Large Block of 95K Acres Available for Lease in OH Utica Shale

A private firm representing landowners with 95,000 acres in southeastern Ohio issued a press release yesterday essentially saying, “Hey, we’re still here, and we still have 95,000 acres to lease to some lucky driller.” The land is located in Washington, Athens, Meigs, Muskingum, and Perry counties in southeastern Ohio.

MDN is not in the habit of running this kind of “news,” but we are today because a) it helps the landowners, and b) it’s more or less a large landowner group—even though it’s a for-profit venture. And so, without further ado:

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Utica Shale Permits/Drilling Expand in Eastern Ohio

The latest stats for Utica Shale drilling in the three-county region of Muskingum, Guernsey and Noble in Ohio: Guernsey County now has 12 permits, 2 of which are already producing natural gas. Muskingum County has 3 permits. And Noble County has 12 permits, 7 of which are currently being drilled.

Statewide, the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) has issued 285 horizontal Utica Shale drilling permits, with 92 wells drilled, 14 of those wells now producing.

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Businesses Form Coalition to Reach Drilling Industry in OH

Businesses in Muskingum County, Ohio are banding together to form a coalition to market themselves to the Utica Shale drilling industry that’s just getting started in the area.

Backed by the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce, the new group, called the Muskingum Oil and Gas Coalition, currently has 28 member companies. They want to get to 130 members. Members pay $300 per year in dues to fund the new group.

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Utica Shale Drilling Causes Unemployment Drop in Eastern OH

The Coshocton County, Ohio unemployment rate has been stubbornly high, but now it’s starting to move lower. In May of this year the unemployment rate for Coshocton stood at 9.3 percent. It was 10.2 percent in April, one month earlier. And if you go back a year to May 2011, it was 11.3 percent. In fact, the current 9.3 percent rate is the lowest rate seen in Coshocton County since 2008.

What’s caused the Coshocton unemployment rate to go 2 percent lower in just one year? Yep, much of it can be credited to Utica Shale drilling.

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New Gas-Fired Electric Power Plant in Ohio

Another story about how electric generating plants are switching from coal to natural gas. This one comes from Ohio, where Appalachian Power brought a newly completed gas-fired plant in February near Dresden. Why switch from coal to gas? It’s all in the economics. The cost of coal has skyrocketed from $43.75 per ton in 2007 to $63.78 in 2011, an increase of 46 percent. At the same time, natural gas has gone from over $14 per million Btus to around $2.70 today. Need we say more?

But at what price is it more economical to use coal rather than natural gas? Thanks to Appalachian Power, we now know.

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Halliburton Buys Land in OH for Utica Shale Operations Center

Halliburton has just purchased 178 acres in the EastPointe Business Park in Washington Township near Zanesville, Ohio. The company plans to build an operations center at the location servicing companies drilling in the Utica Shale. The new operations center is expected to create 300 jobs within the next three years.

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