2012 seemed to be the year that the much hyped growth in oil and gas exploration finally started to take hold. Based on analysis of data from the Department of Natural Resources, 405 permits were issued for hydraulic well sites during 2012 compared to just 102 from 2006 through 2011. In 2012, the overwhelming majority of drilling permits were granted to developers wishing to drill into the Utica shale.
As you can see in table one, and on the Innovation Ohio fracking map, the vast majority of drilling is happening in eastern Ohio but some counties as far west as Medina, Muskingum, and Wayne also saw wells receive permits. Carroll County led all counties with 146 wells receiving permits in 2012. This amount is more than double the number of wells that received permits in Harrison County, 62, during the same time period.
What’s most interesting about these findings is the geographic consolidation of the wells. Three counties, Carroll, Harrison, and Columbiana, account for over half of all permits issues in 2012. Considering that shale development has long been hyped as an economic boom to eastern Ohio as a whole it will be important to keep an eye on whether development is located in only a few select counties or across the entire region.
Table 2 shows the ten developers who received the most permits for shale exploration in 2012. Chesapeake energy was far and away the most aggressive developer in terms of securing permits last year with 252 permits. The developer with the second most permits was Gulfpoint energy with only 25.