YOUNGSTOWN - Last year, Harry Schurr, the general manager of Utica operations Consol Energy/CNX Gas, said he needed pipe in the ground.
While updating a main-stage audience on Consul Energy's activities over the past year, Schurr repeated the call.
"Pipeline, we need pipelines," he said during the third annual Youngstown Ohio Utica & Natural Gas Conference at the Covelli Centre on Thursday.
Conference officials said 1,000 people attended and 100 vendors set up booths to display their products and services for the one-day event. Mike Chadsey of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said the theme was production, processing and prosperity.
Vendors included representatives in the academic sector who, Chadsey said, are working to help businesses develop programs that will actually translate into jobs like diesel mechanics and welders.
Notably, Youngstown State University and Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville participated.
Tad Rose, owner of Ray Lewis & Company, was happy with the event, calling it "excellent."
Rose manned a booth along with Shawn Apple, the Lisbon facility manager, and Vic Coleman, the manager of the Youngstown Ray Lewis & Company location.
"We've made some nice contacts and leads," he said, "some of them we're already doing business with."
The company serves the oil and gas industry with dewatering solutions, pumps, drainage systems, pipe, hydraulic assemblies and fittings.
Ray Lewis has 12 employees between its two offices and is celebrating 80 years in business.
Dennis Baldwin and Lisa Kay represented Lowry Supply Company which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in business.
Lowry Supply is a Salem industrial distributor with about 20 employees that sells fasteners, cutting tools and precision tools and offers "integrated stocking solutions."
It also owns Tri-Co in Cuyahoga Falls.
Baldwin, who is in outside sales, said they were making contacts at the expo.
Johna Pfeiffer, vice president of surface technologies for FMC Technologies, said access to the shale plays has been "transformational" for FMC, a company more accustomed to off-shore operations.
FMC expects the land drilling to as open up as quickly as the deep water business did.
Pfeiffer said FMC was moving toward a more integrated and simpler wellpad.
"Activity on the pad is very complex," he said and pointed out that logistics can be improved.
"We believe we ... we can simplify and reduce the number of interfaces between the operator and suppliers," he said.
For FMC, he said the northeast "is a new area" and the company has five locations in Pennsylvania.
"We're very optimistic that the activity here is going to be very good in the next few years."
After his presentation, Pfeiffer said the company could have a larger presence in Ohio as the shale plays unfold, but declined to say anymore than that.
Schurr said said Consol Energy just completed drilling its longest horizontal well, an 18,420-foot lateral Utica well in Noble County.
The average length of laterals is increasing.
"We're expecting to drill laterals to an average of 6,000 feet later," he said.
"We've taken huge steps ... more wells per pad and less disturbance to the areas."
Schurr said it took about 15 years for the Barnett Shale Play in the Fort Worth, Texas area to produce at a commercial rate and noted the Marcellus "is in a full-blown development mode."
Drillers are using what they've learned he said and it won't take as long for the Utica to produce.
Pfeiffer addressed the water issue noting that FMC wants to be a player in the three major areas of land drilling that include the stimulus side, flowback services and water treatment services.
Pfeiffer said the goal is to use 100 percent recycled water for fracking.
"We've already started in the Marcellus," he said.
"If we don't address the water issue ... we'll lose it," he said, adding, "there is a lot of water (treatment) technology out there."