The Marcellus Shale: How your company could get in on the action

Here are contacts for five leading companies involved in the development.

Super Giant Field in the Appalachians?

A few years ago every geologist involved in Appalachian Basin oil and gas knew about the Devonian black shale called the Marcellus. Its black color made it easy to spot in the field and its slightly radioactive signature made it a very easy pick on a geophysical well log.

This map from shows the range of the Marcellus shale field.

However, very few of these geologists were excited about the Marcellus Shale as a major source of natural gas. Wells drilled through it produced some gas but rarely in enormous quantity. Few if any in the natural gas industry suspected that the Marcellus might soon be a major contributor to the natural gas supply of the United States - large enough to be spoken of as a "super giant" gas field.

Before Marcellus Shale gas can go to market, you need exploration and production companies to get it out of the ground, midstream companies to gather and process it, and pipeline companies to transport the goods.

To do that, major producers and pipeline operators are entertaining business pitches from local companies who feel they have something to give. The most oft-repeated words are reference, safety and experience. Here is how to let the companies know if you have these qualities.

Rick Ford, Project Manager

East Resources


A Pennsylvania-based oil and gas exploration and production company, East has 250 employees and more than 650,000 net acres in the Marcellus Shale. East currently has five rigs running and plans to add another two, as part of its ramp up following a joint venture with global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. in 2009.

The company is moving into its new headquarters in Warrendale on June 7 to accommodate its growth.

East also owns gathering lines in Butler County and Central Pennsylvania and is a large producer of oil in the state.

Needs: Contractors to clear land, construct well pads, set up rigs, run wirelines, haul waste, supply drilling mud and frac fluid.

How to contact: Call 724-772-8600 and ask for Rick or e-mail him at

Tip: "We do require everybody that works for us to have a master service agreement. They can call me, at which point I can direct them to the proper department within the company."

Mike Hallford, Regional operations manager

Chief Oil & Gas LLC


Texas-based exploration and production company with a gross 580,000 acres in the Marcellus and a regional office in Wexford. The company holds leases in counties stretching from southwestern Pennsylvania to the northeast part of the state and currently has six rigs running. Chief Gathering LLC, which gathers and markets the gas for the parent company, also has an office in Wexford.

Needs: Office space for future growth, drilling crews, frac crews, dirt contractors, permitting.

How to contact: Call 724-933-5511 and ask for Mike or e-mail him at

Tip: "We go out for bid all the time. A few of our services - drilling rigs - those are typically contract items. As far as construction - that's a constant process. Give us a call."

Daryl Grieger, Regional vice president and general manager

Laurel Mountain Midstream LLC


A year-old midstream company formed as a result of a joint venture between Oklahoma-based Williams Co., 51 percent owner and operator of the firm, and Atlas Pipeline Partners LP, 49 percent owner.

Another division of Williams is also partnering with Dominion Transmission to build a major pipeline along the southern part of the state, to deliver gas from southwestern Pennsylvania to Williams' TRANSCO interstate pipeline in the east.

Needs: Right-of-way agents, construction contractors, environmental surveyors, steel pipes, valves and fittings, natural gas compressors, installers.

How to contact: e-mail and in the subject line, write Service Provider in PA. In the e-mail, describe the services you are offering and include your contact information.

Tip: "All the pipeline that we build is out of steel pipe. We (calculate) how much pipe we think we're going to use each year and we try to buy in advance — it gives us some buying power."

For hospitality needs, the company hosts "at least five or 10 people here every week that are coming in from out of town."

Brian Rayburn, General manager of operations for Pennsylvania 

MarkWest Energy Partners Inc.

The Colorado-based midstream provider works in the Marcellus as MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources LLC, a partnership between the parent company and the Energy & Minerals Group.
The company has built two major processing centers here, one in Houston, Pa. and the other in Majorsville, W.Va. It also gathers, compresses, fractionates, and markets the gas for a number of producers, with Range Resources LLC. as one of its major clients.
With processing facilities located in the “wet” part of the shale, MarkWest separates and markets natural gas liquids.  
Needs: mechanical contractors, civil contractors, electrical contractors, engineering firms, environmental firms
How to contact: Contractors should call the firm’s Atlasburg office at 724-947-7100 and ask for Elaine, who can connect them to one of seven project managers, depending on their services offering.  
Tip: “(We need) manpower for our plant projects and pipelines and compressor sites. We basically empty the union halls and have to pull from union halls further out, further out. If you could put a pipe together, a pipe’s a pipe. Weather you’re building a steel plant or a pipeline. If you can wire a house, you should be able to wire a processing plant.”
Rob Broen, President

Talisman Energy USA Inc.


American subsidiary of a Calgary-based exploration and production company, Talisman Energy USA has about 214,000 net acres in Marcellus, mostly in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York State.
Formerly known as Fortuna Energy Inc. of Horseheads, NY, the firm is moving to a new headquarters in Warrendale the first week of June. The company plans to spend $1 billion in Pennsylvania in 2010, and is in the process of hiring more than 100 new employees for the new office here.
Needs: Much of the company’s professional services will be done out of Pittsburgh, including engineering work. So Talisman is currently hiring geologists, geophysicists and environmental engineers, among others.  
How to contact: Until the company’s Warrendale office opens, job applicants, vendors and contractors should call the Horseheads office at (607) 562-4000.  
Tip: “We’re going to have a full finance department in Pittsburgh — accounting, financial reporting, commercial analysts — and we’re recruiting locally for that.”
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