Carl Aasletten, left, of Green Granite Pass, speaks with the Monroe County Commissioners Monday, Nov. 5 as Jason Hamman, of Hamman Consulting Group looks on.

Business opportunity potentially coming to Monroe County

A new business venture making use of oil and gas waste could potentially be coming to Monroe County.

Carl Aasletten and Kyle White, of Green Granite Pass, and Jason Hamman, of Hamman Consulting Group, met with the Monroe County Commissioners Monday, Nov. 5 to discuss the project.

According to Aasletten and White, the potential project would make use of drill cuttings from oil and gas operations.

The drill cuttings would be repurposed for use as fill dirt or road base in areas of need in the county.

“We believe in this project and our team is convinced this is the right location,” Aasletten said.

The potential site for the project is on county-owned property north of the Monroe County Airport.

The repurposed cuttings would be eventually used to lengthen the airstrip at the airport.

Aasletten projected 15 full-time jobs at the facility, in addition to the added benefits of using the fill created at the facility to do needed work in the county.

“We turned the topsoil (developed at similar facilities) over to the communities (where we work) and they’ve became parks, taken blighted properties and made use of them,” Aasletten said.

The next step for the project would be for the commissioners to agree to sign a letter of intent. After that process is complete, Aasletten and White will begin working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on regulations and permits.

Aasletten and White have consulted with ODNR and the Ohio EPA to ensure the project would be in full compliance with the agencies.

If an agreement was reached with the commissioners promptly, Aasletten said the project could be fully operational in six months, however, said a more realistic expectation would be to break ground in a year.

Once up and running, the facility could process up to 1,500 tons of cutting per day, with as much as 70 percent of that material coming from Monroe County wells.

Aasletten said the demand for the service from oil and gas companies in the area forced an increase in investment in the project, which he estimated at $2 million.

“We’ve raised a lot of capital,” Aasletten said. “We’re at the point where we want to (do) this project. We feel this is the path to go down.”

Also during the Nov. 5 commissioners’ meeting, Mary Jo Westfall, OSU Extension Office associate and community development, met with the commissioners regarding the potential multi-agency building at the Monroe County Fairgrounds.

During the Oct. 22 commissioners’ meeting, bids were opened for the construction of the building.

None of the submitted bids fell within 10 percent of the estimate provided by Tekton Engineering and all bids were refused.

After the bids came in higher than expected, representatives from Tekton spoke with some of the companies that submitted bids to find out why the bids were much higher than anticipated.

According to Westfall, the bidders said the cost of prevailing wages and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning at the building drove bids up.

Tekton offered a new estimate of $911,708, an increase of $310,125 from the original estimate.

The commissioners were dismayed by the higher cost, but passed a motion for Westfall to continue with the project.

“I don’t want to give up on it (the multi-agency building),” Commissioner Carl Davis said. “I guess we should bid again. If we find out (the bids) are totally out of the ballpark, we’ll look at it then.”

Westfall recommended that the request for bids go out in late December and with bids being accepted until February, hoping to draw more interest in the project.

In addition, Westfall will look into working with the United States Department of Agriculture for low-interest loans to help fund the project.

The commissioners also agreed to close the courthouse on Monday, Nov. 12 in observance of Veterans Day.