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Perhaps the trait that sets Jim Aslanides apart in his new role as president of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association is passion.
Aslanides brings a multi-faceted background into his new post, as he follows a stellar term by David Hill, who was president of OOGA from January of 2014 to December of 2016.
Currently president of Media Fuel Company (dba MFC Drilling, Inc.), Aslanides has been a member of OOGA since 1981, which was when MFC Drilling was founded. His company is actively involved in the exploration and production of oil and gas in Ohio. He has served on the OOGA Board of Trustees twice, with the first term beginning in 1996 and a second term beginning in 2009. While on the Board, he served as chairman of the OOGA meetings committee and the government affairs committee.
Between those two terms on the OOGA board, Aslanides was the Ohio Rep. for the 94th and 95th House Districts. While in the Ohio House, he was chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
All of this put him in a position to be the next leader of OOGA and he said he welcomes the chance to promote and help lead the association.
“I was always passionate about policy,” Aslanides said. “I just want to make sure people in the Statehouse know the industry is important. That’s what led me to run for public office and be chairman of the natural resource committee.
“The entire state is in transition, with conventional and unconventional development. Part of my role will be to make sure regulations don’t overwhelm development. Legislation initiatives can’t be based on anything but solid facts and physics. Otherwise it would drastically impede our ability to proceed. Physics always win. We are a very technologically focused industry with a basis on our decisions on managed risk.”
Aslanides said his goals are simply to help the association present a unified front in OOGA’s effort to promote and lead gas and oil developers and producers in Ohio.
“The recent horizontal development in Ohio has changed the industry in our state but so did hydrological fracturing in 1952. We embraced new producers, new technology, in 1952 and we’re doing so now in recent horizontal development. We have an honorable tradition. I remember that when I spoke before members of the Association, I was somewhat intimidated, but I was never intimidated when I spoke in front of the House. I still am somewhat intimidated by the honorable membership we have.”
Aslanides speaks to the recent growth of the oil and gas industry when he looks at the future.
“First of all, what people may not know, is that arguably 35% of natural gas has been discovered only within the past five years. The industry is a lot more instantaneous, a lot more capable of reacting very quickly to the economic environment. A large portion of what our nation relies on was only recently discovered.
“Look at what’s happening in our eastern counties, natural gas wells recently built or in development and the development of power plants that will take pipelines and natural gas to supply them. Look at the proposed facility for Belmont County that would create 5,000 new jobs for construction and then some 900 continued jobs to run that place. I think this is extremely important; our pursuit of capital in order to supply these facilities is extremely important. Undue regulation, unnecessary and higher taxes would be detrimental to our region.
“I would hope that commodity prices can be a little bit stronger. Not enough to hurt the consumer but enough to aid in the growth of the industry. Look at all the success stories that can be written. The growth along I-77 the last five years has been unbelievable.”
Aslanides also pointed to technological advances being crucial to the industry, noting that technological advances are helping conventional producers as well, using new concepts to enhance production, potentially horizontal laterals with conventional vertical wells.
"I see a renaissance with conventional producers and new opportunity is on the horizon," Aslanides said.
But he warns that some legislative initiatives could negatively impact the industry.
“Currently the EPA is requesting all producers comply with providing information about potential methane emissions. This would have the potential to devastate production across the state,” Aslanides said. “The current (national) administration sees the value in our industry. All our industry really wants is for folks that live in our region to see the value in what we do and make sure the information is out there that allows regulators to understand the value in what we do.
“In our Association, all we deal with is fact. Anything that is circulated out there is based on truth. One of the reasons the Ohio legislature trusts us is the information that we provide is factual. We are ready and willing to provide the right data for the right solution.”
Aslanides and his wife, Marcy, live in Coshocton and have three daughters, Rachel, Anna and Brianna; and a son, Wesley.