Oil and Gas Industry Revenue Flowing Into Harrison County

February 20, 2015
Shale Play

Harrison County Commissioner Don Bethel said the county has taken in $1.6 million in revenue from the oil and gas industry in the past week to 10 days.

The commission passed two agreements Wednesday, bolstering the total.

An agreement with Chesapeake Exploration for 3.96612 acres of county property pays the county $21,000 at $5,500 per acre with a 20 percent gross royalty provision. A second agreement with American Energy Utica for a right-of-way allowing placement of a water line over 60 feet of county property on the rail line for $500 was also approved.

Commissioners agreed that the oil and gas monies would be used to maximum benefit, identifying projects which had been neglected when the budget was operating in fiscal deficit.

In a related matter, Jim Williamson, a pipe fitter who had been working on construction of the MarkWest cryogenic facility at the Cadiz-Harrison County Industrial Park, spoke to the board about a concern he has about the oil and gas construction taking place in the county.

Williamson, a member of the Upper Ohio Valley Building Trades Council, said that after being employed at the job site in Harrison County for two years, he had been reassigned, and his concern was that it seems mostly out-of-state contractors are doing the work.

"They are down to just seven union pipe fitters at the plant," Williamson told the board. "I was shocked at how many people in the area were not aware of what was going on out there. If you go out and look in the parking lot, you will see license plates from Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi."

Williamson said his complaint was not due to non-union labor but rather the lack of local hiring by MarkWest.

"I do not know what the promises were, or if there were any assurances to the county about employing local labor when they purchased the land, but I wanted to come in and make you aware that the majority of the work is being done by out-of-state and some out-of-country workers," he said.

In the past, gas industry representatives have questioned whether local workers were qualified for the highly-technical pipeline jobs. Williamson said OVBTC workers are well qualified, because of union apprenticeship and drug testing programs specifically for pipeline work.

"The plant is actually inside of Cadiz village limits," Dale Norris told Williamson. "We have no authority over that part of the industrial park."

"The commissioners encourage job growth and employment in our county and the Ohio Valley," Commissioner Don Bethel said, adding his support for hiring local, qualified labor. "I would recommend you attend the village council meeting and express our concerns to them."



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