Appalachian Basin

UPDATE: Wellsville Sees Expanding Investment, Expanding Opportunity Thanks to Shale Development

UPDATE (3/9/13 12:00 pm ET): The Wellsville Intermodal Park is continuing to be a success story in Columbiana County.  With only about 14 acres left in total, the facility is seeing an increase of work for companies who have set up shop.

Pier 48 Stevedoring LLC operates the 60-ton overhead river crane that came online last summer.  The company has unloaded steel coil from 18 barges filled to capacity and 36 barges loaded with material for Cimbar Performance Materials, which supplies barite to Anchor Drilling Fluids USA.  Anchor is seeing a huge increase in business, which then trickles down to supply and logistics companies.

According to the Youngstown Business Journal, Pier 48 is looking to moving hydraulic fracturing sand and steel pipe for drilling.  Pier 48 owner and president, Larry Heck, said he expects business grow tremendously for the company and the industry as Utica and Marcellus Shale activity increases.  He expects crane operations to continue to increase through the end of the year with two shifts six to seven days a week by the middle of the year.  They are also hoping to hire, bringing their number of employees from five to 20.  He emphasized he’d like to hire from areas benefitting from shale:

From the area, I try to gather people from all over. From Wellsville, itself, East Liverpool, Chester, Salineville. Just to localize it and try to build up employment for this area—Larry Heck (Wellsville Intermodal Park Ramps Up with Shale, 3/9/13)

The local chamber of commerce is looking to benefit from the increase in business as well.  Randy Allmon, president of the Wellsville Area Chamber of Commerce expressed his interest in spreading the benefits:

My goal is to get more spinoff from these businesses, especially on Main Stree. If we can get Main Street going, I think Wellsville will have a bright future—Randy Allmon (Wellsville Intermodal Park Ramps Up with Shale, 3/9/13)

As production increases, Wellsville Intermodal Park will be prepared to facilitate the oil and gas industry and benefit the community of Wellsville for years to come.

–Original post from November 24, 2013–

This week, the Youngstown Business Journal reported on the success the Wellsville Intermodal Park has enjoyed thanks to shale development in eastern Ohio.  The Columbiana County facility has been featured in Mahoning Valley media frequently in the past month as a result of expanded infrastructure, national attention, and new companies flocking to the versatile site.

The paper reported Columbiana County Port Authority CEO Tracy Drake as saying he and his board of directors were always confident in the potential of the intermodal park, even though it has been in development since the 1990s.  Although shale development is bringing the Wellsville site to life, it has always had great potential:

“Ohio is the eighth largest maritime state in the United States by tonnage, according to Drake. “The reason is because two-thirds of Ohio’s borders are navigable by waters,” he said. “You have the great lakes to the north and you have the Ohio River which comes all the way up here and all the way around the southern end of the state”—Shale Fuels Growth at Wellsville Intermodal Park 11/19/12

The location and potential has not gone unnoticed in the shale industry. Companies have made Wellsville their home from all over the nation.

I think it’s just an indication of how this industry, that is the oil shale industry, is going to change this region—Tracy Drake, CEO, Columbiana Port Authority (2:52)

Over the past few months, the park has welcomed new infrastructure, agreements, and companies to the facility – all due to expanding interest and development in the Utica Shale:


Cimbar Performance Materials of Georgia expanded its barite processing line with a $6.5 million investment and plan to hire 27 additional workers.


Arrowhead Utica Pipelines of Houston announced plans to build a $20 million-plus gas transfer-facility on 22 acres, creating somewhere between 30 and 50 jobs.  Additionally, Marathon Petroleum Co. committed $2.4 million to development of 3.6 acres for a holding area for trucking hauling wet natural gas from the Utica.


After ten years of development and more than 5$ million invested, the Intermodal Park was complete with the end of their crane project.  The Columbiana Port Authority received $5.7 million from the Federal Maritime Commission to complete the crane. The facility now boasted a 60-ton overhead river crane, bulk cargo handling, and access to railroad and highway.


Marathon announced in October that they will collaborate on a project with Harvest Pipeline Co based in Houston.  The project will result in up to 24,000 barrels per day of trucking unloading capacity and a terminal capable of loading up to 50,000 barrels per day onto barges on the Ohio River.  The project includes modifications to Marathon’s existing river terminal and a new truck rack on the property leased by Harvest Pipeline next to the Marathon facility.  Hilcorp Energy Co. announced a joint venture with NiSource Gas Transmission to build a major pipeline through northeastern Ohio.

I think this facility will be a staging point for the logistics and distribution of that project as well as possibly them building the pipeline back down here so they can bring the fluids out by barge to the refineries. Drake predicted—Shale Fuels Growth at Wellsville Intermodal Park 11/19/12


Anchor Drilling Fluids USA Inc. opened the doors to its 12,000 square-foot plant at the intermodal park.  The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company provides drilling fluids and complimentary energy services to the oil and gas industry. They are the largest independent drilling fluids provider in the country. The company put their plant next to Cimbar’s facility to utilize the barite for production of their product. The facility went online October 31and employs 15 people on site with plans to hire an additional 20 to 30 field employees.

With so many companies showing interest in the Intermodal Park, the last few acres available will surely go fast.  The facility sits right atop of our state’s vast geological resources, creating more opportunities for the region.  While the park’s developers and area’s residents may not have predicted the positive impacts the Utica Shale would bring, there is no doubt the men and women who have found new job opportunities are thankful for their foresight to build the facility, and open the doors to a burgeoning industry.

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