Oil Prospects Wane, Natural Gas Still Booming

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The Ohio Department of Natural Resources once estimated the Utica Shale under Ohio contained $500 billion in oil reserves. Some companies contend the venture is a bust, but others are sticking around despite the poor oil offering.

According to a recent Bloomberg.com article “Ohio’s $500 Billion Oil Dream Fades as Utica Turns Gassy,” oil companies like Chesapeake Energy are putting their acres up for sale. While that may be true, Trumbull County officials have seen a dramatic upswing in business by gas companies, particularly BP and Halcon.

“It seems we are getting new requests for RUMA (Road Use Maintenance Agreement) every week. I’ve got two over the last two weeks. Got a report from both Halcon and BP,” said RUMA coordinator Jack Simon. “I got 19 wells on the books for Trumbull County from now through the end of the year all over the county. Four of those are active now.”

BP pubic affairs spokesperson Curtis Thomas said the company has drilled four test wells this month in Trumbull County, and they expect to have 10 to 20 test wells drilled by the end of the year. He said the recent report has no effect on BP’s presence in the Valley.

“Here, we are really interested in the rich liquid natural gas, so that’s our play,” said Thomas. “So, when we hear other companies packing up because they didn’t strike it rich in the oil business, that is not why we were here in the first place.”

Thomas said they hope to have the results from the test drills back by the beginning of next year.

“Then we will be able to make long term plans about our permanent presence here,” Thomas said. “If this play turns out to be as profitable and as wonderful as we hope.”

In about 10 days, test results from the Halcon’s Brugler well in Hartford should be in and will reveal the potential of that site.

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