YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Those rep­re­sent­ing the build­ing trades and ener­gy inter­ests say the oil and gas indus­try is still mov­ing for­ward in the region, despite mar­ket down­turns over the past decade and chal­lenges brought on by the pandemic.

Over­all, we’ve been extreme­ly hap­py with the progress,” says Mar­tin Loney, pres­i­dent of the West­ern Reserve Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Trades Coun­cil. He is also the busi­ness agent for Plumbers and Pip­efit­ters Local 396.

It’s slowed down some,” he says. “But we expect it to get bet­ter with oil and gas prices going up.”


Oth­er major projects through­out the region over the last 10 years include the $150 mil­lion pro­cess­ing plant along State Line Road in Spring­field Town­ship in Mahon­ing Coun­ty that sep­a­rates dry gas, such as methane, from wet gas – ethane, butane and propane. An even larg­er cryo­genic plant – the Kens­ing­ton plant in south­ern Columbiana Coun­ty – was com­mis­sioned in 2013 and sends nat­ur­al-gas liq­uids to a frac­tion­a­tion plant in Har­ri­son County.

Val­lourec, a pipe and tube pro­duc­er that in 2010 con­struct­ed a $1 bil­lion seam­less mill in Youngstown, man­u­fac­tures pipe used in the oil and gas indus­try and is in need of work­ers. A sis­ter oper­a­tion VAM USA, opened a pipe-thread­ing mill in the city’s Ohio Works Park to sup­port pro­duc­tion at Vallourec.

We’re now get­ting all of our pipe cas­ing out of Vallourec’s Youngstown oper­a­tions,” says Jack­ie Stew­art, spokesman for Hous­ton-based Enci­no Acqui­si­tion Part­ners, which has an office in Can­ton. EAP acquired the remain­der of Chesa­peake Ener­gy Corp.’s posi­tion in the Uti­ca-Point Pleas­ant shale for­ma­tion in 2018 that includ­ed more than 900,000 lease­hold acres, most­ly in Car­roll, Har­ri­son and Jef­fer­son counties.

Stew­art says it takes thou­sands of con­trac­tors to sup­port a half-bil­lion dol­lar-drilling pro­gram across the state. And these con­trac­tors employ thou­sands of work­ers, she says. Demand is espe­cial­ly strong for com­mer­cial truck dri­vers, welders and labor­ers to sup­port these developments.


Indeed, EAP’s Can­ton office employs 150 and the com­pa­ny is now hir­ing, Stew­art says. EAP is today the largest oil pro­duc­er in Ohio and the sec­ond-largest pro­duc­er of nat­ur­al gas in the state.

While drilling pro­grams have dried up in Mahon­ing and Trum­bull coun­ties, Columbiana Coun­ty remains an attrac­tive tar­get for oil and gas com­pa­nies in the Uti­ca-Point Pleasant.

EAP and Hous­ton-based Hilcorp Ener­gy Co. are the most active pro­duc­ers in the Columbiana Coun­ty, accord­ing to data from the Ohio Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources.

Most recent­ly, Hilcorp sub­mit­ted appli­ca­tions for per­mits to deep­en three wells it oper­ates in Fair­field Town­ship. EAP recent­ly applied for per­mits to deep­en four of its wells in Wash­ing­ton Town­ship and to drill a new well in Hanover Township.

More­over, the abun­dance of nat­ur­al gas in the region has helped to dri­ve down ener­gy costs for res­i­dents and busi­ness­es across the state.

Accord­ing to the Ohio Oil and Gas Asso­ci­a­tion, five new nat­ur­al gas-pow­ered elec­tri­cal plants are now in oper­a­tion, three plants are under con­struc­tion, anoth­er three projects have been award­ed per­mits, while a 12th plant is in its pro­pos­al stage. Togeth­er, these projects rep­re­sent $10.2 bil­lion in invest­ment across the state.

Oth­er projects over the years include five major oil and gas pipeline projects that rep­re­sent $8.1 bil­lion in invest­ment, OOGA says.

It’s been a real boom for our mem­ber­ship and the trades for the last 11 years,” says Bri­an Wydick, Oper­at­ing Engi­neers Local 66’s busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Mahon­ing, Trum­bull and Columbiana coun­ties. “Pipeline work, com­pres­sor sta­tions, the ethane crack­er, gas-fired pow­er plants – even access roads with the paving indus­try. We’ve ben­e­fit­ed from all of that.”