Oil and Gas Firm Looks At Brownfields

St. Clairsville is joining Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh in having an office for Hull & Associates, an engineering consulting firm that works in the oil and gas business.

Kara Allison and Susan Fisher usually find themselves in sprawling suburban settings when opening new offices for Hull. So when they opened up shop at 146 W. Main St. in St. Clairsville Monday, Allison and Fisher seemed delighted with the small town atmosphere of the Belmont County seat.

“We are here for the long-term,” said Allison, director of government and community relations for Dublin, Ohio-based Hull. “There is plenty of work here for us to do.”

“You’ve got a lot of things going for you here,” added Fisher, director of marketing.

Hull specializes in environmental consulting, as well as brownfield redevelopment to find new ways of using old industrial sites. According to the firm’s website, it is overseeing a project to rehabilitate and reuse a 1.2 million-square-foot space in Dayton, Ohio, that once served as a plant for the Delphi auto parts manufacturer.

“Opening an office in St. Clairsville not only positions Hull strategically to service our current and prospective clients in the shale oil and gas industry, it also gives us the ability to create and develop regional projects in our alternative energy, brownfields, environmental and waste management markets,” said Hull Chief Executive Officer Craig Kasper.

“We were patient, listened to the needs of our clients and studied the developing Utica Shale play in Ohio for two years before arriving at this decision,” Kasper continued regarding the St. Clairsville office. “It was extremely important for us as a company to ensure that we located an office in the region that is fully capable of servicing all of our markets and clients.”

With companies such as Exxon Mobil, Gulfport Energy, Antero Resources, Hess Corp. and Chesapeake Energy continuing to lease oil and natural gas rights in the county, the future seems bright, she said.

The Gulfport Stuntzman well south of Barnesville is one of the reasons drillers are so active in Belmont County. Gulfport’s Shugert well also yielded as much as 28.5 million cubic feet of gas per day from the Egypt Valley area near Morristown.

Allison said Hull can perform road studies, design drilling pads and design pipeline networks for oil and gas companies.

Allison and Fisher said they also believe the burgeoning oil and gas business in the Ohio Utica Shale – as well as the West Virginia Marcellus Shale – give old industrial sites along the Ohio River a chance for revitalization.

From East Liverpool to Marietta, Ohio, there are several former steel mills or other plant sites that could potentially be redeveloped for use in the oil and gas industry. Allison said she has consulted with Sue Douglass, Belmont County Community Improvement Corp. and Department of Development director, about some potential projects.

Allison said A.J. Smith, an engineer and project manager with Hull who will manage the St. Clairsville office. She also said the company is looking to hire some employees for the office, such as engineers and field staff members.