Western Pennsylvania’s Washington County is, in many ways, the epicenter for Marcellus drilling activity. Numerous companies either have their headquarters or their main Marcellus branch offices located in the county, and the rate of expansion continues to be high:
When the Washington County Commissioners gave an accounting last month of the past year’s 45 economic development projects for about 200 Washington County Chamber members, it took the three commissioners a half-hour to cover the basics of the busy year.
The projects, driven by the county’s position as a hub of natural gas production, administrative and supply chain activity for the Marcellus Shale – the county named itself the “Energy Capital of the East” two years ago – include the February opening of Range Resources’ $30 million regional headquarters in Southpointe II and the continued development of The Meadows Racetrack & Casino to additional manufacturing capacity for new and existing producers.
The energy surge is responsible for much of the growth. The county’s count of 2011 economic development projects found that 24 of 45 projects were energy-related company attraction and expansion projects, with 21 of those a direct result of the Marcellus Shale natural gas play.
Rod Piatt, founder of Horizon Properties Group, the lead developer of Southpointe II business and residential park, said Horizon is continuing to plan space for other companies in the oil and gas industry, as well as preparing to build a 34-acre town center that will unite the development. Even as the gas drilling industry expands its reach into the Utica Shale in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio, Piatt said, the industry will continue to run its operations from Southpointe, which now boasts more than 50 energy-related companies.*
*Washington County Business Journal (Mar 29, 2012) – Washington County’s Energy Surge: Adding more value to the county’s long list of economic development assets