Energy Summit takes on power

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The energy industry’s movers and shakers were in Charleston Tuesday for the 7th annual Energy Summit.

More than 260 people were part of the one-day conference and discussion at the Charleston Marriott. They ranged from those in the coal industry to natural gas, wind to hydro power.

State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette explained it’s important to get all the energy players in the state in one room once a year. He said everyone benefits.

“Find out what’s happening inside the industry, both theirs and others. What the projections are. Listen to folks that are in the know, in those categories, so they can do a little bit of a look forward.”

Burdette said when it comes to the big two energy makers in West Virginia in 2013 it’s a tale of ups and downs.

“Coal is challenging right now. There’s huge regulatory and economic pressure on coal.”

Burdette said then you have natural gas. “Severance tax revenues from natural gas are up 168 percent over estimate for this year. The Marcellus region is rapidly becoming not just the nation’s leader in gas production but the world’s leader in gas production.”

The list of speakers for the summit included: Robert Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy who just purchased five Consol mines in northern West Virginia; Charlie Bud, the president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association and Jennifer Hedrick, the executive director of Pellet Fuels Institute.

Burdette said in the past West Virginia has been plundered of its natural resources.

“West Virginia has been a huge wealth creator across this country. We want to create wealth and jobs in West Virginia.”

He is confident the summit can help achieve that goal.

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