Chevron is the latest large energy company to purchase leases in the Ohio Valley for shale gas drilling. Recently, Hess paid $1.34 billion to acquire acreage in eastern Ohio, and Exxon Mobil subsidiary XTO Energy is now signing up landowners in Belmont County, OH for Utica Shale drilling (see this MDN story). Just across the border, Chevron is investing in Ohio County, WV and now controls 4,400 acres there.
"Having companies like Chevron and Exxon here gives credence to the shale plays," said Tim Greene, owner of Land and Mineral Management of Appalachia. "You assume they have the financial support to stand behind their deals."
According to records in the Ohio County Clerk’s Office, California-based Chevron…took over about 170 individual leases from AB Resources, the largest of which is a 713-acre parcel in the West Liberty area. Most of the acreage is in the northern and central portions of the county, primarily in the areas near West Liberty and Triadelphia.
Two of the leaseholders, who asked not to be named, confirmed that AB Resources notified them that the leases would be assigned to Chevron.
According to the clerk’s office, all of the leases were signed with AB Resources, NPAR, or TriEnergy Holdings. NPAR is a leasing arm of AB Resources, as both companies are based in Brecksville, Ohio. TriEnergy is a leasing company based in Sewickley, Pa.
All of the agreements on file in the clerk’s office feature the signatures of AB Chief Executive Officer Gordon Yonel and Chevron official George Kokolis.
Officials with AB could not be reached for comment. Chevron media advisor Russell Johnson said, "We have not announced any transaction related to AB Resources."*
*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Sep 20, 2011) – Chevron Takes Over Leases