A new company has signed on to be part of a local effort to use rail to import frac sand and eventually ship oil from the area, which is expected to create jobs.
Savage Services, a materials handling and management company, has started work at the Ohio Commerce Center near Lordstown. It will employ only three to five people initially, said Dan Price, vice president of development and chemical solutions. Equipment is expected to arrive at the site this week, and a local manager has been hired.
Frac sand is round sand used to hold open gas and oil wells when they are fracked.
The hope is that within the next year or so, work will increase to the point were Savage Services will need about 100 employees in Trumbull County, Price said. The plan is to hire for those positions locally.
“This facility will be built around our customers’ needs,” he said.
Savage already has some operations with the Utica and Marcellus shales and built a 168-acre facility in Trenton, N.D., for unloading frac sand and loading oil, Price said.
Any potential hiring at the commerce center would not have been possible without the money that has been spent to renovate and add rail and roads at the site. The commerce center received a $2 million Ohio Job Ready Sites grant in partnership with the Youngstown/ Warren Regional Chamber, said Dan Crouse, from Routh Hurlbert Real Estate.
The private investment in the project easily has exceeded the grant amount, he said. Redevelopment at the site is an ongoing process.
“You could literally put money into this project every single day,” Crouse said.
Though there are other places in the area that are designed to offload frac sand, none has the size or capability of the commerce center, he said.
“The ability that we will have to offload 60 to 110 rail cars of frac sand with ease just doesn’t exist around here,” Crouse said. “We’ll be able to empty trains and keep them moving. ... We’ll be able to unload 110 cars and turn them around to get more.”
The Lordstown site will offer the economy of scale that will help business, he said. The site also is connected to the main CSX rail line that connects Baltimore and Chicago.
“The market is nowhere near saturated yet,” Crouse said. “The need for frac sand is going to grow exponentially in the next three to four years.”
The plan is to eventually build large silo storage facilies for frac sand at the site, he said.
Eventually, there will be the need to ship oil. Whether it is crude or condensate won’t be known until they start to get it out of the ground, Crouse said.