Local counties benefiting from drilling

THE PIPELINES throughout Ohio are flowing like never before, and Eastern Ohio is a big part of the reason why.

The Buckeye State’s natural gas production has nearly doubled from 2012 to 2013, fueled by the spike in the shale industry.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources released data for 352 horizontal shale wells that reported production in 2013. The wells drilled in the Utica and Marcellus shale produced 3.6 million barrels of oil and 100 billion cubic feet of gas.

The ODNR reports that on average, Ohio’s oil and gas production increased approximately 65 percent quarter to quarter from first quarter 2013 to first quarter 2014.

Those totals are boosted by rising production here in Eastern Ohio.

Belmont County coffers have benefited in major proportions from oil and gas. Rice Energy alone has delivered the county nearly $6.5 million in just the last several months.

That speaks volumes of the drilling industry’s impact in the Ohio Valley.

As of June 30, Belmont County has seen its number of producing wells rise to 22. In addition, 30 wells have been drilled and 60 more permitted.

It is safe to say, that in the foreseeable future, Belmont County will be experiencing impressive economic growth.

“The growth of the shale drilling in Belmont County continues to move at a fast pace. It is very clear now that the county is at the forefront of much of the future drilling in Eastern Ohio and the commission continues to look forward to the future business and economic growth it will bring to Belmont County,” sound Belmont County Commissioner?Mark?Thomas. “It is great to be able to support and help new business earn their start in Belmont County as they complement all of our existing, deeply-rooted businesses. The domino effect of new and old business is churning a great Belmont County economy today and will in future years.”

Harrison County, meanwhile, has felt the shale boom better than any of our local counties, where 60 wells are active. Ninety more have been drilled with 83 additional under permit.

Jefferson and Monroe counties are at the other end of the spectrum. Monroe has 13 active wells and Jefferson just 12. Monroe, meanwhile, has 42 others drilled compared to just 15 for Jefferson County.

Two neighboring counties are enjoying solid pipeline productivity. Noble and Guernsey counties have 33 and 30 active wells, respectively. Noble also has 43 more wells drilled, 18 more than Guernsey.

Carroll County is the mother of all oil and gas drilling, home to 209 operating wells.

ODNR projects all oil and gas wells in Ohio produced 8 million barrels of oil and 171 billion cubic feet of gas in 2013. Compared to 2012, Ohio’s total oil production increased by 62 percent and natural gas production increased by 97 percent. The percentage increase in natural gas production is the largest in Ohio history, and the total production is the fourth highest annual total in state history.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.com