Natural gas called ‘best hope’ for West Virginia at summer meeting of Independent Oil and Gas Association

GREENBRIER COUNTY, W.Va. — The incoming president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia doesn’t like what is ahead for natural gas prices.

“This year’s not too bad actually,” said Brett Loflin, vice president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia.

Brett Loflin

“It’s when you look at futures prices, we’re not seeing the prices farther out — like in 2020, 2021 — they’re just not looking that good.”

On Monday, Loflin talked with MetroNews from The Greenbrier Resort where IOGA’s 2018 Summer Meeting runs through Tuesday.

At the start of 2018, the U.S. Energy Information Administration was forecasting increased natural gas production and “relatively flat” consumption translating to lower natural gas prices in 2018 and 2019.

When gas prices are low, “It’s hard to attract investor money in the upstream side for us producers to go out and drill and complete wells,” Loflin said.

More demand translates to higher gas prices, the reason why Loflin and others within IOGA have continued to push for what’s envisioned as the Appalachian Storage Hub to potentially be located in West Virginia.

A vice president of regulatory affairs for Northeast Natural Energy which is based Charleston, Loflin will become IOGA’s president on Wednesday, leading an organization with more than 500 members made up of largely gas producer-oriented operations.

Monday’s IOGA speakers included U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Stacy Olson, Chevron Appalachia president, Mike Dragovich, BrickStreet Insurance loss control specialist and Austin Caperton, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

On Tuesday, scheduled speakers included state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Brian Anderson, director of WVU Energy Institute and Michael Marr, business integration lead for Shell Chemical Company.

Under construction along the Ohio River in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, is a Shell cracker plant that’s projected to be finished in late 2021 or early 2022, according to available estimates.

Anderson’s topic was the Appalachian Storage Hub.

“The more that we can talk to some of our folks and we can get this Appalachian Storage Hub and turn it into a reality, that will certainly attract manufacturing industries,” Loflin said.

Despite uncertainty due to new tariffs implemented under President Donald Trump, Loflin said he’s hopeful West Virginia will eventually see China Energy’s more than $80 billion in potential investments.

“I still think there’s a possibility that investment will go through,” he said.

The Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia is a not-for-profit corporation representing natural gas and oil drilling and production companies along with companies that support their work in the Mountain State.

“We feel the natural gas industry is still the best hope for West Virginia,” said Loflin.

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