In the last several years, the Marcellus Shale region has been the site of unprecedented activity, as its largely untapped natural gas reserves began to create an appealing target for those seeking domestic energy sources.
Rapid growth – particularly in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia – generated an immediate need for sound infrastructure. As one of the tri-state region’s top heavy civil contractors, Trumbull Corp. was perfectly positioned to respond. And they did, both quickly and efficiently.
“Our original strategy was to examine the impact and opportunity that Marcellus Shale activity represented for our family of businesses, which includes Trumbull as well as PJ Dick and Lindy Paving,” notes Marcellus Shale Division Director Tim O’Brien. “When construction activity increased two years ago in the Marcellus, we couldn’t ignore the opportunity and market potential…particularly for Trumbull.”
The lion’s share of Trumbull Corp.’s current work in the Marcellus and Utica Shales relates to building well pad sites for natural gas operators. Operators set up these drilling locations, which can cost between $300,000 to $1.5 million to build. “Well pads were a natural place for us to start because they are a logical extension of our current heavy highway work, we had the manpower and equipment needed for the industry’s fast turnaround, and the potential for rapid business and revenue growth was significant,” O’Brien explains. Trumbull’s success in well pad site (and impoundment) construction quickly expanded to other on-call services for the oil and gas industry, including compressor station site work.
So did work for sister companies, PJ Dick and Lindy Paving. To date, PJ Dick has built the five-story, 180,000 square foot Appalachian office facility for industry leader Range Resources, while Lindy Paving has completed numerous roadway projects in and around the Marcellus and Utica areas.
“The growth of Marcellus Shale in the region has touched all of our family of companies,” notes CEO Cliff Rowe.
“Collectively and individually, we offer a distinct value proposition to natural gas operators who seek turnkey solutions with a wide range of construction offerings, survey services and physical resources,” he adds.
Experience and Expertise
With nearly 60 years of experience in bridge and highway construction, Trumbull Corp. already had a strong reputation when gas operators began migrating to the Marcellus Shale region. At first, many of these operators imported their own contractors from their home regions. In time, however, O’Brien says Trumbull Corp. was able to convince the industry that it had the needed skills to be a true asset to such operations.
“This type of work was a natural for us to construct because we have real familiarity with the region,” he said. “We also have several offices in the Marcellus Shale geography, employ more than 900 tradespeople in the area, and possess a fleet with more than 200 major pieces of equipment and 496 vehicles.”
Another contributing factor that helped Trumbull Corp. get a leg up on the competition is the company’s focus on safety. Although safety is a top priority for all types of construction, the natural gas sector has to take the volatility of the resource into consideration, and operators demand experienced contractors who understand that.
O’Brien says Trumbull Corp.’s experience and expertise in the heavy civil sector has given it an edge in dealing with the demanding schedules of the natural gas sector, as well. In contrast to highway and bridge projects, where months can elapse between the initial bid and the start of construction, O’Brien says the company can go to work within days of being contacted by a natural gas operator. Also, each pad site takes a mere three to five weeks from start to finish. “That’s a pretty dynamic change for us,” O’Brien says.
According to O’Brien, one needs to look no further than the amount of repeat business Trumbull Corp. has accumulated for evidence that the company can deliver in the sector. “It gets back to performance, and Trumbull has performed very well for the current customers that we have, and that’s why they continue to ask us to bid on additional projects,” he says.
Together with PJ Dick and Lindy Paving, the future looks bright for all three companies as they evolve current service offerings in response to industry needs for processing and cracking facilities, gathering systems, distribution pipelines and other deliverables.
“The Marcellus Shale won’t meet its full potential if the right infrastructure is not in place,” says Rowe. “And we have the experience, people and product to build that strong foundation – both now and in the future.”