Okla. company opens drilling fluids facility
By Burton Speakman
An Oklahoma company has opened a drilling fluids production facility in Wellsville along the Ohio River.
The site is the first permanent drilling fluids operation in Ohio for Anchor Drilling Fluids USA Inc., based in Tulsa, and will service both the Utica and Marcellus shales. It is located within the Columbiana County Port Authority’s Wellsville Intermodal Industrial Park.
The drilling fluid produced by Anchor acts as a lubricant to support the drilling process, said Tom Droege, spokesman for Anchor Drilling.
“The Utica Shale reportedly has recoverable reserves of over 940 million barrels of oil and 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” said Anchor President Phil West in a statement. “Development of this U.S. energy resource will significantly contribute to long-term economic growth and job creation in Ohio and the region.”
Anchor also has invested with Cimbar Performance Minerals in a barite processing plant that is next to the drilling fluids facility. Barite is used to increase the density of drilling fluids, according to a statement from Anchor Drilling. The plant would be the only barite processing facility in the Northeast.
“The barite is a very important chemical because it’s heavy. It helps keep the oil and gas down in the hole until the company is ready to extract it,” Droege said.
The site was chosen for multiple reasons, including transporting the barite, which is shipped north from New Orleans after coming from China, he said. The product is very heavy so the heavy-duty crane access is important.
“There is also a lot of drilling being done in the area,” Droege said.
There have been a number of oil and gas companies that are operating within the Wellsville industrial park, said Tracy Drake, CEO of the Columbiana County Port Authority.
“We got it built just in time to take advantage of the shale industry,” he said. “I would say that it was good planning.”
The Wellsville site is helping to bring in new business to the area, and that is a good thing, Drake said. The crane at the site has the ability to bring is significant weights of specialized cargo and that is attractive to the industry.