Published: Friday, July 13, 2012, 8:00 PM Updated: Monday, July 16, 2012, 7:06 AM
By Robert L. Smith, The Plain Dealer
Fourteen years after pulling its corporate staff out of Cleveland, BP is reintroducing itself to Northeast Ohio. Not with a skyscraper on Public Square, but with a modest field office in Warren, within striking distance of its stake in Ohio's Utica shale.
BP chief executive Bob Dudley, on a visit to Cleveland Friday morning, said the quiet beginning could mushroom into something huge. The global energy giant is poised to become a major player in Ohio's emerging natural gas industry.
"Who would have thought, 20 years ago, that we would be re-entering the production business in Ohio," Dudley told a gathering of business and civic leaders at the InterContinental Hotel on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic. "Really, we made a new and exciting investment. We're taking a big play in the Utica."
In March, London-based BP announced it had begun to secure mineral rights to nearly 85,000 acres in Trumbull County, north of Youngstown. Friday, Dudley said exploration and testing will soon commence and that BP expects to begin drilling next year.
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