Governor Touts Shale and Energy Security in Harrison County
This week Utica East Ohio (UEO), a joint venture between Access Midstream, M3 and EV Energy Partners, hosted a very special valve turning ceremony at the Scio fractionation plant with special guest Governor John Kasich. The $900 million project began construction last year, with the first of three processing trains up and running in less than 10 months. Now that Ohio’s largest fully integrated gathering, processing and fractionation complex is accepting gas, Utica East Ohio invited stakeholders and local officials to commemorate the occasion.
The UEO system will service wells in Columbiana, Carroll and Harrison counties. The project has been under construction for almost a year, going from hilly farmland to an impressive 600 acre natural gas processing and rail complex. At its peak construction period in May-June 2013, more than 2,000 skilled workers were employed at the facilities. Today, the current workforce remains at 900 people as they continue to build out the complex.
Currently, the two facilities that make up UEO employ a full time staff of 50 people as well as 13 individuals assigned to rail operations. As the facilities grow, those numbers will more than double: the Utica East Ohio system will employ 115 people, with 30 employees dedicated to rail.
To make this project come together in 11 months, UEO utilized many Ohio companies. During the ceremony, Frank D. Tsuru, president of M3 Midstream, praised the companies for making this project come together.
“We’re proud of the role local businesses and local workers are playing in these facilities. SPSI, a company located in Hartsville, is completing all of the piping work here at the Harrison facility. Wagner Industrial from Dayton is responsible for all of the electrical work at this plant. And ES Wagner from Toledo is doing all of the site preparation and earthmoving work both here and at our Kensington plant. Viking Steel, a company in Marietta, is building all of the structural steel at Kensington plant north along with Minerva welding and fabrication.”
Not only is UEO committed to using Ohio Companies build the complex but they are committed to using Ohio workers at their facilities.
“What we’re most proud of is that we’ve hired many Ohioans for permanent jobs. Currently we have 80 employees, permanent employees at this site or at Kensington. Over 60% of our permanent workforce has come from this area and 5 just from our little hamlet here in Scio. We’re very cognizant of hiring long term jobs. And these jobs are not for 5 years or 3 years. They’re 50 years. I don’t know if they won’t to work for 50 years but the jobs will be here.”
That is great news for area residents hoping for a steady employment. Governor Kasich was extremely pleased to know Ohioans are continuing to find employment in the oil and gas industry.
“First of all, I really want to thank you for making hiring Ohioans a priority. This is something we were concerned about from the beginning. And ladies and gentleman, we have been talking to them about the need to make sure that our education system, particularly our high education system, but not just that with Lou and Andy here, even our vocational schools need to get a connection with you. Because what I am optimistic about is that this industry is not going to be here a couple years, but that this industry could be here 50 years or perhaps even longer.”
Thankfully our schools are up to the task of training our residents. With programs already vetted by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, we are on the right track to make the most of all the Utica Shale has to offer.
Continuing with his optimism, Governor Kasich touted the fact that Ohio’s oil and gas industry is providing jobs for our region and will be the impetus for more downstream jobs in the future as well as helping provide America with energy security.
“You know the final thing to say is, isn’t great that American is getting itself into a place where, for the first time, we can become energy independent and we don’t have to rely on other people or fight wars based on any sense on oil. We can stand alone and we can stand strong. That is why our best days are ahead.”
The folks of eastern Ohio couldn’t agree more. Thanks to Utica Shale development, we are seeing the types of jobs and investment that many of us thought were gone for good. As we continue to develop our resources and projects like the Utica East Ohio come online, it is definitely true that our best days are ahead.