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While national oil and gas companies are flooding eastern Ohio to get involved in the Utica Shale, a service is being developed to help local companies provide information about what they offer.
The Ohio Shale Energy is a database that provides information for oil and gas producers and field-services companies to find local contractors who can provide services.
The program initially had been limited to a 12-county area in southeastern Ohio, but Ohio University, which developed the database, is working with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce to expand it statewide, said Scott Miller, director of energy and environmental programs for the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at OU.
“We thought there might be a benefit to a tool to get businesses together,” Miller said. “It will allow small and midsized businesses to get involved.”
The goal is to help Ohio companies succeed, he added. The database should help reduce the number of out-of-state license plates at drill sites.
The site provides information for a company based on what type of service it seeks. Users can ask for companies within whatever distance they want, Miller said. The site also has details on a business’ certifications.
“We want to know how to make it useful for them,” he said.
Although initially the site focused on the 12-county area, businesses that were not located within the area could still enter company information, Miller said. Dozens of Mahoning Valley companies have registered with the database.
“We want to have it populated with as many businesses as possible,” he said. “The next step is to sit down with the oil and gas companies to determine exactly what they need and bring all this together.”
About 1,000 companies already have completed profiles, with all but 80 of them in Ohio, Miller said.
Expanding the database helps to further the goal of the Ohio Shale Coalition to make sure every business in the state has the tools and connections to become involved in the oil and gas industry, said Linda Woggon, executive director of the Ohio Shale Coalition, an industry advocacy group started by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
The shale coalition is having conversations with oil and gas producers and field-services companies to learn what functions they want in the database. The information needs to be presented in a way the industry can use, Woggon added.
In the next few months, that information will be taken back to OU so the database can meet those needs.
“Once that’s done we will start to market the program throughout the state,” she said.
Any company can enter its information on the database at http://OhioShaleEnergy.com/default.aspx.