Mini-Economic Boom from Pipeline Workers in Marietta, OH

Local pipeline work in the Marietta (Washington County), Ohio area has brought an influx of pipeline workers from out of town. Along with those workers has come a mini-economic boom for Marietta with money being spent at local RV parks, grocery stories, restaurants and other area businesses.

An influx of pipeline workers for the oil and gas industry is providing a burst of economic activity in the Marietta area and filling local RV parks, including about 25 spaces being rented at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

That’s great news, according to Steve Tornes, vice president of the Washington County Fair Board.

"We’re normally not open for RV parking during the winter but these guys have been a real godsend," he said. "And after this year’s fair we really needed the business."

Tornes said a rainy fair weekend in September ended with a revenue loss of between $50,000 and $60,000.

"Renting the RV space won’t cover that loss but at least we can pay our bills," he said.

One of the "pipeliners" is Steve Assel, a heavy equipment operator originally from Texas, who has spent the last six years on the road, going where the pipeline work takes him, his wife Peg, and their poodle Misty Michelle.

"We’ve been here about a month and we follow the work," Assel said. "My last job was in Utah but there’s quite a lot of work now in West Virginia and Pennsylvania."

"A lot of pipeline jobs are starting in the Wheeling area and there’s supposed to be a lot of work coming in Ohio, too," Peg Assel added.

The couple has plenty of company as they and other workers move from state to state every few months, building pipelines that will carry natural gas harvested from the Marcellus and Utica shale beds by the oil and gas industry.

Like most of their neighbors at the fairground site, the Assels’ 39-foot trailer has all the comforts of home, including a living room with satellite television, kitchen, bedroom, bath and washer and dryer.*

*The Marietta Times (Jan 21, 2012) – Oil and gas workers in area bringing needed revenue