SALEM, Ohio — Carroll County leads the pack with the number of permits issued in March for drilling Utica shale wells in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Of the 175 drilling permits issued statewide in the Utica Shale since January 2011, 60 have been issued to Carroll County sites.
There were 11 permits issued in Carroll County during March. Two were issued to R. E. Gas Development, and the remainder went to Chesapeake Exploration.
One permit was issued in Belmont County to Hess Ohio Resources for a site in Wheeling Township.
In Columbiana County, a total of nine permits were issued last month. All of them were issued to Chesapeake Exploration.
A permit for Summitcrest Farms in Columbiana County was officially reissued March 21 as well. It was pulled by Chesapeake Exploration because of an ongoing lawsuit between the two entities.
Six permits were issued in Harrison County. Five were issued to Chesapeake Exploration, and one was issued to Gulfport Energy Corporation. Two of the permits were issued for the Jewett Sportsman’s Club, which has been involved with a lawsuit over whether Chesapeake can drill horizontally across the property to reach the neighboring land.
Stark County appears to be heating up in the Utica Shale race as well. There were four permits issued. One was to Enervest Operating, and three were to Chesapeake Exploration.
There were three drilling permits issued in Jefferson County and all of them were to Chesapeake Exploration.
Three were three permits issued in Monroe County in Washington Township. All of them were issued to HG Energy.
Enervest Operating was issued a permit in Madison Township in Muskingum County.
In Portage County, one permit was issued to Chesapeake Exploration for a site in Freedom Township.
In addition, two permits were reissued in Noble County for two wells. The permits were originally issued in 2011 but had expired.
There are 20 Utica shale wells waiting to be fracked in Ohio, according to the ODNR.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a technique used in the gas industry to describe the process for opening rock layers to free natural gas.
In Pennsylvania, there were a total of 748 Marcellus shale well permits issued between Jan. 1 and March 30, 2012.
Bradford and Lycoming counties had more than 100 permits issued there. Butler County had over 25 and Clearfield has over 40 issued. Greene County has almost 40 Marcellus shale drilling permits issued there.
Meanwhile, there were 379 Marcellus shale wells drilled in Pennsylvania since the beginning of 2012. Lycoming County had more than 50 Marcellus shale wells drilled along with Bradford County and Washington counties.
Of the wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale layer, however, at least 1,000 have not been fracked, according to Kristen Holmquist, manager for natural gas liquids with Bentek Energy.