By Robert Schoenberger
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Baker Hughes, one of the nation’s leading oilfield services companies, plans to build a 700-job regional headquarters in Massillon.
The Massillon office would serve as the company’s base for providing services to shale gas exploration companies in Ohio, Pennsylvania and surrounding states.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority on Monday approved a 65 percent tax credit for the $64 million project. The state also approved several other Northeast Ohio business expansions at its regular monthly meeting. Calls to Baker were not immediately returned late Monday, but the company has been hinting at plans to build in this area for some time.
During a conference call with analysts and reporters last month, Baker President and Chief Executive Martin S. Craighead said the oilfield services company needed to cut the expense of shipping supplies across the country by establishing “seven new major facilities in 2012 within North American land operations, each located in key” shale gas regions.
Baker Hughes sells drill bits and chemicals used in drilling and offers a variety of services to drilling companies. Some of the chemicals the company sells get mixed with water to create hydraulic fracturing fluids, material that gets pumped into shale wells to break underground geological formations, allowing natural gas to flow.
Since last year, dozens of companies have committed to hiring hundreds of Ohio workers to serve drilling efforts in Ohio. The Timken Co. said its decision to spend $225 million to expand its Faircrest Steel Plant near Canton, for example, was driven by expected demand for specialty steel for drilling companies. French company Vallourec announced plans in November to expand its steel operations in Youngstown as did Republic Steel in Lorain County.
In its application for state tax credits, Baker said it expects to hire 700 people with an annual payroll of nearly $46 million. That puts the average job at the new headquarters at about $65,000 per year.
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