Manufacturers move in to participate in shale boom - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Manufacturers move in to participate in shale boom

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Drilling for oil and gas is happening in the Valley, but is still being classified as a project in its infancy with more development and exploring to come.

Companies with a desire to become a vital member of the shale boom supply chain aren't waiting on the sidelines to get in on the action.

This week, Sharon Tube introduced its new manufacturing line that creates tubing used at some drilling sites and Vallourec's unveiling of its $1 billion pipe mill named Vallourec Star in Youngstown on Wednesday.

Like other manufacturers, Vallourec is positioning itself in the valley to have a close proximity to drilling taking place across the region.

"We believe that the shale is going to use our size pipes, the size that this mill was built for and the volumes of the shale required as the shale opportunity," Vallourec CEO Joel Mastervich says.

Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber President and CEO Thomas Humphries says most of the current drilling is south of Mahoning County, but a path up through the county and into Trumbull County will likely be next.

BP is testing 10 to 20 well sites this summer in Trumbull County and the migration of more manufacturing is a strong possibility.

"If you look at the suppliers, they're looking to be in concentrated where there's a larger population, so they can get qualified people to do the work they need," Humphries says. "Youngstown-Warren still have some really great opportunities."

The shale boom also boosts job opportunities for local skilled workers.

Humphries says a company or companies, which can not name at this time, is currently searching for 2,000 welders to hire within the next 18 months.

He says the 350 jobs created at Vallourec, and the future prospect of more, should serve as evidence that it, and other companies, are getting ready to hire.

"We've gotten a lot of supply opportunities and now we're starting to see the competitors of those suppliers that have come here to compete with them as well," Humphries says.

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