Ohio will devote time and effort to take part in the Marcellus Shale drilling boom, Gov.-elect John Kasich said last week.

The former Republican congressman spoke Thursday to reporters to announce his picks to lead two state agencies. Kasich is slated to take office on Sunday (Jan. 10).

“If we can get that Marcellus Shale and if it can yield a significant amount of gas…oh, it will be a godsend for our state,” Kasich said. “But you’ve got to drill before you know.” The incoming governor said the oil and gas play offered “real potential…to help a lot of people who have been in deep economic trouble for a long time…

“If there in fact is gas, it will be cheap. Businesses, most likely, who are looking for energy sources may want to locate there — that’s not directly related to drilling, but it’s the offshoot of it.”

Kasich said he was hoping Ohio officials could work with their counterparts in Pennsylvania, where most of the Marcellus drilling now is centered.

“We need to be in a position of where we can develop technologies to help people to drill, take advantage of these deposits, so you have the ability to have small manufacturing companies start to crop up,” he said.

Kasich said he plans to meet with Chesapeake Energy Corp., which has “big plans here in the state of Ohio.” Chesapeake is one of the leading shale gas producers in the Pennsylvania portion of the Marcellus Shale.

Former business executive David Mustine was tapped by Kasich to lead the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Mustine, previously a senior vice president at Columbus, OH-based American Electric Power, has for the last two years directed an oil and gas service business based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Mustine also is an ordained minister.

“If we want to find Marcellus Shale, we’ll send [Mustine] over there and have him pray for discovery,” Kasich said jokingly.

The governor-elect also named Scott Nally to lead the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Nally has been an assistant commissioner with Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

“They send a message to the business community that Ohio is open for business,” Kasich said of Mustine’s and Nally’s appointments.

Kasich also suggested during the press conference that he may be open to the idea of drilling under state parkland. A 2009 state study concluded that drilling on state parkland could generate up to $5 million a year.

“We need to scour Ohio for natural resource opportunities we haven’t thought about that we need to be thinking about,” Kasich said. “My inclination is that when you have something that is very valuable you use it.”