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Head of EQT Corp. to speak at UC energy series Thursday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The University of Charleston will host the third speaker in its five-part series -- "Energy: Who's Got the Power?" -- on Thursday evening.

David Porges, chairman, president and CEO of the EQT Corp. -- a Pittsburgh-based energy company -- will speak, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Erma Byrd Gallery in Riggleman Hall.

Porges plans to focus on the role Marcellus Shale, and the natural gas industry as a whole, can play in supplying the nation's energy needs.

Porges is credited with helping transform EQT from a regional utility into the largest natural gas producer in the Appalachian Basin after he joined the company in 1998 as its chief financial officer.

Marcellus Shale has already sparked heated debates across the state.

The Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation, a coalition of construction labor unions, has criticized Marcellus producers, such as Dominion Resources, for importing too many workers from other states, like Texas and Louisiana, especially workers who are hired by independent contractors to do construction work for major gas producers.

Dominion officials say 80 percent of all employees working directly for the company's West Virginia facilities are local residents.

Local and state citizens and environmental groups have also criticized Marcellus Shale drilling for posing dangers to creeks and water sources. The companies typically use chemically laden water used to release gas, through hydrofracking, from shale reserves typically located between 6,000 feet and 8,000 feet underground.

Last April, Democrats on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in Washington, D.C., released a report showing that millions of gallons of fluids used in hydrofracking contained 29 chemicals that could be possible carcinogens.

Marcellus Shale companies typically refuse to identify the chemicals they use during deep underground drilling.

Porges was promoted to executive vice president of EQT in 2000, to president and chief operating officer in 2007, and to CEO in 2010.

Before joining EQT, Porges worked for the Exxon Corp. in various managerial positions for seven years, and for the Bankers Trust Corp., working on mergers and acquisitions related to the energy industry, for another 11 years.

Porges holds an MBA from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and management sciences from Northwestern University.

He serves on the board of directors of the American Natural Gas Alliance and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America.

The two remaining programs in the UC series will feature:

• Kevin Crutchfield, CEO of Alpha Natural Resources -- one of the nation's largest coal producers -- on March 27.

• Barry Worthington, executive director of the U.S. Energy Association, on April 12.

The UC Speaker Series is sponsored by the Dow Chemical Foundation. All programs in the series are free and open to the public.

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.


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