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Dave Baker’s Interview regarding the
Pittsburgh Regions Energy Revolution

New North Business Matters logoFEELING ENERGIZED
Drilling Opportunities Continue to Grow
An article published in New North Business Matters, January 2013

In 2013, opportunities will continue to grow in regards to Marcellus and Utica shale gas drilling.

Oil and gas explorers and producers are dedicated to hiring local companies and now is the time to take the steps to begin doing business in the industry. That was the message business owners and executives received from Mindy Walls, senior director of corporate development with Chesapeake Energy, and Julianne Heins, director of procurement with Seneca Resources, at SMC Business Councils’ recent shale gas conference at The Chadwick in Wexford.

Walls and Heins, along with a panel of executives representing local companies, shared advice and provided resource materials to more than 200 attendees who wanted to know what it would take to gain access to the energy giants.

All vendors of Chesapeake Energy and Seneca Resources are required to obtain a Master Service Agreement. Walls said that to begin an MSA process on any vendor, a need for that service must exist. "We don’t collect a bevy of MSAs. It’s an extensive and rigorous process. ... You have to be the best of the best," she said. Potential suppliers to Chesapeake Energy were advised that more opportunities exist with Utica drilling than Marcellus. "We have a long list of vendors in Marcellus," Walls said.

Heins said that because of the high costs associated with changing vendors Seneca Resources would not order an MSA unless it was certain that a long-term relationship with the vendor would exist. The process of building that relationship begins by contacting the procurement department at Seneca to explain the products and services that a company can provide.

"It’s critical that you accurately represent what you can do and what you can support. Focus on your company’s core strength and performing in your sweet spot instead of trying to be a one-stop shop," Heins said. Both Walls and Heins stressed that any vendor chosen should be prepared to be available 24/7. "The service aspect is very strong. Don’t over-promise what you can deliver. In this business, it’s one strike and you’re out," Heins said.

Along with opportunities for companies to supply products and services, the shale gas industry will continue to provide employment opportunities for many years, according to David Baker, managing director and CEO of Human Capital Advisors, a Sewickley based human resources company. Baker’s company is part of the Marcellus Resource Group, service providers and experts who have joined together to help gas companies find the needed people. "There is an unbelievable opportunity for all of us in this region. This industry will create more than 200,000 new jobs over the next four or five years," Baker said.

The opportunities are great and so is the pay. The demand for engineers, skilled workers and truck drivers will be high, as well as the demand for workers within industries that support drillers, such as accountants and real estate professionals. "The competition for these workers is strong and companies don’t blink an eye at paying for the talent," Baker said. Skilled trade workers can earn between $50,000 and $80,000 a year and a "rough neck" — a worker on a rig — could earn $120,000 or more. "We’re recruiting all over the country for positions. It’s been a great opportunity for many people who left the region years ago in order to find jobs to be able to return home," Baker said.

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