YOUNGSTOWN - Job creation for shale drilling projects is expected to extend beyond the drill site to storage areas for sand and pipe, air travel for workers flying to and from job sites, and training classes for job candidates.
The Ohio Commerce Park booth at the Youngstown Ohio Utica & Natural Gas Conference at the Covelli Centre attracted inquiries about space to offload and load piles of sand and steel tubes to be used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale rock to release natural gas and oil.
"We have areas near the railroad that can handle transloading. We still have a lot of acres for buildings," said Gris Hurlbert, broker for Routh-Hurlbert commercial real estate brokers.
A large crowd attends the public portion of the Youngstown Utica & Natural Gas Conference and trade show at the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown, an event organizers called the largest industrial trade show in area history. Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Officials with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and the Western Reserve Port Authority that runs the airport fielded questions about cargo storage and travel at the Vienna airport.
Aviation Director Dan Dickten said the airport is looking into flights with Cleveland, from where shale workers and business people could catch flights to energy centers in Houston, Dallas and Denver.
He noted airports in shale-boom cities like Williamsport, Pa., have seen 30 percent to 40 percent increases not only in passenger flights but in corporate hangars and general aviation.
"A lot of guys will work for two weeks, then go home for two weeks. We'd like to provide that service," he said.
Andrew Blocksom, president of Patriot Water Treatment in Warren, fielded questions from Rock Creek resident Larry Puraty about the company's process of treating water contaminated in the hydraulic fracturing process. He said he was gathering information for a possible water treatment plant in Ashtabula County.
The process has come under fire from state environment regulators. Puraty, who said he may start an environment consulting business, said regulators should show some leniency to promote job growth.
Unemployed plasterer Brian Reed, 43, of Weathersfield attended the conference in hopes of finding work. The father of three children, one of whom is still at home, stopped at the Eastern Gateway Community College booth to get job information.
He said he did that type of work when he was 18 but was checking about getting some training "so I can be at the top of my game."