BEECH BOTTOM - Because of the valuable liquids-rich natural gas found in the Upper Ohio Valley, an affiliate of Chesapeake Energy is moving 31 jobs from Buckhannon, W.Va. to Brooke County.
"Currently, there is a great deal of focus on developing the highest-return, liquids-rich shale plays such as West Virginia's Northern Panhandle, and this new location assists in facilitating this objective," said Chris Broussard, president of Oilfield Trucking Solutions, a Chesapeake affiliate.
"In order to be competitive and maintain continuity, we must be located in close proximity to the activity in the play," he added.
Oilfield Trucking Solutions, an oilfield services company affiliated with Chesapeake Energy, is moving 31 jobs from Buckhannon, W.Va., to Beech Bottom. -- Casey Junkins
The trucking company moves frack water and other supplies for Chesapeake drilling sites. As a result of the company's move to the Beech Bottom staging area - between state Route 2 and the Ohio River - Oilfield Trucking will close its Buckhannon, W.Va. location by the end of February.
"This move will affect 31 employees, most of whom will be offered the opportunity to transfer to Beech Bottom. Anyone not being offered a transfer was provided a severance," Broussard said.
Chesapeake announced plans last year to shift much of the company's focus from drilling in the methane-dominated dry gas regions - including much of Pennsylvania and portions of West Virginia - to drilling in the wet gas region of the Upper Ohio Valley. This is due to relatively low natural gas prices compared to the price commanded by natural gas liquids.
For Chesapeake, the move to the wet gas areas seems to be paying dividends. Recent company information showed that for a typical dry gas well, the company gains an average of $13,000 in revenue per day. However, for a wet gas well, the daily revenue more than doubles to $27,800 per day.
For a "wetter" gas well, Chesapeake officials said the company gains an average of $38,800 in revenue every day, nearly triple the amount of revenue from a dry gas well.
Another Chesapeake affiliate, Great Plains Oilfield Rental, is already providing services to Chesapeake drilling sites and staging areas throughout northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio. That company - which provides drilling mud, pipe and fracking tanks to support natural gas operations - is relocating from Buckhannon to Fox Commerce Park near St. Clairsville.
Construction workers are now erecting the Chesapeake buildings at Fox Commerce Park, near the new Belmont County Fairgrounds, with hopes of soon opening them. Because the buildings will be located at the front of the industrial park - across from the FedEx structure at Fox Commerce - they should be visible to those driving along Interstate 70.