The State Journal | Jeff Wade | December 18, 2017
West Virginia sits on the cusp of one of the greatest periods of infrastructure development since, potentially, the creation of the interstate system. This development will provide tens of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in investment, generations’ worth of tax receipts for state and county governments, and possibly most importantly, set the foundation for maximizing West Virginia’s oil and gas resources for the benefit of all West Virginians.
Natural gas interstate pipeline projects approved or under review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission represent what may be the largest private sector infrastructure investment in the state’s history. Four of those projects — the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Supply Header and the Leach Express Pipeline — are estimated to provide over $7 billion in investment and economic activity alone. The Mountain Valley, Atlantic Coast and Supply Header pipelines were recently approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, while the Leach Express was approved earlier this year.
Constructing this network of interstate pipelines is critical if we hope to maximize our oil and gas resources for the benefit of our state and its citizens. These lines are needed to move the prolific amount of gas out of our region and to the markets where it is needed. And, once in operation, these lines will spur additional gas development, which means we’ll have industry jobs well into the future.
In terms of jobs, the Atlantic Coast pipeline and Supply Header, projects of Dominion Resources, are estimated to support over 17,000. EQT’s Mountain Valley pipeline will support 4,500 jobs in West Virginia and over 9,000 project wide. The Leach Express Pipeline, being developed by TransCanada, will support over 5,500 jobs. This is incredible and welcome news for our state.
My company and our West Virginia workforce will benefit significantly from projects like these. We specialize in pipeline construction throughout the hills of the Appalachian region and have the Supply Header Project under contract for construction. We employ 16 people at our office and shop in Scott Depot and Clendenin and will employ 200-300 union employees during construction. Most of our workers are West Virginia residents. We pay a considerable amount in local and state taxes, which help our communities, as well as support a variety of local businesses.
Our team of professionals, some with over 30 years of experience, are skilled in working in West Virginia’s mountainous terrain. As a member of the Pipe Line Contractors Association, we utilize a workforce from the Laborers International Union of North America, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipe Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada. These individuals are uniquely trained and qualified to construct these types of pipeline projects in our region.
We will rely heavily on many local businesses throughout the construction process to provide critical supplies and services. These types of vendors could include aggregate suppliers, auto/truck part stores, car dealerships, cleaning services, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, sanitation services, hauling services, among many others. While it just makes sense to use local vendors when possible, it also highlights our desire to make sure our communities benefit from projects like these.
Safety is our top priority, and zero accidents our goal. And leaving the land in as good or better shape as when we started is very important to us. We are West Virginians and committed to environmental stewardship.
We are proud to be able to do what we love in our home state and we are excited for the opportunities these projects present to all West Virginians.
Jeff Wade serves as president of Ace Pipeline, Inc., which specializes in midstream and transmission pipeline installation in the greater Appalachian region. The company is headquartered in St. Albans, W.Va.