WEIRTON - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Friday that an Italian business that produces parts for the natural gas industry is moving into Three Springs Business Park.
Tomblin said Pietro Fiorentini USA plans to build a $9 million manufacturing facility, which is expected to employ 41 initially and up to 150 when fully operational.
Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, said the company is expected to lease about 15,000 square feet at the former Wheeling Corrugating Plant in Beech Bottom in the meantime, so it may begin operations while the Weirton plant is built. Ford said construction of the 50,000-square-foot facility is expected to occur over 12 to 18 months.
The company is scheduled to conduct interviews this month and begin hiring in May. Those interested in applying should contact the WorkForce West Virginia Weirton office at 304-794-2000.
"I'm pleased Pietro Fiorentini has chosen to locate its new manufacturing plant in West Virginia," Tomblin said. "I'd like to thank the West Virginia Development Office, the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and the Independent Oil and Gas Association for working collaboratively with Pietro Fiorentini USA to bring these jobs to Brooke County."
According to the governor's office, parent company Pietro Fiorentini S.p.a. is a world leader in the production of pressure regulators, valves and pressure reducing and metering systems for the natural gas industry. The company has a sales office and a distributorship in the United States, but the Weirton plant will be its first manufacturing operation in the country.
The new facility will produce components for the treatment of shale oil and gas.
Sergio Trevisan, general manager for the Italian parent company, said, "The Pietro Fiorentini group decided to invest in West Virginia after completing a feasibility study that covered several states in the nation. Our study confirmed that the Marcellus area has a large potential yet to be developed, and this was the main decision factor.
"Specifically in the Marcellus area, West Virginia offers, in our opinion, an interesting business atmosphere combined with an excellent support from the state," he continued. "We are willing to be at the center of the area, and West Virginia fully responded to this prerequisite. Pietro Fiorentini is setting up here a manufacturing and logistic base for gas conditioning equipment, oil and gas treatment and reducing and metering plants already distributed in more than 80 countries of the world."
Ford said one aspect that attracted Fiorentini to the city was the availability of land for the new plant and the existing corrugating plant where it could operate temporarily. The former steel plant was purchased in November by the BDC and Los Angeles-based Hackman Capital with the intent of marketing it for potential development.
Ford said many officials at the state, county and municipal levels played a role in bringing Fiorentini to Weirton. They included Steve Spence, director of international development for the West Virginia Development Office, and development office staff member Angela Mascia, who arranged three visits to the city by representatives of Fiorentini.
Ford added the recent arrival of Sheehan Pipeline at the corrugating plant and ongoing expansion of the Ergon oil refinery in Newell "clearly places Brooke and Hancock counties on the radar of the oil and gas industry."
Ford said the three developments are expected to create 750 jobs in the Northern Panhandle, adding the BDC will continue to work with the governor's office, state Economic Development Authority and county and local officials to bring more jobs to the area.
Warren Scott contributed to this report.