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By Ed Runyan
A nearly complete 12,000-foot loop train track at the Ohio Commerce Center in Lordstown is among the key components of what Halcon Resources Corp. says eventually may be a $70 million fuel depot.
Savage, a multinational, privately owned company, hopes to be a major player in the development of those facilities at the 480-acre Commerce Center on Tod Avenue one mile north of Salt Springs Road.
Already, Savage and the center have completed the installation of a $60,000 truck scale on the five acres Savage now leases.
Savage also leases one train track and has an $80,000 portable conveyor on site ready to handle the unloading and loading of frack sand that will arrive by rail and be loaded into trucks.
“That could happen any day. We’ve got the agreements signed,” said Matt McComber, Savage operations manager at the Commerce Center.
“There is a big need for them to get frack sand and chemicals used in the drilling process,” he said of oil companies. Getting them by rail is less expensive than by truck, he said.
Loading and unloading frack sand is how Savage plans to start up at the Ohio Commerce Center, but it also is ready to handle chemicals and other materials used in the gas and oil business.
If Halcon and the center’s management continue to develop the center for the oil and gas industry, Savage hopes to grow along with it, McComber said.
“The Ohio Commerce Center is looking forward to us leasing additional tracks and space as time goes on,” McComber said.
Halcon announced in July it plans to construct a $70 million fuel depot at the Commerce Center, which was built by the federal government as the Lordstown Ordnance Depot in 1940 to store munitions and house soldiers.
Brothers George and Spiro Bakeris of Howland bought the Commerce Center in June 2010. It is one of the largest privately owned rail facilities in Northeast Ohio.
Halcon, which has drilled nine wells in the Utica Shale play, says the fuel depot would store and distribute oil to East Coast and Gulf Coast refineries.
Such a depot would include six storage tanks each capable of holding 90,000 barrels of crude or other products. It also would include a 20-car rail loading platform.
Before those facilities are complete, however, Savage hopes it will be able to provide a way for Halcon to load trucks filled with oil into rail tankers at the Commerce Center, McComber said.
Halcon says that by late this year, it would like to have 20 truck unloading stations in place for oil, enabling it to load 15,000 barrels per day using six mobile loaders.
Savage is in negotiations to be the company that provides those services, McComber said.
Halcon wants to have the remainder of the infrastructure, including the storage tanks, in place by late 2014.
Dan Crouse of Routh Hurlbert real-estate brokers of Warren, which represents the Commerce Center, said Halcon is working with the Environmental Protection Agency to get the air permits needed to have storage tanks.
A $2 million Ohio Jobs Ready grant helped pay for part of the loop track at the center. Its purpose is to provide enough track for trains containing 100 or more cars to leave the mainline track and circle through the center, loading and unloading.
Eventually, the Commerce Center could make it possible for unit trains of 65 to 110 cars to load up with crude in eight to 10 hours, Crouse said.
At that point, there could be many other companies leasing space at the center to provide services to the industry, such as pipe-storage or chemical companies, Crouse said.
All of this development is “market-driven,” Crouse said, meaning it will play out depending on what the market demands based on the amount of oil being extracted from wells here.
“We’re just waiting for the ramp-up to occur,” Crouse said.