Some things never cease to amaze me.
When the local daily newspaper posts its “30 Seconds” feature online every day, it draws an enormous number of comments from what seems to be a dozen or so folks who apparently spend most of their time commenting on online stories and opinions.
So, when the local daily newspaper posted a story about Schlumberger Limited locating a facility in Strasburg, a reasonable person might assume that it would draw at least a few comments from engaged readers.
Nearly 24 hours after the story detailing Schlumberger’s plan in Strasburg, there were absolutely zero comments. There wasn’t even one blaming or crediting President Barack Obama for the company’s decision, although I think it’s safe to say that Obama had nothing to do with it.
The story, which provided a decent overview of the company’s strategy, outlined Schlumberger’s local role in the current oil and natural gas boom in our area as a process called hydraulic fracturing – fracking – unlocks an energy treasure far beneath the surface in Utica shale.
Schlumberger will service the energy business locally by setting up and taking down oil rigs. According to The Times-Reporter, available Schlumberger jobs will include “laboratory technicians, maintenance workers, diesel mechanics, and administrative professionals (potentially positions such as clerical, accounts receivable or dispatchers.)”
The company purchased 140 acres in the Strasburg Industrial Park – located in the northeastern part of the village – for $2.89 million. Eventually, the company could employ upwards to 200 employees, although a significant number, if I’m reading between the lines correctly, will be coming here from elsewhere with no plans to stay longer than they’re needed.
Schlumberger may be the largest company you’ve never heard of. It’s a multi-national company that drills for oil in 85 countries. It employs 113,000 people.
Its principal offices are located in Houston, The Hague and Paris.
In 2011, Schlumberger had revenues $39.5 billion versus $27.4 billion in 2010. That’s a big time number, folks.
(Halliburton, another company you might not have heard of prior to our military incursions into the Middle East, had 2011 revenues of $24.8 billion. General Motors, the world’s largest automaker (again), had 2011 revenues of $150.3 billion.)
Schlumberger stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and on other global boards. A recent close was 77.74. Its 52-week range is 54.79-95.64 and was recommended by stocks guru Jim Cramer as an energy company to buy.
Schlumberger is hiring and suggests career paths of engineering, research, geosciences and petro technical. Hopefully, “Project Lead the Way” programs in our local schools will direct students toward companies such as Schlumberger in the near future.
Schlumberger’s entry into the Tuscarawas Valley’s economy certainly is significant, a fact not lost on the village of Strasburg and its local school system. Every job added means revenue for our schools, villages and townships, which must educate the children, pave the roads and provide for our security.
There will be additional opportunities as the energy boom gets under way. Hopefully, those caretakers of our economy and our local media also will provide oversight for the environment because left unchecked those who take from the earth usually scar it. Drive any number of country roads to see the damage caused when the strip miners took but didn’t put back.
Writing in the Toledo Blade, Janetta King, president of Innovation Ohio, a Columbus-based progressive think tank, urged Gov. John Kasich and the General Assembly to adopt three policy recommendations:
–Development of a landowners’ bill of rights.
–Enactment of a reasonable windfall-profits tax on oil and gas companies. “While Big Oil is poised to pocket billions of dollars, Ohio’s severance tax is now the second lowest in the nation – less than 1 percent on gas and 10 cents a barrel for oil…”
–Raising severance tax rates just to match those levied in Texas – 7.5 percent on gas and 4.6 percent on oil and natural gas liquids such as butane and propane – would mean new revenue over 10 years of nearly $2.5 billion from gas and $6 billion to $25 billion from oil, depending on how much is extracted in what time period. “This new revenue stream would cover the increased regulatory and infrastructure costs a full-blown shale boom would impose – the ‘impact fee’ Governor Kasich seems to favor.”
I think the Innovation Ohio’s suggestions merit consideration. Perhaps you should tell your state legislator. (More on the group’s suggestions is at innovationohio.org.)
And by the way, tell your kid to study his science lessons.
To read more from Dick Farrell, visit him at www.TuscBargainHunter.com.