Commissioners profit from drilling boom

LISBON – Columbiana County commissioners are another $195,020 richer because of the oil and gas drilling boom.

Commissioners on Wednesday certified receiving $195,020 from Harvest Pipeline in exchange for granting the company an easement for pipelines to be run across county farm property in Center Township.

Harvest Pipeline provides midstream services – processing, storage and transportation – for the oil and gas industry. Harvest is an affiliate of the Hilcorp Energy Co., one of the nation’s largest privately held oil and gas producers.

This is the second such lease with a midstream company for the same property. In 2012, commissioners granted an easement to Cardinal Gas Services for a pipeline to be extended under county farm property, with the county receiving $72,000.

Commissioner Mike Halleck, who was given authority by his colleagues to negotiate and approve all oil and gas related contracts, said Harvest agreed to pay about $25 per linear foot for a 50-foot wide right-of-way.

Unlike the Cardinal easement, the Harvest agreement was never run through a commissioners’ meeting to be made part of the meeting minutes. “I normally try to put that through a meeting, but I might not have,” Halleck said.

Commissioners have no immediate plans for the money, which they transferred to the county capital improvement budget. “It’s good news because it means additional funding for the county,” Halleck said.

In other action at the meeting, commissioners scheduled a public hearing date of April 2 for a request from Mark Perry of Middleton Township to close the dead-end section Gaston Road that runs past his property.

Perry, who owns the property on both sides, filed a similar request last year but it was later pulled because township trustees were concerned about whether there was sufficient room for their snow-plow driver to turn around. That problem was addressed with Perry’s amended petition.