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Cathy Taylor
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More Than 200 Attend 1st Annual Illinois Basin Celebration

Courtesy of Seth Whitehead of the IPRB

More than 200 Illinois Basin oil exploration and production industry professionals attended the first annual Illinois Basin Celebration at the White County Fairgrounds’ Floral Hall in Carmi on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

The event was organized by the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board (IPRB) to recognize the efforts of the more than 4,000 Illinois Basin oil exploration and production industry professionals and featured a complimentary lunch and presentation by guest speaker Warren Martin of Kansas Strong. Free “Illinois Basin Proud” hats, T-shirts and bumper stickers were also handed out to attendees.

Martin’s presentation focused on the so-called “energy transition,” the essential need for petroleum now and in the future, and the importance of industry advocacy by those who work in the oil and gas industry.

The event also included an IPRB Petro Pros presentation to a group of Gallatin County High School seniors by industry volunteers Mike Payne of Shawnee Oil Company, Ross Basnett of Campbell Energy, Travis Thompson of Travis Thompson Oil Corp. and IPRB executive director Seth Whitehead. Campbell Energy, Franklin Well Services and Jacam Catalyst also displayed various oilfield equipment for the Petro Pros volunteers to show the students.

Local companies provided oil exploration and production industry career information for attendees and the general public. There is currently high demand for almost all of the 75-plus oil exploration and production industry careers, with particularly high demand for truck drivers, electricians, plumbers, welders, roustabouts and various rig and well servicing crew members.

Most of the 200-plus attendees were able to stick around after lunch to pose for the above group photo. Illinois State Sen. Terri Bryant (R-58th District) and State Rep. Dave Severin (R-117th District) were also in attendance for the event and group photo.

Between 10-12 million barrels of oil is produced annually in the Illinois Basin, which includes southern Illinois, southwestern Indiana and western Kentucky.

Illinois oil production alone makes a $3 billion annual economic impact, generating $770 million in yearly personal and business income and $700 million in state and federal tax revenue. More than 30,000 Illinoisans receive royalty income from Illinois oil production, and active Illinois oil leases have generated an average of $7.46 million in local property tax revenue per year since 2007. More than half of that revenue has gone to fund schools near production.

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