About 120 natural gas industry jobs will be leaving Buckhannon and heading to the Ohio Valley, a spokesman for Great Plains Oilfield Rentals said this week.
The employees affected by the move will have the option of transferring their employment to a location in St. Clairsville, Ohio, said Jerry Banta, Great Plains Oilfield Rentals regional manager.
The company is a Chesapeake Energy affiliate, which supports the oil and gas industry in the area. The move was made to allow the company to focus its support to wet gas drilling operations. The operations in the Buckhannon area were for dry gas wells.
Wet gas contains ethane, butane and other chemicals the company can sell in addition to the natural gas.
Banta said oil and gas companies have switched their focus from regions with dry gas to the wet gas areas - with higher returns - surrounding West Virginia's northern panhandle.
Banta added that in order for his company to remain competitive, the move to the northern panhandle is necessary because it will be closer to the more active drilling sites.
No timetable was given for the job transfers.
Natural gas prices have dropped significantly in recent months, a trend that occurred because of increased production in the Marcellus shale region. Companies have started using new technology to reach areas that previously had been very difficult to tap.
The mild winter of 2011-12 also resulted in low demand for natural gas, industry representatives have said.
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