Historically Speaking


Laying a pipeline.

Oil and Gas Industry – Part 2

Last week, we ended our article with the second oil and gas boom in Doddridge County.  This week, I’d like to give a brief history of a few companies that most of us are very familiar with; some opinions might be good, while others might not.  I have no plans to get into the middle of that debate.  So, let us find out a little more about Carnegie Gas Company, EQT, Hope Gas Company, Key Oil Company, and Antero Resources Corporation.

Before we go further, it’s worth noting that according to Marcellus Drilling News, in 2018, Doddridge County was number one in WV natural gas production and will remain the epicenter of the oil and gas industry for years to come.  Additionally, WV is ranked fourth in the nation in natural gas production.  The oil and gas industry continues to thrive despite the ever-changing winds of politics.  

I want to begin with the former gas company, Carnegie Gas Company.  

Carnegie Natural Gas Company was incorporated on May 10, 1899, and headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.  Its first president was Arthur G. Cantrell. It supplied heating to 9,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in PA and WV.

It was active during the early 1900s through the 1930s, and into recent years, drilling wells and laying pipelines as far south as Logan County and north into PA.  Carnegie provided well-paying jobs for many families during its period of operation.

USX-Marathon Group of Pittsburgh sold 100% of the stock of Carnegie Natural Gas Co. and affiliated subsidiaries of USX Corp. to Equitable Resources.  The most obvious change for this area’s citizens was the Carnegie Station closing at Toll Gate.  It had been a part of Toll Gate for so many years.  Perkins Supply, the wholesaler of industrial & oil & gas equipment, now operates from that site.   Regrettably, I found little history available on the Carnegie Gas Company.

Key Oil Company was incorporated in 1993 as a domestic profit company.  Headquartered in Weston, WV, its president and owner is Doddridge County native, Jan E Chapman.  

In the beginning, Chapman was an employee of Key Oil Company, working as a well tender, landman, etc.  He was their first full-time employee, to be exact, in 1978.  

In 1992, Jan Chapman purchased Key Oil Company, acquired the drilling acreage, raised the capital, and drilled 812 additional wells, totaling 935 operated by the company in the WV counties of Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, and Wood.  The company has 13 employees, some of whom have been employed there since the beginning. 

The greatest compliment a man in the oil business can be given is the trust that develops between himself and the property owners upon whose land he plans to drill.  

That compliment came when an old Doddridge County farmer told a landman from another energy company, “There is only one man in the oil industry I know I can trust to do as he says he will do: Jan Chapman of Key Oil.  If he tells you something, you can take it to the bank.”  

Perhaps there is no greater legacy to leave your children than your untarnished name… Enough said.

Equitable Gas Company was incorporated as a subsidiary of Philadelphia Company in 1888 after Michael and Obediah Haymaker struck gas outside of Pittsburgh, PA, four years earlier in 1884. 

In 1950, the company separated from the Philadelphia Company and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.   

Equitable Gas Company changed its corporate name to Equitable Resources, Inc. in 1984. The company offered the first fixed-bill energy contract in the U.S. in 1995. This is a contract in which the price a customer pays for energy is fixed, regardless of the actual cost during the contract’s life.   

Equitable Resources made several acquisitions in the late 1990s, which included Northeast Energy Services Co. (NORESCO) for $77 million in 1997, and several offshore oil and gas fields from Chevron Corp. for $80.6 million.  In 2000, the company acquired Appalachian wells and reserves from Statoil.  In February 2009, the company changed its name to EQT Corporation.  EQT opened one of the first compressed natural gas fueling stations in the Strip District of Pittsburg in 2011.  

EQT sold its natural gas distribution business in 2013 to Peoples Natural Gas for $740 million.  In 2017, EQT acquired Rice Energy.  EQT spun off its pipeline division, Equitrans Midstream, in 2018.  

EQT acquired Chevron’s Appalachian assets in October 2020 for $735 million, followed by Marcellus shale assets in Oklahoma from Alta Resources Development in May 2021 for $2.9 billion.  In 2022, at the cost of $5.2 billion, the Marcellus shale holdings of THQ Appalachia I LLC were purchased and included XCL Midstream, which owned 95 miles of pipeline. 

In October 2022, EQT acquired Billtrust, formerly BTRS Holdings Inc., which offers cloud services that B2B enterprises use to handle customer payments. 

Hope Gas in West Virginia has a long history, dating back to 1898 when Hope Natural Gas Company was incorporated.  It was also the beginning of the natural gas industry. Its history is closely woven into the history of Doddridge County and the surrounding counties.  

In 1899, Hope purchased 11 wells, leaseholds, and associated field lines in Wetzel County.  Three years later, it opened its first field office.

In 1913, Hope built the first commercially available process to extract natural gasoline from natural gas, an oil absorption plant.  

During the height of the depression, Hope Gas continued to hold its annual company picnic for its employees.  

By 1937, Hope Gas had managed to develop its own underground gas storage field in Bridgeport, and by 1947, Hope Gas had become Hope Natural Gas Company.

In 1965, Hope Natural Gas merged with New York State Natural Gas to form Consolidated Gas Supply Corporation and retained the name Hope Natural Gas to identify the distribution division.

By 1979, the Consolidated Gas Supply Corps storage system had obtained 27 fields and contained more than 800 billion cubic feet of gas.  It was the largest gas storage system in the world.

Consolidated Gas was reorganized in 1980, and as a result, Consolidated Gas Transmission Corporation was created.  Changes occurred in 1983 when Dominion Resources, Inc. was formed as a holding company.  1984 – changes name to Hope Gas Inc and is under WV PSC; 1987 – Consolidated Gas Transmission Corp. changes its name to CNG Transmission Corp. 2000 – Dominion Resources, Inc. merged with Consolidated Natural Gas Co. and becomes a fully integrated energy company.  2020 – Marked the 75th year for the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation.  2022 – Hope Gas Inc. dba (doing business as) Dominion Energy West Virginia was purchased by Hearthstone Company and renamed Hope Gas.  Headquartered in Morgantown, its Operational Hub is in Jane Lew.

Before I tell you what I learned about Antero Resources Corp., I must ask… Did you know that there is a mountain in Colorado bearing the name Antero? No. It was not named for Antero Resources Corporation.  Could it be that Antero Resources Corp. was named for the mountain? It is believed that Mt. Antero was named in honor of the highly respected Chief Antero of the Uintah band of the Ute Indians, who advocated for peace between Native Americans and the white settlers.   

At an elevation of 14,275 feet above sea level, it is the highest summit of the southern Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America.  Mount Antero is prized for its gemstone deposits and has one of the highest concentrations of aquamarine in the country. Several active private mining claims are located on Mount Antero and surrounding peaks.

Now back to Antero Resources Corporation, “Antero,” as the company is known locally, is an independent American oil and natural gas company that explores, develops, and produces natural gas, NGLs, and oil properties in the Appalachian Basin.  (A basin covering 185,500 square miles and includes NY, PA, OH, and parts of MD, TN, KY, WV, AL, and GA.)

The formerly known as Antero Resources Appalachian Corporation, now known as, Antero Resources, was formed in 2002 by Paul M Rady & Glen C Warren, Jr., following the sale of their success with Pennaco Energy to Marathon Oil.  

In 2003, Warburg Pincus (a Private partnership company) invested over $1.5 billion into Antero Resources Corporation and held a controlling stake at one time.

In 2013, Antero Resources became a public company, which raised $1.5 billion. 

In 2014, the company spun off 30% of its midstream operations, Antero Midstream Partners LP, via an initial public offering. 

2016, the company acquired assets in the Marcellus Shale from Statoil for $96 million, and a year later acquired assets in the Utica Shale from Rex Energy for $30 million.  That same year they began drilling in Doddridge County, using the methodology known as “horizontal drilling,” involving drilling a well vertically to a certain depth and then bending the path of the drilling until it extends horizontally. 

Diagram of horizontal drilling

Antero could drill horizontal wells from the surface, reaching depths of 5000–8000 ft., and then drill a horizontal lateral of 5000–10,000 ft. for gas production. With horizontal drilling came the need for hydrofracking, a process where a mixture of pressurized water, sand, and chemicals are pumped into the formation creating tiny fissures (narrow cracks) in targeted areas of the source rock, allowing oil and natural gas to escape and flow through piping up to the surface. 

Recent reports show that Antero has more than 3,500 employees and contact personnel working in the region.  Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Antero’s success is attributed to multiple things, including maintaining a large portfolio of repeatable, low-cost, liquids-rich drilling opportunities in two premier North American shale plays, the Marcellus and the Utica shales.  Others say it is also their ability to seek out and hire highly qualified leaders, the best-suited talent for office personnel, field employees, compressor operators, roamers, and many other employees critical to their operation.   

I learned that this company has an unusual working relationship with its employees…  They give respect to their workers and expect that respect to be returned.  What a concept…  Perhaps this attitude contributes to Antero Resources Corporation’s undeniable success as well.  This combination has won them the title “Most integrated NGL and natural gas business in the nation.

Today Antero holds over 612,000 net acres in two of the lowest-cost natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) basins in North America: of which 451,000 net acres are in the Marcellus Shale, the largest and most prolific natural gas reservoir in the USA, and 91,000 net acres in the Utica Shale, which is a reservoir covering a broad area primarily in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 2021, the company operated over 1,000 horizontal wells and held 1,550 undeveloped core drilling locations.  According to the WV DEP Oil and Gas website, Antero has received 916 permits to drill in Doddridge County and has drilled over 6,914 wells. 

In closing, it cannot be argued that the energy industry has had both negative and positive impacts on citizens and the environment.  Opinions vary according to with whom you speak.  But it cannot be denied that the energy industry’s revival has made many royalty owners in Doddridge County very wealthy who would never have been otherwise.  It has also provided great job opportunities for the breadwinners of many of the county’s families. It has made it possible for our school system to be ranked one of the best in the state.  Doddridge County has one of the state’s finest athletic fields and facilities.   Infrastructure is being upgraded, benefiting nearly all our citizens. Our county park is becoming second to none.  

I’ll leave you to decide for yourself… Is the cost too high?  Are the benefits worth it?  What will history have to say about this period in our lives?  The fact remains that Doddridge County is in the middle of another energy boom.  What we do with it and how we deal with it will dictate its impact on all of us. 

God Bless

Patricia Richards Harris

D. C. Historical Society