Matheson Valley Benefitting From Utica Shale
Matheson Tri-Gas Inc. (dba Matheson Valley), an establishment that has been in the Ohio Valley for over 85 years, has seen a lot of customers throughout its long history. The company has serviced the steel industry, power plants, chemical plants, welding and fabrication shops, hospitals and other businesses throughout the area. Now, thanks to increased shale development in the region, Matheson Valley is now servicing a new industry that has helped keep the company pretty busy over the past couple of years and will for many years to come.
During the steel mill heydays, Matheson Valley serviced a lot of the welding equipment and supplied much of the welding gas to the industry. There was no shortage of work, as many of you might know, because the Ohio Valley was the epicenter of the steel industry. As the steel industry began to slow down in the 80s and 90s, however, Matheson Valley began to diversify. They began to focus more on supplying both residential and industrial propane, as well as medical gases to hospitals in the area. They also focused on in-house welder repairs and safety supplies for the welding industry, a trade that was indeed very important for families in the valley.
A couple of years ago, customers from the oil and gas industry — needing equipment repair, welding supplies, and cylinder gases — started coming to Matheson Valley. Since that time, the Utica Shale has continued to grow, which in turn has increased business for the company. Pipeliners have found a one-stop shop for buying supplies, gases, and safety gear, while also dropping off their welding equipment to be repaired.
People working on the rigs and pipelines aren’t the only people the company is supplying, either. Matheson Valley is also working with a lot of the contractors for the processing plants that are being built throughout the region, and they also supply a lot of the fabrication shops that have been tapped to construct some of the specialty steel work for the plants. It is estimated that over $7 billion will be spent on pipeline infrastructure and processing plants in eastern Ohio, meaning there will be no shortage of work for some time.
Bob Boring, Outside Sales Representative for Matheson Valley, does a lot of the business in the Utica development region. It has been very exciting for him to be back on the road and having a chance to watch development pick up throughout the valley while putting people back to work.
“I started my career in the welding supply business in the early 80’s and supplied many of the steel mills in our region when they were going strong and employed many workers and also experienced the decline of the steel making business. Many of the people that I met throughout the years at the steel mills lost their jobs. In my recent travels to some of the new oil and gas processing plants I met some of people that lost their jobs at the steel mills and now have found gainful employment in the new oil and gas industry. It is very encouraging to see local people working again.” –Bob Boring, Outside Sales Representative, Matheson Valley
In addition to the work for the pipeline and processing plants, Matheson Valley has now begun to host pipe welding forums in an effort to give back to the local community. The forums are a chance to bring in local trades and companies to learn about the latest welding equipment and safety gear for industry, as well as to provide an opportunity for workers in the industry to show some of the techniques they are using out in the field to students and local welders.
Thanks to Utica Shale development, there has been a new found interest in the welding trade, and local companies like Matheson Valley are a perfect example of how that increase in demand is benefitting our state. More and more students are now seeing welding in the oil and gas field as a perfect opportunity for them to utilize their talents, all while staying close to home and providing for their families.
“I have the privilege to serve as a member on welding advisory committees for some of the local vocational trade schools and high schools. They are working very hard to develop curriculum to train pipe welders for the new oil and gas industries being developed in our area. It is very enlightening to see that the students can develop their welding skills to weld pipe locally and be able to develop a career in welding close to home.” — Bob Boring, Outside Sales Representative, Matheson Valley
Matheson Valley has substantially grown over the past few years, but not because they are the only game in town. It is because they adjust to the market to make sure they always have the inventory for their customers and maintain their dedication to safety, which not only shows in their warehouse, but also in their operations: The company has been accident free for over 375 days, a precedent they do not take lightly.
While business is going great for Matheson Valley, they know the only reason they are in this position is because of the long history of dedicated customers they have serviced over the years in both the residential and industrial sector. For this reason, you are not going to see the company become a sole distributor to the oil and gas industry. Making sure they can keep a perfect balance of old customers and new customers will ensure Matheson Valley will continue to be a leader of the welding industry for the next 85 years. Of course, the fact that shale development promises to be a long-term component of our economy doesn’t hurt, either!