A Pittsburgh-based holding company plans to convert a shuttered cold rolling steel mill in Yorkville, OH, into an industrial services terminal to support oil and gas companies in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Esmark Inc., which has interests in the steel, energy and real estate industries, said Wednesday it would repurpose the one million square-foot mill into a logistics and transportation hub capable of serving the Appalachian Basin with truck, barge and rail services.

The company acquired the former RG Steel mill in 2012 and plans to invest $15 million in its restart. The mill only recently announced that it would close.

"The steel services industry has changed dramatically since Esmark acquired the Yorkville finishing mill in 2012, and we believed the idled facility was ideally suited to serve companies engaged in oil and gas exploration and production," said CEO James Bouchard.

The steel industry's weakness and the projected growth of the Marcellus and Utica shales, which are expected to produce more than 17 Bcf/d combined by October, weighed heavily into the decision, Bouchard added. Yorkville is close to some of the best producing wells to date in the basin. The town straddles Jefferson and Belmont counties along the Ohio River.

Esmark officials said retrofitting of the facility is under way. Spokesman Bill Keegan toldNGI's Shale Daily that operations would start on a staggered basis beginning sometime in late October, with retrofitting planned to continue into the late fall. He added that the facility would handle water, sand, chemicals and equipment, among other things.

There's already an existing water treatment plant, a barge dock, dry storage and dozens of overhead cranes on-site that would be used for operations. Esmark said talks are ongoing with several large and mid-sized energy services companies interested in locating at the facility.

The facility is the latest of its kind to be announced in the region to handle hydrocarbons and other materials for upstream and midstream development (see Shale Daily, July 15; June 25). In July, Concord Energy LLC opened a truck-to-rail facility in Parkersburg, WV, capable of handling more than 150,000 bbl of condensate.