New Drilling Mud Facility Opens in Marshall County, WV

AES Drilling Fluids along with officials from the city of Benwood (Marshall County, WV) and state officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday on a new $2 million drilling fluids facility just opened in the North Benwood Industrial Park. The new facility provides drilling mud to drillers in the Marcellus and Utica Shale.

Jim Sherman, president of U.S. operations for AES Drilling Fluids, said the industrial park is a great fit for the new drilling fluids plant.

"We’re glad to be here. This is a good facility; it fits what we needed," said Sherman. "It’s a good location for the potential in the Utica Shale, where we’re trying to get some work from some of the local customers. We needed a nice size warehouse for some expansion, and this is just centrally located for us. We’re lucky to be here, and we’re lucky to find it."

Sherman said AES needed a site that is "used to a little bit of industry."

"It’s more about storage and blending than it is anything else with us. … We use a lot of synthetic oils," he added.

The new facility makes a synthetic oil-based drilling fluid, or "drilling mud," which is used in the natural gas industry’s drilling process. The plant is now fully operational and employs about 17 full-time workers, according to Russell Marks, operations manager for AES.

Marks said the facility rents drilling fluid to customers like Chesapeake Energy, who use it during the drilling and fracking process. The fluid is eventually transported back to the plant, where it is "reconditioned" and used again. It aides workers in removing the cuttings from wells, according to Marks.*

It’s refreshing to see that some counties and states actually welcome new jobs from the drilling industry.

*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Jun 8, 2012) – Drilling Fluids Company Opens $2 Million Facility