County gets first gas well in 18 months

LISBON — Columbiana County has its first new gas well site in 18 months.

Hilcorp Energy Corp. received a permit May 30 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to drill three wells on the Scheel property on state Route 517 in Elkrun Township. Scheel represents the first new permitted drilling site in the county since December 2015.

This increases the number of drilling sites in the county to 86 and the number of permitted wells at those locations to 148. Of those, 80 have been drilled and 60 are producing, according to the ODNR.

Elkrun Township now has eight drilling sites, with Hanover Township still the leader at 14, followed by Fairfield Township, at 11. The number of drilling sites for the other townships: Butler, 6; Center, 7; Franklin, 10; Knox, 4; Madison, 2; Middleton, 6; Salem Township, 6; Unity Township, 3; Washington Township, 4; Wayne Township, 1; West Township, 2; and Yellow Creek Township, 2.

In related news, a study by Cleveland State University shows the Utica shale boom spending in eastern Ohio totaled $50.4 billion between 2011 and mid 2016= This includes what was spent not only by drilling companies but on pipelines and collection/processing plants and on the development of petrochemical and electric plants powered by natural gas, according to Energy In Depth, a trade group for the natural gas industry.

“Remarkably, these figures could prove to be conservative, as several recent and/or relevant projects were not included in the report,” wrote EID’s Jackie Stewart.

The report also noted this occurred during a period when oil and gas production in the Utica shale slowed significantly because of low commodity prices.

Drilling companies spent most of that money — $38.8 billion –acquiring land, drilling, roads and gathering, which included $372 million on leases and $1.6 billion for royalties. A total of $798 million was spent in the county in those categories, which ranked seventh. Tops is Carroll County, at $4.8 million.

Chesapeake Exploration, as the largest leaseholder in the county, remains by far the biggest player in Ohio, having 771 of the 1,776 wells permitted during that five-year period covered in the report, with Gulfport Energy a distant second at 247 wells. Chesapeake has also spent the most, at $7.3 billion.

The Steubenville Herald-Star, a sister publication to the newspaper, quoted a Chesapeake official last week who said they will be focusing immediate efforts on Carroll and Jefferson counties.


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