Bright Spotlight

THE OIL and natural gas business is beginning to boom in our region with the promise of even brighter days in the offing.

The industry is pumping jobs, money and hope in the Ohio Valley. The oil and gas rush could not have come at a better time as the steel industry is on life support and coal is not the king it used to be.

With that said, the fifth annual DUG East conference will be staged in Pittsburgh this fall. It is slated for the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The confab is global in scope, as it draws hundreds of oil and gas officials from all over the world, including representatives of countless energy companies. The 2012 DUG East attracted more than 3,200 attendees and 315 exhibitors.

It is a big-time event. This year it will also feature a big-time speaker.

President George W. Bush will serve as the keynote speaker for the Nov. 13-15 gathering. He will obviously bring a much brighter spotlight to the conference. This is not his first foray at the DUG confab. In 2011, he addressed more than 2,500 DUG conference attendees in Fort Worth.

The DUG conference will provide detailed exploration and drilling activity updates, technology exhibits and peer-to-peer networking for those doing business in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions. It focuses on the growth producers, service companies and local economies are experiencing from developing unconventional oil and gas resources.

The meeting of the oil and natural gas minds can only fuel future development in the industry.

The event is one that does meet with some opposition, that coming from anti-fracking and clean-air protesters. While those concerns may have some grounds for legitimacy, there is no denying the financial gains realized by the burgeoning business.

Bringing in President Bush to speak reinforces the role oil and natural gas have in our future.