Local oil and gas expo highlights opportunities for business

We've heard a lot about cracker plants; one coming to Pennsylvania, another potentially coming to Ohio.

We've heard a lot about cracker plants; one coming to Pennsylvania, another potentially coming to Ohio.

Now, with the City of Steubenville basically at the midpoint of the two, they're hoping to attract some new businesses and people to the region.

The Jefferson County Port Authority held a special meeting for local businesses and some out-of-towners Wednesday afternoon.

The focus of the meeting was how much improvement Steubenville has seen in the oil and gas industry, and why that should bring more people to the Ohio Valley.

“We offer the best of both worlds here: the small-time life but with major industrial and institutional growth right now,” said Evan Scurti, executive director of the Jefferson County Port Authority.

That was a major focus of Wednesday’s Jefferson County Port Authority Oil and Gas Expo. Local real estate brokers were joined by real estate professionals from western Pennsylvania, many of whom represent clients who are looking to locate projects to new places.

“Our area is more and more of a go to area with all of our drilling activity, the growth of the oil and gas market. There's just many reasons to invest here right now,” Scurti said.

One top of talking about their industrial growth, officials from Franciscan University, Eastern Gateway Community College and Trinity Health System spoke about their recent successes.

“Coming into an area, they want to be in high traffic, growing college towns, so that helps us get on that radar as well," Scurti said.

One of the biggest pros when it comes to Steubenville will be location.

With a cracker plant being built in Monaca, and one set to go up in Belmont County, the city is a central spot.

“That will be a major part of our marketing efforts going forward,” Scurti said. “The plastics and chemicals sectors are known to want to locate next to an ethane cracker because that is their feed stock to produce their plastic chemical based products. We're not perfectly located by one, but two.”

Port Authority officials are hoping that the combination of all these will not only make the city look good, it will attract more people to move there.

“Now is the time we believe to really look at Jefferson County,” Scurti said. “For industrial projects that could tie into some of the growth happening as well as moving a family here.”

Scurti also said his goal was to make sure the people from western Pennsylvania left with a better understanding of the area and how their business could fit in in the future.

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