Neighbors: Natural gas producer taking right approach
West Virginians are big on the concept of being good neighbors. So, when the head of the second-largest natural gas producer in our state talks about “old-school values,” we do not feel any need to applaud — because that is what we expect from other people.
Nevertheless, recent comments by EQT Corp. CEO Toby Rice were good to hear. During a panel discussion at the state Chamber of Commerce’s annual business summit last week, Rice vowed that EQT will take a new approach to many of its operations.
“We’re really talking about our values,” Rice said, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
Building trust with landowners and minimizing the adverse effects of drilling were two specifics Rice cited. He pledged to adopt a “greener, friendlier approach to drilling.” We hope he can make that happen at EQT.
It appears most Mountain State residents believe the natural gas revolution in our state is a good thing — but many are critical of damage to roads, abusive practices toward some landowners and damage to the environment involving multiple companies, not just EQT.
Just named CEO of the corporation this summer, Rice is still new to the EQT culture, though he has been involved in the energy industry for more than a decade. He may face resistance from some in the company who feel the approach he has espoused is not the way to maximize profits.
But in the long run, Rice is right. In many ways, gas producers depend on trust and goodwill from those who own mineral rights, landowners, local government officials and state regulatory agencies. If EQT is to remain a major player in the West Virginia energy industry, the path outlined by its new CEO is the only to go.