Ohio County, WV is reaping the rewards of leasing county-owned land for Marcellus gas drilling. The county’s land leases with Chesapeake Energy have already resulted in nearly $8 million in one-time lease payments for the county coffers, and soon will mean royalty payments too. Chesapeake has already completed a well on private land adjacent to (and drilling under) county land in The Highlands area. But gas from that well has not yet started to flow due to a delay in getting a pipeline built to the well. Once the pipeline is in place, the county will start receiving royalty checks from that well.
And within the next 12 months, Chesapeake will drill a new well, this time directly on county-owned land at the airport:
Within the next year, Chesapeake Energy plans to drill for natural gas on property beyond the runway at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport.
The land – owned by the Ohio County Commission – was leased to Chesapeake as part of the deal county officials signed with the driller last year, which has already yielded commissioners $7.85 million on lease payments at $3,600 per acre. County officials will gain 18.75 percent of production royalties once gas starts flowing.
"We anticipate drilling activity to begin in mid-2012. However, our drilling schedules often change based on a number of factors," said Chesapeake Director of Corporate Development Stacey Brodak.*
*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Aug 16, 2011) – Gas Drilling to Begin at Airport