WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – The Ohio Valley Oil and Gas Association hosted it’s annual Holiday Party Dinner Discussion and Happy Hour on Wednesday night. The event was held at Wheeling Island Resort & Casino for the second year in a row.

Industry professionals had the chance to reunite with old friends, learn new tricks of the trade and expand their network.

“The biggest benefit to coming to these events for our members is the networking,” said AJ Smith, President of Hull & Associates. “Getting to talk to each other, Toby Rice with EQT who is our speaker tonight and others in the industry to try to do business together and do more business for the oil and gas industry.”

The natural resources of the tri-state area position this region as a leader in global energy production. Oil and gas is a thriving industry in the United States and it’s continuing to expand all around us.

“The three states, we’re now, if you consider us an actual state, would be one of the largest producers of hydrocarbons in the world,” said James Milleson of OHIOACRES4U, LLC. “We’ve got a group we work a lot with, Shale Crescents USA, that is promoting the Ohio Valley today in Washington, D.C. We think that in 60 to 70 years minimum, the oil and gas industry will be thriving here in the valley.”

They say our nation is in the driver’s seat when it comes to energy independence.

“A nation that is looking for alternative energy has found it right here in the valley,” said Milleson. “An endless supply of natural resources. We’ve been coal, we’ve been timber if you’ve gone far enough back but we’ve always been water and our environment and resources in the valley are second to none. I can’t say that enough.”

If you have any questions for the Ohio Valley Oil and Gas Association, you can visit their website.