Sweetwater to host first Shale Show
Sweetwater will be the focus of the nation’s oil and gas industry this week as the first Shale Show 2013 will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 1-2 at the Nolan County Coliseum in Sweetwater’s Newman Park.More than 150 exhibitors from all across the United States will have displays set up both inside and outside the Nolan County Coliseum Complex, according to Greg Wortham, Sweetwater mayor and executive director of the Cline Shale Oil Alliance, which is sponsoring the event.For more than 50 years, Odessa has been the host for the Permian Basin International Oil Show that is held in October in even-numbered years. Wortham hopes the Sweetwater event will become a staple for the industry in the same time frame in odd-numbered years.“We expect 500 people from the exhibitors alone,” he stated, “but we don’t really know how many people to expect to attend because it is open free to the public.”Wortham said he expects industry people from not only the immediate area but also from the Permian Basin, Fort Worth and San Antonio, as well as the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and Alaska, Minnesota, Florida, Oklahoma, Missouri and New Mexico to attend the show. He added that the Shale Show is not a Sweetwater event, but it is regional event showcasing the eastern side of the Permian Basin from Big Spring to San Angelo to Abilene to Snyder and including Sweetwater and Colorado City. That region is anticipating an influx of drilling activity from the burgeoning Cline Shale play.“We want both operators and service companies to see the business opportunities here,” Wortham emphasized. “Many of the companies haven’t picked their spots (to locate their operations) in this eastern region. They may decide in December and say we need you tomorrow. We want to demonstrate how ready this region is to get to work. We understand the oil industry and we are not afraid of fracking.”He added that the Shale Show is an opportunity for not only business networking with industry officials and the region’s community leaders but also a chance to educate the public on the equipment and terminology involved in the oil and gas industry.Public access to the indoor and outdoor exhibits will be from 10 a.m. and to 5 p.m. and on Tuesday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The two-day show will also include a number of speakers, including Christi Craddick of the Texas Railroad Commission and George P. Bush, a candidate for Texas Land Commission and grandson and nephew of former U.S. presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.Ben Shepperd, president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association in Midland, and Mark Ellison of the Texas Water Development Board in Austin will speak on Tuesday. A regional economic activity roundtable will also be held Tuesday afternoon.Seminars on Wednesday morning will include lessons from the Eagle Ford Shale play in South Texas by Jeff Labenz-Hough of HDR Engineering in San Antonio, and a Texas oil and gas overview from Luke Legate of the Texas Oil and Gas Joint Association in Austin.Craddick will give the keynote speech at 11 a.m. Wednesday, followed by Bush at noon and then a Texas and regional workforce issues and opportunities roundtable discussion at 1:30 p.m.Although the Cline Shale play is still in its infancy stages, Ken Becker, executive director of the Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development, Inc., said there has already been a flurry of activity.“We have had seven or eight (oil-related companies) that have move into Sweetwater and 15 companies have moved into the Nolan County region,” he claimed.Becker added that ground will be broken on the BNSF Sweetwater Logistics Center on Oct. 22. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) is re-developing the 75-acre Orient yard in Sweetwater so that frack sand, aggregate pipe, clay, barite or other drilling materials can be shipped by rail into the Permian Basin and Cline Shale, and crude oil can also be shipped out of Sweetwater via the new rail facility.“One of new companies in Sweetwater is Ouachita Valley Pipe,” he continued. “They told me the other day that Devon Energy (the largest leaseholder in the Cline Shale) said ‘Hold on, the Cline Shale is heading your way.’ There is talk that it may expand into southeastern Nolan and southwestern Taylor County, which is farther east than the original map.”Estimates are that the Cline Shale could hold 30 billion barrels of recoverable oil.“It’s here,” Wortham said of the emerging Cline Shale play, “and we are ready to absorb the increased business. There are more rigs moving into the area, and I see more trucks with different logos every day.”The Shale Show is open free to the oil and gas industry, regional leaders and businesses, and to the general public. More information is available at www.shale-show.com.