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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued nine horizontal permits for the Utica shale region during the week ended March 25, the agency reports.

All nine permits were issued for wells in Belmont County in the southern portion of the play, where oil and gas production is the strongest.

ODNR awarded six permits to Rice Drilling LLC, Gulfport Energy Corp. was issued two permits, while XTO Energy Inc. secured a single permit to drill.

The rig count for the week stood at 20, one less than the previous week, ODNR reported.

As of March 25, ODNR has issued 2,432 permits for horizontal wells in the Utica. Of that number, 1,937 wells have been drilled and 1,532 are in production.

There were no new permits issued for the northern tier of the Utica, which encompasses Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio, and Lawrence and Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.