PITTSBURGH \u2013 Members of the oil and gas industry from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio are gathering to celebrate the industry and its ever-growing potential at the 2018 Shale Insight Conference.\r\n\r\nThe conference is put on by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.\r\n\r\nHere are highlights of comments and by speakers from Day 1.\r\n\r\n\u2014 Joe Bozada, CFO and COO of Appalachian Development Group, said the American Chemical Council has projected that natural gas liquids development in the tri-state Marcellus-Utica basin could produce 100,000 new jobs.\r\n\r\nThe development group\u2019s core focus, he said, is pursuing the Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub, with its storage facilities and associated pipelines plus a trading company to create a sustainable marketplace.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_24905" align="alignright" width="225"]<img class="wp-image-24905 size-medium" src="http:\/\/www.dominionpost.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/10\/griffin-225x300.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="300" \/> Andree Griffin[\/caption]\r\n\r\n\u2014 The whole conference is focused not on tri-state competition but unity, as reflected in the 2015 Tri-State Governor\u2019s Regional Cooperation agreement that created the Tri-State Shale Coalition.\r\n\r\nDenise Brinley, senior advisor for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, said the coalition\u2019s primary underpinning is: \u201cProsperity flows where value is added to a raw material.\u201d The most prominent example is the Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals cracker plant in process outside Pittsburgh.\r\n\r\nThe region possesses \u201cclear, compelling advantages in recruiting manufacturing,\u201d she said. And production of natural gas liquids, essential to the petrochemical industry, is projected to grow sevenfold by middle of next decade.\r\n\r\nWith that in mind, she unveiled a new branding promotion, to link the three states as \u201cone place, one name, one opportunity\u201d to promote manufacturing, marketing and exports. The green and gold logo labels the area as The Power Region.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe believe this is absolutely critical to draw focus on a region where the most significant opportunities on earth are unfolding,\u201d Brinley said.\r\n\r\n\u2014 Andree Griffin, vice president of geology and geophysics for XTO Energy, said that since start of 2012, Marcellus and Utica shale production has provided 85 percent growth in U.S. shale production.\r\n\r\n\u201cThese rates are staggering, but they are also very exciting,\u201d she said. And they\u2019re just the beginning. Ever-improving technology, longer laterals and other advances will continually expand production. \u201cThe full potential of this resource is being rewritten year over year.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u2014 Coal and gas are carbon cousins that united in their opposition to Obama-era carbon fuel policies. But there\u2019s also an inherent tension, reflected in comments throughout the day to expand the gas industry\u2019s reach, and produce cleaner power, by displacing coal-fired plants with gas-fired.\r\n\r\nAnne Blankenship, executive director of WVONGA, addressed that tension in an answer to a question from The Dominion Post.\r\n\r\n\u201cThat\u2019s an especially difficult question and topic right now in West Virginia,\u201d she said, as West Virginia has been a coal-fired state. It lags behind Ohio and Pennsylvania in developing gas-fired power.\r\n\r\nThree gas-fired plants are in the approval process and have faced challenges \u201cdirectly related to the coal industry\u2019s concerns about natural gas being used instead of coal. \u2026 As an industry, we\u2019re really to trying to do what we can to get additional support to get through those hurdles. But it is what it is and we\u2019re hoping to move forward.\r\n\r\nShe observed, \u201cThis is a regional grid; it\u2019s a regional market. If these plants don\u2019t get built in West Virginia, it\u2019s not necessarily a win for coal. It\u2019s a win for our surrounding states, because those plants are going to get built somewhere because we need them. \u201c\r\n\r\nWVONGA would like to see them built in West Virginia, she said, but added that the conference is focused on tri-state unity and the Utica shale play offers even greater opportunity than the Marcellus.