From the Marcellus Drilling News:
More tales of companies starting, companies expanding, and new millionaires being created at a rapid rate—all because of Utica Shale drilling. This time it’s happening in Guernsey County, Ohio…
Startups take off like a rocket in Cambridge:
Heather Swingle moved to Cambridge because of the oil and gas industry.
She was running a coffee shop in New Concord, but she sold it to open Sky’s Coffee Bar on Wheeling Avenue.
So far, it has paid off handsomely.
Sky’s gets between 150 and 200 customers per day, Swingle said, and she attributes at least half of those to title researchers working for the oil and gas industry. They buy a cup of coffee in the morning before heading to the recorder’s office, and some come back two or three times throughout the day, she said.
Sky’s opened about five months ago, and business is three times what Swingle expected, she said.
“It’s been incredible,” she said, fielding a steady stream of customers. “We are swamped all day. You can capitalize on (the oil and gas industry) being here. It’s a great thing for our economy, and it’s a great thing for our community. We’re thrilled they’re here.”*
Established businesses expand:
A few doors down from Sky’s Coffee Bar sits Theo’s Restaurant, a longtime Cambridge establishment. Owner Steve Theodosopoulos also is seeing the benefits of shale drilling. His restaurant was doing “OK” before, but about a year and a half ago, when title researchers started moving into town, business jumped, Theodosopoulos said.
The restaurant is packed almost every day for lunch, he said, with business up about 5 percent overall because of the oil and gas industry.
Theodosopoulos has gotten to know a lot of the title researchers, and many stop by several days per week for lunch, he said. At his brother’s restaurant across town, The Forum, it often is the same crowd for dinner. The brothers are looking to expand, perhaps this summer, by creating a food truck to travel among the oil rigs each day.
“It’s created people on the street downtown,” Theodosopoulos said. “I just think they’re bringing a lot of money into the area. I don’t see any negatives.”*
Hotels get in on the act:
Hotels also are getting a boost. The SouthGate Hotel ran an average occupancy of 80 percent in 2012, said manager Susan Bates. A normal occupancy rate is closer to 50 percent, she said.
At least half of the hotel always is full of oil and gas workers, Bates said, with some staying a few days at a time and others staying an entire month.
Bates said she fields calls every day from companies asking whether she has room for their workers.
“It looks like they’re going to be here for quite a while,” she said. “I think Guernsey County and some of the surrounding counties are going to be very prosperous.”*
Tax revenues go up as new millionaires are created:
County leaders reported a boost in sales tax in 2012, and individual landowners have gotten rich off signing bonuses. The landowners are keeping their newfound wealth hush-hush… One lawyer…[said] his office had helped 22 new millionaires sign lease agreements.
“There are people who have lived in double wides all their lives. Now, they can have anything they want, basically.”*
*Coshocton (OH) Tribune (Feb 17, 2013) – Guernsey County reaping early benefits of Utica Shale exploration
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.