect more than just the specific companies directly involved in the industry. There are also important employment and income effects on local businesses who supply the industry (such as oil field service companies, restaurants and retailers and hotels), and effects that result from employees spending their wages locally.
Many sectors of the local economy could benefit from Marcellus and Utica drilling, as businesses and employees spend money locally. There clearly are opportunities and benefits for the construction industry, retail trade and others.
New business start-up and technical assistance will be able to target identified business opportunities related to natural gas and workforce development training should focus on the new specialized jobs which will be created.
General local business and community development programs focused on helping local businesses or downtown be competitive similarly could help Ohio and West Virginia communities better compete for the new spending resulting from the natural gas production.
These forums also will offer valuable insight for landowners. The forums will address issues such as how to protect your rights as a landowner when negotiating, signing or managing a property lease if you should become a lease holder of your own oil and gas mineral rights. In addition, tax implications, insurance, and financial questions will also be addressed.
Speakers at both forums will include Dr. Robert W. Chase, professor and chair of the Department of Petroleum Engineering and Geology, Marietta College, and Jerry James, president, Artex Oil Company. In Marietta the panel adds Jim Huggins, partner, TheisenBrock; and Inez Bowie, CPA, CSEP, senior manager, Rea & Associates. In Parkersburg, panelists include Richard A. Hudson, partner, Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love; and Wallace F. Suttle, II, CPA, Suttle and Stalnaker.
The main sponsor, Peoples Bank, offers a full suite of banking, investment and insurance options to assist with all your financial needs. The trusted and knowledgeable associates at Peoples Financial Advisors can work closely with you or your business to develop a clear picture of your financial situation and create a comprehensive financial plan that will keep you focused on your goals and what is needed to obtain them.
Wood County Oil and Gas Forum, Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Grand Pointe Conference Center, 1500 Grand Central Ave, Vienna, W.Va. Separate session for business owners/communities and landowners - 3 to 5 p.m., Impact to Business Owners and Communities; and 6 to 8 p.m., Impact to Landowners
Washington County Oil and Gas Forum, Thursday, Aug. 25, at The Lafayette Hotel, 101 Front St., Marietta. Separate session for business owners/communities and landowners - 3 to 5 p.m., Impact to Business Owners and Communities; and 6 to 8 p.m., Impact to Landowners.
In order to reserve your seat at either the Wood County or Washington County Oil and Gas Forum call 1-800-374-6123. Seating is limited, so don't wait to call.
Charlotte Keim, CCEO-AP, is president of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce, The Riverview Building, 100 Front St., Suite 200, Marietta. Chamber Viewpoint appears every other Monday on Opinion.