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Shale Industry Spends Billions in Wheeling MSA

Construction figures for the area take a huge jump from 2012


By Casey Junkins

The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. – Powered by extensive Marcellus and Utica shale processing and pipelining infrastructure, the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area saw construction investments grow from $60.3 million in 2012 to $1.72 billion in 2013.

“I see another 5-10 years of construction like this,” said Keith Hughes, business manager at Ironworkers Local No. 549 in Wheeling. “It has been tremendous for our area and we appreciate all of the work we are getting.”

Williams Energy will eventually invest a total of $4.5 billion for Utica and Marcellus shale natural gas processing infrastructure in Marshall County, while Blue Racer Midstream and MarkWest Energy continue working on similar ambitious projects throughout the Upper Ohio Valley. Simultaneously, new hotels are opening at The Highlands, in St. Clairsville and in Morristown to accommodate those individuals now working in the shale regions.

The drilling boom has prompted related building in the region. A 76-room Days Inn & Suites is under construction along Ohio 149 across from Union Local High School in Morristown.

It all adds up to show that construction in the Ohio, Marshall and Belmont counties – collectively known as the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area – grew to $1.72 billion in 2013. According to McGraw Hill Construction, the same area saw only $60.3 million worth of construction in 2012.

New York City-based McGraw Hill tracks and analyzes construction trends throughout the nation. The company’s data shows that 2013 saw $1.7 billion worth of “non-residential” construction in the MSA, up from $54.3 million in 2012. Non-residential building includes offices, hotels, retail outlets, warehouses, manufacturing, education, hospitals and government buildings and infrastructure.

The remaining amounts for both years are for “residential” building – $10.8 million in 2013 and $6 million in 2012.

The numbers could be even more impressive next year, as construction does not seem to be slowing…

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