Just What is Cabot Looking for in Ohio – NatGas, Oil or NGLs?

Two days ago MDN revealed which rock layers Cabot Oil & Gas is targeting with new test wells in central Ohio (see New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio). Today we answer the question, What does Cabot hope to find? Cabot representative Brittany Ramos told an area newspaper that the company is looking for, “a hydrocarbon, an oil, natural gas, natural gas liquid, something, in the layers below the Utica Shale, but the only way to find that out is to actually drill a well and test.” In other words, they don’t know. They know *something* is down there, but they aren’t sure what. We suspect they’re hoping it’s either oil or NGLs. Cabot, long known for their prolific natural gas production in Susquehanna County, PA, had a previous dalliance with oil drilling in the Texas Eagle Ford shale play–assets they ended up selling in December 2017 (see Cabot O&G Sells Texas Eagle Ford Assets for $765M, Focus on Marc.). Does the company have a renewed interest in finding oil? Perhaps. If not oil, certainly NGLs. We seriously doubt they’re looking for yet another dry gas zone. Below is yet another update on Cabot’s foray into central OH. It is one of the more fair and balanced articles we’ve read. Yes, the reporter interviewed a representative from the faux “landowner group” called the Tri-County Landowners Coalition–in reality an anti-fossil fuel group controlled by elements of the Big Green movement (see Fake Ohio Landowner Groups Launch Misinformation Campaign). In this article the reporter actually asks Cabot to respond to the wild claims made by the Tri-County rep, point for point. Cabot obliterates the anti’s arguments…
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New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio

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Cabot Oil & Gas director of external affairs, George Stark, recently spoke to the Ashland Times-Gazette about the company’s plans to drill test wells in and around Ashland County, OH. As MDN previously reported, Cabot is sniffing around central Ohio, looking for “what’s next” after the Marcellus Shale. Last December we told you that Cabot has leased acreage in Ashland County (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). Two weeks ago we told you that Cabot has filed for its first permit to drill a test well (see Cabot Files for Permit to Drill Below the Utica in Ashland, OH). Stark revealed, in his interview, that Cabot geologists “see something in Ohio” and that Cabot “wants to go touch it.” What, exactly, does Cabot want to touch? We originally thought it was the Utica, but Stark told MDN no, it’s not the Utica–but a layer “lower than the Utica.” However, Stark won’t say specifically which layer or layers. We now think we know. We also learn (from the article) that Cabot has acreage not only in Ashland, but in four neighboring counties too…
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Update on What’s (Not) Happening in Wayne, Holmes Counties in OH

Early on, way back in 2010, landowners in Wayne and Holmes counties along the western reaches of the Utica Shale play in Ohio received a lot of interest–and offers–to lease their land. For a time it seemed promising. Some landowners signed on for under $100 per acre as a signing bonus, which at the time seemed like a good deal. Some got paid as much as $2,500 per acre to sign. Today, for landowners in the “sweet spot” of the Utica in places like Belmont, Guernsey and Harrison counties, it’s not uncommon to receive $5,000 or more per acre as a signing bonus.

Devon Energy was one of the early drillers to get permits in Ashland, Wayne and Holmes counties. But then it all went sideways for Devon when they didn’t get good results from the early test wells they drilled in the region. Devon threw in the towel in the Ohio Utica and put their (considerable) acreage up for sale (see Devon Energy Puts 240K Acres of Utica Shale Leases Up for Sale). What’s been happening in Wayne and Holmes over the past few years? Not much–and it appears it will stay that way for some time to come…
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Landowners: Make Lease Payments You Receive Tax-Free

MDN ran across a story in the local Zanesville, Ohio newspaper that makes an interesting boast. A group of three financial advice firms have joined forces to offer workshops for landowners in the Coshocton, OH area that supposedly instructs landowners on how to save “virtually every tax dollar” on lease bonus payments. The technique, which involves setting up some sort of special legal structure, will also “save taxes” on royalty payments. We are 100% in favor of landowners keeping their money!

But, is it too good to be true? We don’t know. However, it does sound interesting, and if you live somewhere in the Coshocton vicinity, we’d encourage you to check it out. Let us know if you do…

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