SALEM, Ohio — While permits are still being sought in the Utica shale region, the real story may be in the number of wells waiting to be fracked.
Hydraulic fracturing is a process commonly used in oil development. It is a technique that cracks open rock layers to free natural gas.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (link takes you to PDF and not a website) Utica Shale activity report, there are at least 40 wells waiting to be fracked in Ohio. There are 12 sites in Carroll County and 10 in Columbiana County waiting in line to be fracked. In addition, seven wells in Jefferson County are waiting, two each in Harrison, Noble, Portage and Stark counties, along with one each in Medina, Monroe and Tuscarawas counties.
Harrison County was the county with the most permits issued during July, with five new permits, according to the ODNR. There are 24 total permits issued to date in the county, and so far there are six wells drilled with one producing. There were three permits were issued to Chesapeake Exploration LLC, and two to Hess Ohio Development LLC.
Meanwhile, four new permits were issued in Carroll County, bringing the total number of permits there up to 100. There are 36 wells drilled in Carroll County as of July 23 and nine are producing. All of the new permits were issued to Chesapeake Exploration.
In Columbiana County, three permits were issued in July. Two of the permits issued were to Chesapeake Exploration and one permit was issued to a new player in Ohio, Sierra Resources LLC, to the Kiko Farm. There are now a total of 47 total permits and 19 drilled wells. There are two wells producing in Columbiana County as of the end of July, according to the ODNR.
Two permits were issued in Guernsey County, along with one permit issued in Jefferson and Portage counties. There are three producing wells in Guernsey County.
The permits in Guernsey County were issued to PDC Energy Inc. and Hess Ohio Development LLC. In Jefferson County, the permit was issued to Chesapeake Exploration. And in Portage County, a new name received a permit. It is the first one listed in the state under the name Mountaineer Keystone LLC.
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According to the ODNR, there are 297 permits issued in Ohio.(To examine the activity in June, click here.)
In the Marcellus shale layer, two permits were issued in Monroe County in July. The permits were issued to Triad Hunter LLC, and to Protege Energy II LLC.
In Pennsylvania, Tioga County was issued the most permits, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. There were 27 issued in Tioga and 25 issued in Clearfield County.
A total of 15 permits for new wells was issued in Washington County and 14 in Greene County.
In Bradford County, where the initial shale drilling began, five more well drilling permits were issued. In Butler County, there were two permits issued.
Other counties with permits issued included: Armstrong, 2; Centre, 3; Fayette, 1; Forest, 2; Potter, 1; Somerset, 5; Sullivan, 1; Susquehanna, 1; Westmoreland, 5; and Venango, 1.