THE OHIO Valley Oil and Gas Association staged Boomtown Panel 2.0 this week in Wheeling.

The session held at The White Palace reaffirmed what we are learning very quickly: The gas and oil industry is bringing prosperity into the Ohio Valley.

Officials from several companies detailed how their businesses have felt the positive impact of gas and oil.

One of those feel-good stories came from Eagle Manufacturing. The Wellsburg-based company is adding 25 new employees to assist with a new spill containment system for oil and gas drilling rig sites.

Rice Energy, meanwhile, has offices in St. Clairsville. It has become a major player in Belmont County. The company has leased enough mineral acres in the Utica shale to build 200 well pads.

Rice Energy has spent $300 million in leasing fees and recently delivered a $3 million check to Belmont County commissioners.

Officials from both Eagle and Rice agree: The drilling boom is here to stay. A shelf-life of up to 50 years is forecast for the oil and gas industry.

Eagle and Rice are just two of the countless success stories playing out throughout the region. Moreover, while oil- and gas-related companies are thriving, so are auxiliary businesses, as oil and gas have far-reaching lucrative tentacles.

The Boomtown event was a good thing as it brought together oil and gas industry representatives, vendors and prospective vendors to network and discuss how the shale boom is impacting the region.

Much of the rhetoric offered up at Boomtown, however, is a message we have heard previously. That being, oil and gas is massive economic shot-in-the-arm for the Ohio Valley and it is only to get better for many years to come.