Hometown Energy Video Podcast Tells True Story of Illinois’ Oil Production Industry

Public perceptions are driven by what people see in the media. And over the past 10 years, all folks have seen is headlines about the horizontal drilling and high volume hydraulic fracturing that has driven American oil production to record-shattering levels.

This has no doubt crystalized the “Big Oil” perception of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry. But that perception couldn’t be further from reality in the Land of Lincoln, where conventional vertical development rules and small, locally-owned companies make up the heart of the Illinois Basin.

In fact, a 2016 RCF Economic & Financial Consulting economic impact report found that of the 4,000-plus direct oil production industry jobs in the Land of Lincoln, those jobs are split evenly between mostly small, locally-owned businesses and independent contractors.

It is with the latter facts and the general disconnect between public perception and reality in mind that the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board and IOGA have launched Hometown Energy, a new video podcast that will feature in-depth personal stories from throughout the Illinois Basin that convey the true story of the Illinois oil production industry.

In contrast to what’s happening in other states, the Illinois oil industry remains much the same as it was decades ago: largely family-owned, hyper local and interwoven with the communities, providing critical jobs and tax revenues in areas of the state desperately in need of both.

And despite the “Keep It In the Ground” movement’s continued efforts to drag Illinois into the fight over shale development – just take a look at this year’s proposed legislation! – there is no such development occurring in Illinois, and will likely be no such development anytime in the near future.

We have to communicate that fact to the general public, otherwise the “Keep It In the Ground” movement will be all-too-happy to continuing to paint our industry’s perception with a deceptive brush.

Our debut “Hometown Energy” episodes featured interviews with Gesell Pump Sales and Service co-owner Brad Gesell and outgoing IOGA president and longtime Illinois Basin attorney Craig Hedin. With a combined 80 years of experience in the Illinois oil industry, there are few others more qualified to tell the true story of our industry.

Future episodes will feature Chris and Ryan Mitchell from Geo Mitchell Drilling – one of the many multi-generational family-owned businesses in the Illinois Basin – and Travis Thompson of Thompson Oil…