9 Years Later Fracking Set to Begin in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest (WNF) is the only national forest in Ohio and portions of it are found in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Lawrence, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Back in 2012 MDN told you that the U.S Forest Service, after holding up drilling in WNF since 2006, had cleared the way to allow fracking to begin (see Fracking Coming to Wayne National Forest in SE OH). Then any potential fracking came to a screeching halt because it was delayed by yet another federal agency–the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Since 2012 the BLM has moved like a snail, but finally (finally!) the BLM has scheduled public scoping hearings for Nov. 17, 18 and 19. Things are moving once again. Once the hearings are done, there will no reason not to move forward with plans to drill (and frack!) in the WNF…
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Bubblin’ Oil at Site of PDC Well Blowout in Morgan County, OH?

An update to a story we’ve tracked since early May. PDC Energy had begun drilling several Utica wells in Morgan County, OH when one of the wells had an accident and spilled drilling mud on the drill pad, overflowing off the pad (see PDC Accident: Drilling Mud Spills into Creek in Morgan County, OH). A quick investigation determined that the blowout preventer failed (see Blowout Preventer Failed at Morgan County, OH Utica Well Site). We have an update on that well and two other wells located on the same pad…
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Blowout Preventer Failed at Morgan County, OH Utica Well Site

We now have a few more bits of information about the drilling accident last week in Morgan County, OH (for background, see PDC Accident: Drilling Mud Spills into Creek in Morgan County, OH). At least two safety measures, including the well blowout preventer, failed to contain the gas and drilling mud from coming back out of the borehole after PDC Energy hit a pocket of natural gas while drilling…
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PDC Accident: Drilling Mud Spills into Creek in Morgan County, OH

In the hubbub of news that comes from Utica Shale drilling in eastern Ohio, one county we don’t hear much about is Morgan County (southeast part of the state, below Muskingum County and left of Noble County). So it was with interest we noted last November that PDC Energy was issued permits to drill three wells in Morgan County (see Morgan County, OH Looks to Join the Utica Shale Well Club). The drilling has been under way and we didn’t know it! Except now.

Last week there was a “mishap” at the drill site for one of the wells and about 140 barrels of drilling mud spilled at the site (something like 5,800 gallons). Around 100 barrels of the semi-liquid mud was contained on the drill pad, but about 40 barrels spilled into a nearby creek where it was contained. Apparently PDC hit a pocket of gas which escaped and forced the mud out of the hole faster than they could contain it. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources is now investigating to determine whether PDC can move forward with drilling or will need to plug that well and abandon it. Here’s what we know at the moment…
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Morgan County, OH Looks to Join the Utica Shale Well Club

So far Morgan County, OH (south of Muskingum County, west of Noble County) has been quiet with respect to Utica Shale drilling. We’ve heard nothing. However, in November, Petroleum Development Corporation (PDC) obtained three Utica Shale permits in Center Township, Morgan County. Depending on the results of those three wells, more may be on the way.

In addition to the first three Utica wells to be drilled in Morgan by PDC, another surprise (to MDN): There’s a landowner group in Morgan County we were not aware of–the Morgan County Landowner Group (MCLG)–which incorporated as a non-profit in 2012 and already has 60,000+ acres…
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Encore Energy to Anadarko: We’ve Got OH Land for You

A for-profit company that pools acreage from both landowners that want to lease their land, and from energy companies with leases who want to re-sell those leases, is trying to get the attention of Anadarko and other drillers in the Ohio Utica Shale. Encore Energy issued a press release yesterday announcing they have land available for lease. They specifically tap Anadarko on the shoulder to tell them they have 1,300 Utica Shale acres “just 3 miles” from land they’re already drilling on in Washington County, OH.

Encore is shopping more than 18,000 acres across a number of Ohio counties, including Morgan, Washington, Noble, Guernsey, Monroe, Athens and Meigs. Here’s their “hey Anadarko, pay attention” press release:

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