Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story suggested the more than 1,000 permits issued for shale drilling was for 2013, making the number nearly double the amount first projected. But actually that number is for permits issued since 2009. This story has been revised to reflect the actual numbers for this year, which are still higher than expected but not at twice the predicted rate as first reported. We regret the error.
2013 ends with more shale drilling permits issued for the Utica Shale play than first expected. As ideastream's Brian Bull reports, the news is encouraging for Ohio backers of natural gas exploration and production.
Earlier this year, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources projected 525 permits for shale drilling.
That would’ve been a modest increase from 2012’s total of 376.
But a spokesman with the state DNR says 571 permits have been issued this year, for a total of 1,015 permits issued to 30 companies since 2009, operating in much of eastern Ohio.
“Crossing that thousand-permit threshold is pretty exciting,” says Mike Chadsey, who heads public relations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA). He says the higher-than-expected increase shows great interest in exploring gas and oil reserves in the state.
As for his expectations in the coming year?
“2014’s going to be the year that will really tell us what this Utica Play’s going to do,” says Chadsey. “That’s when our processing facilities’ gonna come online. We’re going to flip the switch, and actually see what these wells they have drilled, what kind of production we’re going to get out of them.”
There’s also activity in the Marcellus Shale area, though there’s much less of it underneath Ohio than the Utica.
This year’s permits to drill in the Marcellus number only 35.
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