BY AMY WOLD
Advocate staff writer
The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association has spearheaded the creation of a new website that it hopes will educate people about the industry and will continue to grow to include more of the petrochemical industry in Louisiana.
“The oil and gas and petrochemical industry in Louisiana have a great story to tell,” said Chris John, president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.
The website will be a place to help showcase the economic benefits the industries bring to the state and its residents, he said, “the positive of our industry: what we do; what we don’t do.”
In addition, the website will be a way to respond to criticisms from environmental groups in a more centralized way, he said.
EntergizeLA.com launched a couple weeks ago and highlights some basic “101” information about the refining industry, but has a particular emphasis on economics.
Although each industry association has a website, as do individual companies, LMOGA wanted to collect that information for easier use “to have a one-stop shop of our industry,” he said.
The website has been in the works for some time. Although it started out as a project of LMOGA, John said the goal is to get other associations like the Louisiana Chemical Association on board as well.
Pulling together more specific information about the economics of the industry into one place is the main reason for the website, he said.
“That’s the story we have to use to get people interested in the oil and gas industry,” he said. “I think it’s important to comment on the business side of this.”
As the website grows in content and in membership, John said it’s possible that it could be an economic driver that helps entice more business to locate in Louisiana.
“It’s all connected to the economics of this industry,” John said. “It’s an educational tool, but it also can respond to any activist group.”
One environmental group in particular, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, was singled out in several posts on the website having to do with information included in a National Public Radio segment about an inspection document having to deal with ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge.
“The Louisiana Bucket Brigade got information that was very timely,” John said. “They got it months before we received it.”
Louisiana Bucket Brigade, in turn, has responded on its website to the accusations made on the EntergizeLA.com site.
“It does seem to be definitely directed at us,” said Anna Hrybyk, program manager with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “I think we take that as a compliment, that they’re paying attention to the work we do.”
However, John insisted that the website is not directed at any one group in particular, and that the overall reason for the site is to educate people about the economic importance of the oil and gas industry to the state.