Chesapeake Energy has provided WVU Extension Service with a $50,000 gift to support the Natural Gas Education Program that will develop and deliver training for West Virginians about the natural gas industry in the state.
“Right now, people in West Virginia and across the nation are making decisions about energy and the environment,” said Scott Rotruck, Chesapeake’s vice president for corporate development. “Natural gas is a vital part of that equation as new supplies continue to be produced in Appalachia. Chesapeake Energy is eager to assist WVU Extension in providing accurate information about natural gas development and the positive changes it will create.”
WVU Extension Service’s Agriculture and Natural Resources department will develop the curriculum, and the program will be delivered by agriculture Extension agents throughout West Virginia. A boot camp for agents was held in early June to start the education process.
WVU Extension Service will also partner with other schools and colleges across the Morgantown campus to deliver updated, multidisciplinary, and accurate information about the industry. Other components of the program include educational training programs for residents in various regions of the state.
“We’re excited to be partnering with Chesapeake on a program that will educate thousands across West Virginia about the economic, environmental, and residential impacts that the natural gas industry will have on the state,” said Jennifer Williams, director of WVU Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. is one of the largest producers of natural gas and the most active driller of new wells in the United States. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company’s operations are focused on discovering and developing unconventional natural gas and oil fields onshore in the United States.
Chesapeake owns leading positions in the Barnett, Fayetteville, Haynesville, Marcellus and Bossier natural gas shale plays and in the Eagle Ford, Granite Wash and various other unconventional oil plays. The company has also vertically integrated its operations and owns substantial midstream, compression, drilling, and oilfield service assets.
The WVU Extension Service is uniquely situated to develop this type of program. Extension serves as the outreach division of West Virginia University. Extension has offices in all 55 counties, which provide citizens with knowledge in such areas as 4-H and youth development, agriculture, family and consumer sciences, health, leadership development, and community and economic development.
Chesapeake joins the Dominion Foundation and EQT in support of the NGEP. These three companies have given about $125,000 to help establish the program and provide printed materials to citizens throughout the state.
While an estimated 21,000 people are employed by the natural gas industry in West Virginia, the companies recognized that lines of communication among the industry, citizens, and state agencies must be kept open and easily accessible in order for the state to continue to have positive economic growth.
CONTACT: Ann Bailey Berry, WVU Extension Service
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