I must be honest; I don’t know much about the oil and gas industry. So, my visit to the MPLX, Mobley plant on North Fork, was a real eye opener!
We started the morning with an overview of the company and their footprint in the area. All I can say is, it’s impressive! What was even more impressive is the care and commitment to the community and the environment given by the workers and company.
I get that there are some locals who think of oil and gas companies as outsiders who don’t care about the communities that they inhabit. What I learned today is how largely false that perspective is. I learned that once staff was trained (training is needed for any new industry coming into an area) the plant was turned over to locals. Locals who are just as concerned as any of us about preserving the quality of life in our naturally beautiful state. I found that so reassuring!
It is incredibly important that there are individuals who know our community, love it, and have ties to it. Tina Rush, Local Government Affairs Representative (and our Chamber President) is one such person. Tina is a hometown girl! While living out of state for a number of years, she returned home and started a career with Mark West, now MPLX. Tina is a steward for our community and is committed to preserving what we love best about it.
Another extraordinarily knowledgeable individual who we met today is Stephen Ruefner, Operations Specialist for the Mobley plant. Stephen is also a local (River High School grad) and a former teacher. He started with the company ten years ago and has really seen it grow. Safety and good stewardship are his focus, and it shows in his level of expertise about the most nuanced aspects of the plant’s operations.
We also had the opportunity to meet with two operators who monitor enough computer screens that they would make NASA take a beat! While working twelve-hour shifts, they operate like a well-oiled machine and are in constant communication with each other as well as companies that have installations on the facility. BTW, did I mentioned that I was impressed? Yeah, really impressed!
I learned a lot during my tour and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to visit. It changed my limited perspective on what the industry brings to our communities and to our country.
I get what some of you may be thinking, oil and gas may not be renewable resources. Perhaps the life expectancy will last for the next 50 years or so. Maybe that’s true. However, what they do provide in the here and now are critically needed jobs, support for needed improvements to our communities, and time. Time to explore other resources that hopefully will sustain our planet for generations to come.
To give you an idea of what the O&G industry currently provide: