WALNUT CREEK - While it's still early in the process, the man monitoring Ohio's oil and gas industry for JobsOhio says "it looks promising."
"A lot of good things have happened in the last 12 months, it looks promising," said David Mustine, general manager of energy, chemical and polymers for JobsOhio. "But we do know it's still early. We have 18 rigs in our state right now - by comparison, West Virginia has had about 20 for some time now. Pennsylvania is down some, but they're still over 100 ... the Bakken oil play in North Dakota, about 200 rigs. So we're still in the early stages of the companies trying to figure out how big it is, where there's wet gas, where the dry gas is, and is there enough pressure to produce oil. I don't know if this was a baseball game, if we'd be in the first inning or the second, but we're still in the early stages. We'll just have to keep praying, keep hoping that the companies will have great success and that we do our jobs and maximize benefits to Ohio."
Mustine, a featured speaker at the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance annual meeting recently in Walnut Creek, recounted some of the multi-million dollar investments the oil and gas industry already has made in the Buckeye State:
OFFERS A PROMISING OUTLOOK — David Mustine, general manager of energy, chemical and polymers for JobsOhio, and a featured speaker at the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance annual meeting recently in Walnut Creek, said while still in the early stages, the outlook is very promising for the oil and gas industry in the state. -- Contributed
Exterran Energy's $13.2 million fabrication plant in Youngstown will create 103 full-time jobs and generate $3.9 million in new payroll.
"It's a billion dollar a year company," Mustine said. "I think it's just the beginning for them, making oil field equipment."
Chesapeake Energy is partnering with M3 Midstream LLC (Momentum) and EV Energy Partners on a $900 million natural gas processing facility in Columbiana County.
MarkWest is spending $500 million on processing facilities in Southeastern Ohio.
"That's going to be 100-plus full-time jobs over time, plus 1,000 construction jobs as those projects get going," Mustine told government leaders from EOGA's 16 member counties. "We all know how important it is - if this wet gas isn't processed and fractionated, we won't have a strong play here. These companies want to get the high revenue that can come along with selling butane and ethane and propane."
Halliburton is breaking ground this week for a roughly $40 million investment in equipment and field service buildings in Zanesville. Mustine said the company eventually will employ 300 people.
"Chesapeake told me they've already hired nearly 300 people in this area," Mustine said. "NiSource has made a commitment to natural gas liquids (gathering) and processing in a plant that's going to be coming and BP made a $330 million investment in Trumbull County to extend the play further.
"I think there's going to be more. Companies...are looking to make commitments in our area."
Mustine said there've been some major gains in Ohio over the past year: Nearly 200 permits have been issued in the past year, and there are now 60 horizontal wells drilled in the Utica formation. Going forward, he said work force training will be key.
"We're not just looking at jobs related to drilling and production, we're also looking at the supply chain," he said. "We need to work with our Ohio companies, help them figure out what it takes to do business with this industry, how we can help them and is it the kind of industry they want to be in. The supply chain, that's going to be a priority. We'll be working with them, trying to get as many Ohio companies actively in the supply chain as possible."
He said a priority also must be to woo the chemical and polymer industries, "do everything we can to make sure these companies look to grow their business in Ohio, not on the Gulf Coast. We think they can be successful here."
Mustine said the state also is looking to persuade companies that use natural gas or natural gas products "to get them to expand their business to Ohio or get them to come to Ohio."
"We have to work together," he advised the EODA members.
"This is not a sprint ... it's a long race, and we need to help each other, make sure no one burns out. Everybody's important. We need to be diligent in what we're doing, and we need to persevere. We're building an industry that many of us believe can last for decades. That's the reason we're looking at the supply chain, because if we do it right ... these companies could be doing business not just in Ohio Utica, but around the U.S. and perhaps even around the globe. There's an awful lot at stake."