By SAM SHAWVER
MARIETTA, Ohio - Officials with Houston-based Magnum Hunter Resources say they hope to maintain a long-term relationship with southeast Ohio and northwestern West Virginia through the company's local subsidiary, Triad Hunter LLC.
As a token of that commitment Magnum Hunter Chairman and CEO Gary Evans was on hand earlier this month for Triad Hunter's opening of new regional offices at 125 Putnam St. in downtown Marietta.
"We're proud to say the Appalachian area is probably among the largest Marcellus Shale production areas in the U.S. And now with the Utica Shale deposits, I believe Appalachia will become the hottest area in the country for oil and gas production," Evans told a crowd of state and local officials gathered in the entrance of the newly renovated building near the corner of Putnam and Second streets.
He said the company typically has to secure enough property to provide long-term opportunities for its horizontal hydraulic drilling operations, and has leased or purchased more than 85,500 acres of land containing Marcellus Shale, and another 81,800 acres of Utica Shale property in the Appalachian region.
"So we're looking many, many years ahead," Evans said, noting Triad Hunter has already spent more than $500 million in developing mineral interests and infrastructure in this region.
Triad Hunter currently has operations in Monroe, Noble and Washington counties in Ohio as well as Tyler and Wetzel counties in West Virginia.
Jim Denny, president and chief operating officer of Triad Hunter LLC, noted the company's first two horizontal wells were drilled in Tyler County in the fall of 2010, and product from those facilities was on the market within 48 hours of completion of the drilling.
"This all started three years ago when we purchased Triad Resources (in Reno, from the late Kean Weaver)," he said. "We decided on a low-key entry into this area, knowing Kean Weaver was well-respected in the local community. And we wanted to build our own reputation here."
The Triad name and identity has been maintained in the community, and Triad Hunter kept all of the former company's employees on board.
"We started with a little under 100 people, and now there are 125," Denny said of Triad. "And that's not counting the recent acquisition of Viking International Resources Co. Inc. (Virco), that has added another 25 people."
In addition, Alpha Hunter, the company's drilling section, has 63 employees, pipeline division Eureka Hunter includes seven employees, and the water division, Green Hunter Water, has 68 workers.
The Putnam Street building that houses Chase Bank was purchased out of Kean Weaver's estate by Triad Hunter in September 2012. The company spent an estimated $1 million on acquisition and remodeling the three-story facility.
Forty employees moved into the building at the beginning of this month, Evans said.
"We wanted the employees to feel good about where they came to work," he said of the move into downtown Marietta.
"At the Reno location they were working out of office trailers."
Evans said Triad Hunter officials have moved into some of the loft apartments on Front Street, and can literally walk to work now.
"This is a testimony of our commitment to the region and to this community," he said.
Ohio Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, was among those attending Monday's grand opening of the Triad Hunter office complex.
"This is a real opportunity for our local workforce talent, and a chance to bring back former Ohioans who have left this area for lack of employment options," he said. "And this is a massive workforce redevelopment opportunity."