Rails Boosted by Gas Industry

HANNIBAL – An integral part of America’s industrial might will be returning to Monroe County early next year to service the region’s natural gas industry.

A deal between Hannibal Real Estate of White Plains, N.Y., and Carload Express of Oakmont. Pa., will revive the 12-mile railroad line leading from the Hannibal Industrial Park, which is the site of the former Ormet Rolling Mill, to Powhatan Point will return to operation for the first time in about 10 years.

“This is the only rail line in Monroe County. With its reactivation, the county will now be competitively positioned to attract the types of companies that are investing in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, many of which are seeking rail-served sites,” said Jason Hamann, economic development representative for the Monroe County commissioners.

The rail line will haul sand, concrete and other materials used to crack the county’s Marcellus and Utica Shale formations.

“This is a big economic development win for Monroe County, as the Hannibal Industrial Park will now offer barge and rail services, along with indoor and outdoor space available for lease,” he added.

Magnum Hunter, Antero Resources, XTO Energy, Hess Corp. and Gulfport Energy are several of the companies drilling for natural gas and oil in Monroe County and southern Belmont County. Hamann emphasized the railroad could service any of these companies, in addition to potential new industries that could open along the line.

The line will be known as the Ohio Terminal Railway Co., as it will be a short line connecting to the Norfolk Southern Railway near Powhatan Point.

Hamann believes Monroe County is centrally located in the highly productive wet gas and oil producing portion of the Utica and Marcellus shale fields. This means the gas contains ethane, propane, butane and pentane, in addition to the dry methane gas that is marketed by companies such as Columbia Gas.

The combination of the new rail service and property available at the industrial park is a natural fit to service the emerging shale gas drilling industry in the region, he said. The new rail service will stimulate further economic growth and development in Monroe County and will support and sustain the existing manufacturing base.

Hannibal Real Estate acquired the 122-acre Ohio River site and rail line formerly owned by Ormet in 2007. The park also houses Voith Hydro, Triple J Oilfield Services and Salvus Trucking, which provide site services to the drilling industry. There are about 200 jobs in the park now.