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Guernsey County and three neighboring counties rank in Ohio’s top 10 for Utica shale gas and oil production.
Mike Chadsey, director of public relations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, shared these statistics with attendees of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce’s April 6 Coffee & Commerce informational meeting.
“We have the lowest cost natural gas in the industrialized world,” he said. “If you put the Appalachian basin as its own country, we would be the third largest natural gas producer in the world.”
As of April 1, Guernsey County ranks sixth with 193 wells permitted. Noble County slots in as fifth, with 209 permitted wells. Harrison and Belmont counties occupy the third and second spots with 385 and 403 permitted wells, respectively.
Wearing the crown is Carroll County. In the county are 509 permitted wells.
The top 10 producing counties — which also includes Monroe (fourth) and Columbiana, Jefferson, Mahoning and Washington counties (seventh through 10th, respectively) — account for 2,393 permitted wells combined. The area has 1,911 drilled wells, with 1,525 producing.
Chadsey discussed five pipeline projects in the region, either pending, approved, under construction or operating. Collectively they will span 1,272 miles and represent an $8.168 billion investment capable of delivering 6.75 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.
The gas will, among other things, fuel a dozen new natural gas power plants, including the Guernsey Power Station in Guernsey County. The project was recently announced. A $1 billion investment, the plant will produce 1,650 megawatts and serve 1,000,000 households, creating 525 construction jobs.
Collectively, the dozen power plants represent a $10.02 billion investment in the Buckeye State. Output will be 11,702 megawatts, able to serve 9.8 million households. The projects will require 6,765 construction-related jobs.
Some of the natural gas will make its way to new ethane cracker plants. A trio are in the works: one is approved in Beaver County, Pa.; a Wood County, W.Va., plant is stalled; approval of the Belmont County plant is pending, Chadsey said.
Collectively, the three plants represent a $15 billion investment.
Combined, the pipelines, power plants and cracker plants represent more than $33 billion in investments.
Chadsey also discussed the “ad valorem” tax revenues generated by the gas and oil industry. In the top six producing counties — Belmont, Harrison, Noble and Guernsey counties locally — $43.7 million has been paid, all paid to local governments and school districts.
Between 2016 and 2026, as much as $250 million is expected to be paid in taxes in the top six counties.
Property taxes paid per local county are as follows:
To further understand the impact of the gas and oil industry locally, consider the $2 million “pre-shale” budget of the East Guernsey Local School District more than doubled “post-shale” to $4.1 million, Chadsey said.
The Eastern Ohio Development Alliance sponsored the event. Executive Director James R. Schoch was on hand.
The Southgate Hotel hosted the Coffee & Commerce. The next event is slated to be held May 4 with presented Norm Shade of ACI Services.
Dan Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.