Several speak at Cline Shale quarterly luncheon
Various activity within the Cline Shale region was discussed at Friday’s quarterly luncheon of the Cline Shale Alliance, held at the Nolan County Coliseum.Eric Norton with the Roseland Oil and Gas Directory shared that although he saw the activity in North Dakota in 2009--in which projections were off the charts, covered the development in Pennsylvania, and has been involved in the Permian Basin for the past six years, the Cline Shale appears to be much larger.Norton’s job gives him the opportunity to cover all aspects of this particular field, which allows him to help others find contacts within the directory. He stated that he was willing to help people connect with each other and share accurate information, as well as offer his personal experiences within the industry.Representing the Abilene Industrial Foundation was Gary Robinett, who noted that while Abilene is on the outside edge of the Cline Shale, they have benefitted from the activity, even beyond the oil and gas industry.However, a few inquiries on oil and gas projects have been seen, and while growth has not skyrocketed, gradual and calm growth within local expansion has resulted.Ken Becker with the Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development explained that the community sits on the eastern edge of the shale, but its proximity to Interstate 20 and Highway 70 makes Sweetwater a prime logistical location. Overall, Nolan County is currently undergoing around $260 million worth of expansion. Among the projects include the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) expansion, the addition of 40,000 feet of railroad track, almost 20 oil-related industries making the move to Sweetwater, the Young Farm Estates in Roscoe, the renovated county courthouse and new jail and sheriff’s office facility, the three TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) projects in the county, the renovations taking place at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital, and the expansion project at Buzzi Unicem in Maryneal.Becker noted that while growth continues, their goal is work alongside these new companies as well as maintaining the relationships with current businesses.Mary Ross offered updates on the Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas, in addition to the West Texas Consortium, which covers 49 counties in the region.They have been working with the University of Texas-San Antonio on an economic impact study, in which the full report will be offered at their June meeting. For more information, visit www.westtexasenergyconsortium.com.Regarding the Workforce Solutions, a grant was recently received to where classes will be offered to existing small businesses. The “Fast Track Growth Venture” class will be offered in San Angelo starting on February 6 for ten weeks every Monday night.The same class will be offered in Abilene starting on March 17 and will also run for ten weeks on Monday evenings. The cost of the class is $700 but scholarships are available. More information can be obtained at www.wtin.org.The city manager of Colorado City, David Hoover, wrapped up the regional reports by expressing that they have a need of up to 5,000 workers due to their current projects of two power plants and the BridgeTex Pipeline.The BridgeTex Pipeline will transport crude oil from the Permian Basin to the Houston area, which will consist of approximately 450 miles of pipe from Colorado City to Houston with a capacity of 300,000 barrels per day. And recently, Colorado City made the decision to sell part of their affluent water for a power plant.Hoover concluded that with all of the activity, they were unsure of what to expect since the production of the Cline Shale is expected to be very huge.This article is the second in a three-part series recapping the January 2014 meeting of the Cline Shale Alliance. The organization serves as an information exchange, regional development and business networking forum through the organization and coordination of periodic luncheons and workshops throughout the Cline Shale region.