The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently released an updated map showing their best guess as to where the best prospects are for Utica Shale drilling in the state (a copy of the map is embedded below). And boy oh boy, is that map creating a buzz! Some residents are excited that their property may now become highly desirable to be leased for drilling, and other residents are discouraged that their properties, once thought desirable, may be less so now.
Larry Wickstrom, one of four men involved in developing the map, says he is a little flabbergasted by all the attention it is getting.
The map is “just the addition of new information … and fine-tuning what we have,” he said. It is merely the state’s best guess as to what might be found thousands of feet underground.
Areas outside the main development area could still be productive, he advised, and the map probably will change as state geologists get even more information.
The map, relying on new data, shows a slightly different footprint in eastern Ohio for Utica shale, identifying a core area for drilling that covers 10.8 million acres from Ashtabula County south into Guernsey County.
Much of the drilling in Ohio has been located in Carroll, Harrison, Columbiana and Jefferson counties. Those four counties generally rate good to very good, according to the new data.
Summit, Medina, Wayne and Portage counties are all in the good area. Most of Cuyahoga, Lake and Lorain counties are now excluded.*
So far energy companies have drilled 60 Utica gas wells in Ohio, with permits to drill an additional 194 approved by the state. Estimates are that over 2,000 wells will be drilled in the Utica in Ohio by 2015, so we’re just at the beginning of major drilling activity. It means there’s a lot on the line for landowners who want to lease their land—and maps like this one will play a part in whether or not they lease, and if they do, how much money they will receive. So contrary to the flabbergasted ODNR rep, it’s no surprise to MDN that there’s a big buzz over this latest map.
*Akron (OH) Beacon Journal (Apr 24, 2012) – New map showing revised gas-oil drilling prospects in Ohio creates stir