WEIRTON, W.Va. — Nearly 60 people could have jobs at a natural gas company in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle within the next three months.

Bidell Gas Compression, a subsidiary of Canadian based Total Energy Services Inc., is currently accepting job applications, said Patrick Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle.

“They are literally taking applications right off the street to fill some of these jobs right away,” Ford said.

Bidell announced Friday it will operate its first U.S. manufacturing site in Weirton. Plans are to repurpose 100,000 square feet of space at a former ArcelorMittal machine shop known as the Central Machine Building.

“This puts us right square on the radar for industries that want to participate in the energy industry and have a home in the Ohio River Valley,” Ford told MetroNews after the announcement.

By 2019, Bidell hopes to employ more than 130 people.

The company is looking to hire skilled welders. Those workers will build gas compression equipment which will then be sold to customers in the U.S., including those working in the Marcellus and Utica shales, and those internationally.

Ford said young welders are encouraged to apply. High school welding programs in the area are already in place.

“The welding classes that we have in place in Brooke County High School starts training some of those welders now who are 16, 17, 18 years old. By the time they get through that program, they’ll be available to take on employment at Bidell,” he said.

Ford said company leaders worked with the state Development Office and the state Economic Development Authority to buy the property from Mingo Junction Steelworks, LLC.

Governor Jim Justice applauded the company’s announcement on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“We’ve got jobs coming and this is just the tip of the iceberg. We want lots and lots and lots more,” Justice said.

The state Department of Commerce said Bidell’s training activities and services will be funded through the Governor’s Guaranteed Work Force Program. Other financial support will come from the Hancock County Commission, City of Weirton, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Regional Planning Commission.

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