Energy Industry Suppliers Fuel Wyoming Economy
A man works in Bell Supply Company's warehouse in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Bell Supply is a premier supplier to the oil and gas industry.
Wyoming is energized.
With one of the healthiest state economies in the country, vast energy resources and a growing renewable energy sector, Wyoming is attracting supply-chain manufacturing investment and creating new opportunities for existing companies.
A number of major projects are moving forward, and state economic development leaders say more are on the way.
In Cheyenne, Midwestern Wyoming Inc., an oil and gas pipeline service company, began operations at the Swan Ranch Rail Park in fall 2011. Midwestern has a 55-acre site in the new park with a 60,000-square-foot pipe-coating plant and a 17,000-square-foot fabrication shop.
Also in Cheyenne, a partnership between Gestamp Renewables, a Spanish company, and a subsidiary of Ohio-based Worthington Industries Inc. will build a 160,000-square-foot wind tower manufacturing facility, creating 150 jobs. Groundbreaking on the project, a potential $40 million capital investment, is expected in spring 2012.
High Demand for Suppliers
French-based Schlumberger Technology Corp., a technology services powerhouse for the oil drilling industry, is building a new central maintenance facility in Cheyenne to service customer operations in Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Construction will wrap in spring 2012 and the new operations base will employ 35 to 50 people in engineering and skilled technology jobs.
“Schlumberger already has a significant presence in the states and regional offices in Denver,” says Randy Bruns, CEO of economic development agency Cheyenne LEADS. “This will greatly expand their physical presence in this region.”
Swan Ranch is proving fertile ground for energy-related companies, which typically move quickly when they want to expand, Bruns says. In August 2011, Bell Supply Co., a provider of specialty equipment for oil and gas players, opened a new showroom and 5-acre pipe yard in the new rail park.
McJunkin Red Man, a Texas-based company, has a new regional distribution center east of Cheyenne and supplies products for refining, petrochemical, gas distribution, and oil and gas exploration industries, among others.
At least half of the leads and inquiries coming to the Wyoming Business Council are energy related, says Ben Avery, the council’s director of business and industry.
“The level of inquiries we are getting from site selectors from small businesses looking to relocate from California and other states is higher than it’s ever been,” Avery says. “So many people call and want a ready site, including on rail.”
Energy Suppliers Fuel Wyoming
Wyoming is hard at work on efforts to create new opportunities for existing suppliers.
In August 2011, several dozen Wyoming companies met with representatives of General Electric Co.'s aviation and energy divisions to learn how to do business with the company, what products and services GE needs and what qualifications GE has to become a preferred supplier.
As of October 2011, six of the participating companies were in negotiations with GE, says Larry Stewart, director of Manufacturing-Works, which organized the event and provides technical assistance to Wyoming companies seeking to expand their capabilities.
To its credit, GE brought along four success stories, representatives from smaller companies that already work with the heavy-hitter. “Stereotypically, people think ‘I can’t do that, I’m just a machine shop in a small town,’ but this event showed they can,” Stewart says.
One sure sign of the event’s success: “We had breakout sessions in the afternoon," Stewart says, "and no one left early.”