O&G conference producers must stick their collective head out to show the industry they are looking to the future, and they want to show industry players where their business development efforts need to focus.
Look closely at Shale Directories and H2 CCS Network. This pair of closely aligned businesses has brought national – global — attention to the Appalachian Basin as having the potential to be a hydrogen generation and Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) hub to the world.
Shale Directories was founded in 2009 by Joe Barone to connect the O&G industry with local businesses, a goal which has expanded so that today the company is a national leader in bringing together industry players with local companies hoping to be part of O&G.
The company started promoting the Appalachian Basin as THE place for storage with its first Appalachian Storage Hub Conference in June 2017. Annual storage hub programs followed in 2018, 2019, and in 2020.
Two years ago, Barone and TopLine Analytics founder Tom Gellrich read the O&G tea leaves and determined the basin should not only be an underground storage hub for NGLs, but also the focus in the U.S. if not the world, for hydrogen generation.
It took roughly a year to put their thoughts and ideas into action, but on April 8, 2021, Shale Directories and the newly formed H2 CCS Network launched the first Appalachian Hydrogen & Carbon Capture Conference.
No less a dominant player in O&G than ExxonMobil estimates hydrogen and CCUS as a $3 trillion dollar market by 2040.
The Federal Infrastructure bill, signed into law in late 2021, allocates $8 billion and $12 billion for hydrogen and carbon capture, respectively, in DOE grant funding to establish regional hubs.
At the initial program, the presenters landed two senior US Department of Energy speakers Lynn Brickett and Robert Schrecengost, heads of DOE’s hydrogen and carbon capture sequestration programs, respectively.
Landing two of DOE’s top people to present at the initial voyage of the conference indicated two things: The feds have long been involved in hydrogen and CCS research and development, and Barone/Gellrich were keying on a particularly important subject.
Because of the caliber of the speakers and their presentations, the three conferences – all sell outs — have attracted companies from across the US and Canada.
The most recent conference held just days ago had a number of representatives from major oil companies such as Shell and Repsol, which currently are focusing manpower and money on CCUS.
Attendance has also included state and federal level legislators, which provided the all-important public-private interchange.
The conference trio has been venues to bring broader awareness to new hydrogen and carbon capture initiatives, including Mitsubishi’s Utah project, Summit Carbon Solutions’ Midwest Express Pipeline, US Steel’s hydrogen program, and Monolith’s Hydrogen Generation and carbon black developments.
Nuclear energy icon Westinghouse touted its eVinci nuclear reactor project at the recently concluded program.
The largest, best-known and most vocal promoter of O&G in the US, the American Petroleum Institute, API, has presented at two of the three conferences.
The next conference, Appalachian Hydrogen & Carbon Capture IV, will be on November 10, 2022 at the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The conference is two-days after the midterm elections which impact many of the presentations and discussions.