Columbiana County, OH Signs Lease with Chesapeake for Marcellus Drilling – Gets $1.3 Million Signing Bonus

Columbiana County, Ohio has signed a lease with Chesapeake Energy on 568 acres of county-owned land, receiving $1.3 million in a signing bonus.

Columbiana County has decided to get in on the Marcellus Shale boom.

It will lease the oil and gas rights to 568 acres of county-owned land to Chesapeake Energy.

"Currently it looks like a $1.3 million windfall. Up front for five years with a 17.5 percent royalty on the back end of that," said Columbiana County Commissioner Penny Traina.

The biggest portion of the land is at the county jail complex. At a time when funding is tight and the county is set to lose up to $2 million in local government fund money as the state phases it out, commissioners have decided not to use the $1.3 million to offset that.

"We’ve agreed that it won’t be going into the general fund. In terms of what many refer to as one-time stimulus funds. That’s not what this is about. This is so that all the taxpayers will benefit by putting it into their county’s infrastructure," said Commissioner Michael Halleck.

Part of the money will be used to make building improvements as they are needed and the rest toward acquiring grants.

"We are looking at using those monies for economic development. As you are well aware, a lot of times Columbiana County can’t get in the game when it comes to the federal and state matches for funding because we don’t have those monies in the county. So we will be using those monies for economic development," Traina said.*

*WYTV Channel 33 (Jul 15, 2011) – Columbiana County Cashing In on Gas Drilling Boom