Natural Gas-Drilling Related Businesses Are Popping Up

June 26, 2013

ST. CLAIRSVILLE - A small village of oil and natural gas-related businesses is springing up along National Road in St. Clairsville at the former Green Barn and Jack's Floral and Garden Center site.

From a business selling supplies for field workers to a company looking to invest in mineral rights, property owner Greg Malik said Ohio's burgeoning Utica Shale rush is leading to new business development in the area.

"Without the oil and gas industry, we would have a very difficult time filling these," Malik said of his properties. "We even have one building rented by pipeliners who are working in the area."

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In opening her Oil & Gas Safety Supply store last week inside the former 3,000 square foot Green Barn, owner Amy Savage said she made contact with Malik about renting the space during the Ohio Valley Regional Oil and Gas Expo earlier this year.

"I am originally from Michigan, but I moved to Washington, (Pa.) while working in a safety role for a gas company," Savage said. "I couldn't find the supplies I needed, so I decided to open my own store."

In addition to her St. Clairsville operation, Savage said she maintains her original store in Washington, Pa. She detects a "friendlier" atmosphere in Ohio.

"It is so exciting here. The people seem to be pro-drilling and pro-jobs," she said.

The Gulfport Stuntzman well south of Barnesville is one of the reasons drillers are so active in Belmont County. Gulfport's Shugert well also yielded as much as 28.5 million cubic feet of gas per day deep within the Egypt Valley area near Morristown.

Drillers and frackers looking for new helmets, jeans, boots, fire-resistant clothing or other safety equipment will find them at the store.

"Instead of just buying stuff over the Internet, why not come in here where you can touch it and feel it?" Savage said.

Employing 10 workers, Savage said her store will be open every day of the week to accommodate workers' needs. She also wants to begin carrying gear for coal miners because she knows this equipment can be hard to find.

Another business on the lot is American Well Service, for which Savage serves as a co-owner. She said this business performs work at well drilling sites, including placing liners to prevent pollutants from seeping into the ground.

Also on-site is Flatiron Energy Partners, a firm looking to partner with mineral owners by purchasing a percentage of their mineral interests.

"If you keep all of your mineral rights, you are playing a betting game," said Nicholas Nixon, a land associate with Flatiron. "We are offering cash up front, plus a way to mitigate your risk."

Kelchner Energy Services also is located west of St. Clairsville. Some of the services this company provides include excavation, site development, well pad and water impoundment construction, soil stabilization, full-depth reclamation, road construction and maintenance, utility and pipeline construction and roustabout services.

Malik said he sees further growth in the Belmont County area.



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