CANFIELD, OH: BP America has hired Pecchia Communications for local PR support for its proposed Utica and Point Pleasant shale project in northeast Ohio.
The firm is helping the energy company target landowners, community leaders, and local media through traditional outreach and events such as town hall meetings.
BP interviewed several Ohio firms but chose Pecchia for its local expertise in Trumbull County, said Curtis Thomas, director of BP's government and public affairs department in Ohio.
“It's very important when we come into an area that we try to use the existing knowledge base,” he said. “We looked for a local firm that knew the area and people and could help us be boots on the ground.”
Thomas will relocate to Ohio to lead BP's communications efforts in the state. He previously worked in New Orleans on media relations during the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill response.
BP said in March that it had signed an agreement with the Associated Landowners of the Ohio Valley to lease 84,000 acres in the Utica/Point Pleasant shale formation for oil and gas production. Eastern Ohio is a hotspot for natural gas, and energy companies including Exxon Mobil and Chevron have rushed to acquire drilling rights there.
The response to BP's presence in Trumbull County has so far been positive, said Dan Pecchia, president of the eponymous firm. The agency began working with the oil and natural gas company in mid-May.
“The community is excited about the potential for a positive economic impact,” he said.