Drilling Down

ODNR Issues Single Permit to Drill in Utica

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued just a single permit for a horizontal well in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale play last week, a barometer as to how the oil and gas industry has struggled over the last 12 months.

Chesapeake Exploration LLC, a division of Chesapeake Energy Corp., received a permit to drill a new horizontal well in Jefferson County, ODNR said.

There were no other permits issued across other counties in the Utica, including Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties in the northern tier of the oil and gas play.

Nor were there new permits issued in the neighboring counties of Lawrence or Mercer across the border in western Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The rig count in Ohio stood at 14 throughout the Utica during the week ended Jan. 16, unchanged from the previous week. Compared to the same period last year, ODNR recorded 35 rigs in operation and more than 50 on a weekly basis in late December 2014.

Energy companies have backed off drilling and production of natural gas and oil since oil prices started their free fall in October 2014. Oil fell below $27 per barrel as of Wednesday.

To date, the state has issued 2,118 permits in Ohio’s Utica, of which 1,670 are drilled, and 1,125 are in production.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.