Appalachian Basin

Ohioians Look for the Inside Track in Shale Development at Supply Chain Conference

On Wednesday the Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environment (CE3) at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs hosted a supply chain conference at the Prichard Laughlin Center in Cambridge, Ohio.  In attendance were over 550 interested business and community members eager to learn more about servicing companies related to shale development here in Ohio.  More than 20 speakers offered firsthand experience in working as part of the supply chain.

The event kicked off with a keynote by Michael Levett, Senior Director Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for CDC Development Solutions.  Mr. Levett has been instrumental in developing supply chains for the oil and natural gas industry from Texas to Iraq.  It should also be noted that Mr. Levett worked on Star Wars as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark which in itself deserves praise.

Mr. Levett enlightened the crowd with stories of developing supply chains through out the world.  The one thing that is common amongst them all is that they all started out exactly as Ohio is now.  Trying to figure out how to get our businesses to be the ones benefiting?  Mr. Levett shared a story out of Port Arthur Texas on how it was done successfully.  Energy In Depth Ohio had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Levett to discuss the Port Arthur experience. Clearly, the force is strong with this one:

And of those stories was about an effort that Shell and Bectel among others made in Port Arthur, Texas to maximize local content of its contracts and subcontracts.  And it did it by forming a very broad coalition with all of the industry players, with universities, with the labor unions to maximize the opportunities with the 8 surrounding counties of Port Arthur as they built out and rebuilt this large plant.  By including the gathering of all of the information of possible suppliers and of training the companies, not just training the employees but training the contractors so that they could qualify to compete and then they could compete and win. – Michael Levett

With this event, Ohio is trying to duplicate the Port Arthur model by starting the supply chain development early.  Scott Miller, Director of CE3, helped put together the supply chain meeting  to educate the attendees and introduce a supply chain database for Ohio based companies.  The database is being created with the help of a grant from the USDA Office of Rural Development.  The database will  help facilitate a network between industry and local businesses in order to create a regional based supply chain clearing house.

The idea being that procurement officers go into the database and search for specific types of companies.  So if they are looking for a fabrication company, looking for a welding company, whatever.  They can say we are looking for a fabricator in this spot. How many of these companies of within a 10 mile or 20 mile or a 100 mile radius.  It’s a unique technological fix using the power of the internet and our online mapping tools to pull all of that information together and shorten the time for Ohio based businesses to get in the supply chain and take advantage of this opportunity. -Scott Miller

But you can’t create a supply chain without Ohio companies understanding the process of doing business with the oil and natural gas industry.  It is true they are demanding and what they need has to be there yesterday.  The work is hard and runs on a 24 hour schedule but if you have the drive, it is worth it to many businesses.  Fred Badertscher, owner of Buckeye Water Services, gave the audience a dose of reality when discussing working with the industry.

They appreciate 24 hour service, they really do and 7 days a week.  You don’t know when they are going to call or what they are going to call you for.  If you can’t get it, try to think of someone real quick that you can call to bail you out or help you and they appreciate that. – Fred Badertscher

Ohio is at the beginning of its next phase of greatness thanks to Utica shale development.  You could see the anticipation with the crowd in attendance. As many know this is not just focused in Cambridge, Ohio but all over the state.  Jason Wilson, Director for the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, represents the 32 counties of Appalachia and sees first hand the importance of shale development in our region.

Really what we’ve been seeing in the past year, at least, is a great excitement, not only in the business community but in the farming community, the small business community and the manufacturing community through out Ohio.  It has been the shot in the arm if you will that we’ve needed in Ohio’s industrial base and certainly its economy. – Jason Wilson

The crowd was receptive to the information being presented.  With topics ranging from procurement to impacts on the local level, the crowd enjoyed learning what is needed for expanding development and was eager to take in all the information they could from the presenters.  Combine the knowledge attained from the conference and the development of a supply chain database, Ohio is moving in the right direction to take the full advantage of what Utica shale development has to offer.

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