By LINDA HARRIS – Business editor
WEIRTON – A Louisiana-based company that dries drill cuttings for the shale industry has located a regional office in Weirton, creating as many as 30 new jobs by year’s end.
Environmental Drilling Solutions, LLC, based in Lafayette, is operating out of a building acquired in November along Cove Hill Road.
EDS Regional Manager Jake Garber said they currently have four projects running in the Southwest Marcellus and Utica shale plays, though none of their work sites are actually in Hancock County. He said that number should grow, and quickly.
“We’re working now south of Pittsburgh in Washington County, and we have some others in Ohio,” he said.
“But Weirton is kind of centralized among all the activity.
“It’s a good location for us to be able to dispatch our services to different areas, whether it’s Ohio, West Virginia or Southwestern Pennsylvania.”
EDS, billed as a leader in solids control, cuttings processing and zero discharge services, dispatches mobile dryer and mobile centrifuge units operating in the Marcellus shale.
In layman’s terms, Garber said the company “handles and processes all the drill cuttings that come out of the well when they hit the surface, drill cuttings being the actual dirt that the drilling rigs produce. We’re a service provider to the operators.”
Once the liquids are separated from the solids, “essentially what you’re left with is dirt. There’s no associated liquid,” he said, adding the operator then has the solids hauled to an approved disposal facility.
Garber said EDS uses a two-step process to separate the liquids from the dirt.
“That separation is what’s called solids control,” he said.
“It’s a very vital part of the process. Without solids control, you can’t drill a well.”
While solids control is a drilling industry practice, Garber said what EDS offers is a specialized service.
“There are other suppliers out there who do what we do, but we’ve done some engineering modifications to our equipment to allow us to perform better in Marcellus and Utica,” he said.
Though EDS has worked in other shale plays across the country, he said Marcellus and Utica are extremely challenging “because of the consistency of the product we get, it’s a little different that what we’ve seen in other formations.”
Half of the 6,000-square-foot Weirton facility is warehouse space.
The rest houses offices.
Garber said they currently have 10 people working out of the location, though that will increase as they ramp up business activities.
“Hopefully, by summertime we should be in full stride,” he said. “We’re currently building more assets to send up to that area. We currently have three units in the area, but we’re in the process of sending two more – they’re manufactured here, in our corporate facility in Louisiana.
Garber said they’ll be using local vendors to supply the parts they’ll need to service their equipment.
Companywide, EDS employs 275 people at eight locations.
Richard Guillory, EDS’s area manager, touted the Weirton property’s location “near the airport, the highway and many of the drilling rigs in the area, which is beneficial to our clients.”
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