WELLSVILLE - Another piece of the river valley's energy production future fell into place this week when Anchor Drilling Fluids USA Inc. announced the opening of a new production and storage facility at the Wellsville Intermodal Industrial Park.
The Oklahoma-based company announced Monday that the 12,000 square-foot, $2 million facility will be the first permanent drilling fluids operation in Ohio. It is strategically located adjacent to the existing Cimbar Performance Minerals facility at the Intermodal Park, where the barite used in Anchor's drilling fluid is processed.
The facility went online Oct. 31 and employs 15 people on-site with plans for the addition of another 20 to 30 field employees.
"After extensive groundwork with local and state officials and significant capital investment, we are proud to be operational and serving our industry's customers, hiring Ohio residents and contributing to state and local tax revenues," Anchor Drilling CEO Bob West said.
Columbiana County Port Authority CEO Tracy Drake said the new facility is a culmination of efforts dating back to the 1990s to bring more business to the region through ventures such as investment in the Wellsville Intermodal Park.
"It's good to see that planning pays off," he said.
Anchor was referred to the Port Authority by Cimbar Performance Minerals during negotiations with the company. "We looked at what they needed to do, put together a game plan," Drake said. "This is the result of those efforts."
Drake anticipates Anchor Drilling's investment to be truly long-term, citing estimates of local oil and gas extraction to be a 30- to 50-year industry locally. That point was echoed by Anchor Drilling President Phil West, who noted that the Utica Formation has an estimated 940 million barrels of oil and 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.
"Development of this U.S. energy resource will significantly contribute to long-term economic growth and job creation in Ohio and the region," West said.
Richard Sberna is a reporter for The (East Liverpool) Review.