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Energy Companies in Pennsylvania’s I-99 Corridor Drill Ahead

Discover how innovative support companies are investing in new technologies to support energy production and exploration in the I-99 Corridor.

By Gary Wollenhaupt on July 6, 2015

The massive Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale formations that are transforming communities across Pennsylvania are also driving new investment and opportunities in the I-99 Corridor.
The region’s proximity to that activity, superior infrastructure and wealth of highly skilled workers combine to position the I-99 Corridor as a key link in the supply chain servicing Marcellus and Utica shale gas plays, no matter where that activity is. Already, the region is seeing downstream companies investing in the I-99 Corridor to provide supply chain services for exploration and extraction.
The Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research at Penn State University brings expertise and research capabilities to bear across a range of issues related to gas shale development, from extraction technology to regulatory issues to workforce assessment.
Steady Investing
Despite market fluctuations, production is still going strong. For example, Rex Energy Corp. in State College is developing land for oil and gas production in the Appalachian, Illinois and Permian regions. In 2014, the company acquired more than 200,000 acres in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Overall, the company plans to spend $180 million to $220 million on new drilling in Marcellus and Utica plays.
Innovative companies have risen to support the petroleum industry in the region, boosting efficiency and safety.
KCF Technologies developed the SmartDiagnostics Vibration Monitoring System to track the condition of a variety of equipment on the well pad during drilling operations. The company has won awards for the suite of software and low-power wireless vibration sensors that allow technicians to visualize the operating state of equipment to predict the best time to perform critical maintenance. The company was one of the winners in the Shale Gas Innovation Contest run by the Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center, and also won investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
It’s an advantage for the company to be located in State College, adjacent to both shale plays.
“Being on the I-99 Corridor gives us easy access to the people who are doing the work here,” says Ben Lawrence, vice president of sales and marketing. “We feel if we want to have the most genuine conversations about what these companies need, we will find out the most in the field where the people are doing the work.”
KCF Technologies is working with the Shale Innovation Center on research to use the sensor products in the midstream industry as well.
“We’re grateful to be in the middle of the I-99 Corridor where we have so many resources available to us, like the Ben Franklin Institute and the Shale Gas Innovation Center and access to and relationships with the oil and gas crews who are on the ground. There’s no place we’d rather be.”
Delivering Innovation
HalenHardy is another high-tech supplier to the industry, with an array of safety devices from warning signage to a mobile air shower, a device that blows silica dust from workers’ clothing, reducing exposure to dangerous dust that can cause long-term respiratory damage.
A spinoff from parent company New Pig, New Pig Energy was launched in Tyrone in Blair County to focus on the needs of shale drilling with secondary containment devices to help companies meet environmental requirements. The company manufactures and installs a well pad liner that’s rolled out to create a 1-acre containment dam around a well site. The company recently opened a branch in Beaver Falls to extend its reach into the Ohio play.
“Between the two plays where most of the cluster of rigs are we can be within a three-hour drive of any activity going on in Pennsylvania,” says Beth Powell, vice president and general manager.
Also in Blair County, Gardner Denver invested $15 million in a 70,000-square-foot facility to repair pumps used by companies exploring and extracting in the Marcellus Shale region.
The convenient site and availability of a skilled workforce were among the deciding factors in the location of the plant.
“This site is centrally located within the entire Marcellus Shale Play and will allow us to service our current and future clients easily with direct access to I-99,” says Addy Farou, vice president of manufacturing.

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