New Wells Permitted for Columbiana, Lawrence

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – State agencies that regulate oil and gas activity in Ohio and Pennsylvania have approved three new permits for horizontal wells in the northern tier of the Utica shale – two in Columbiana County and one in Lawrence County in western Pennsylvania.

The Columbiana County wells are slated for the Summitcrest farm in Franklin Township and were awarded to Chesapeake Exploration LLC, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy Corp., according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The new permits were issued just two weeks after two potential class action lawsuits – one filed in U.S. District Court and another in Columbiana Court of Common Pleas – that are spearheaded by landowners in Columbiana County.

Landowners say they are being cheated out of royalty payments by Chesapeake, alleging the company has fraudulently deducted costs from their royalty checks and underreporting how much gas is being produced from wells they have interests in, according to court papers.

The two Chesapeake wells are the first permits approved for Columbiana County since June.

Across the state line in Pennsylvania, Hilcorp Energy Co. was awarded a new permit to drill a horizontal well in Lawrence County, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Hilcorp’s well, approved Nov. 3., is targeted for the Fisher property in Pulaski Township.

In all, 16 new permits were issued in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale last week, ODNR reports. With the exception of the two Columbiana County wells, all of the permits were slated for Belmont County in the southern portion of the shale play, where energy companies have found wells to be more productive.

Aside from the two Chesapeake wells, Gulfport Energy Corp. and Rice Drilling LLC each received five permits to drill wells in Belmont County, while XTO Energy Inc. received three permits. Ascent Resources LLC received a single permit to drill in Belmont.

Since 2010, 2,078 permits have been issued in Ohio’s Utica for horizontal wells, 1,635 are drilled, and 1,034 of these wells are in production.

According to ODNR, 20 rigs were operating in the Utica during the week ended Nov. 7, down from a rig count of 21 the previous week.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.