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Valley drilling on the move

Published: Mon, November 21, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

Surge in gas, oil leases in region follows a fast northeasterly path


Oil-drilling derricks such as this one, outside Carrollton in Carroll County, could soon start appearing throughout the Mahoning Valley, based on an uptick in signed leases, especially in southeast Mahoning County. The boom in such leases has begun to spread to western townships.

By Karl Henkel



Like a well-structured house, the Mahoning Valley oil and gas foray started from the bottom.

And after a leasing bonanza for much of the past two years in Columbiana County, recent activity in Mahoning and Trumbull counties is building upon that foundation.

Companies could soon blow the roof off the oil and gas boom. The Associated Landowners of the Ohio Valley, a nonprofit landowner advocate, is prepared to offer 75,000 acres of Trumbull County land — the single-highest one-county acreage total in Ohio — to the highest bidder.

If an agreement is reached, presumably with an oil and gas giant, it would follow a northeasterly trend of lease acquisitions in the Valley.

Research by The Vindicator of lease agreements shows that big shale players such as Chesapeake Energy Corp., after starting in Columbiana County, quickly gobbled up land in western Mahoning County and now has targeted the county’s eastern townships.

Springfield, Green, Beaver and Poland townships have been the most heavily sought after, according to Vindicator research of Mahoning County lease agreements.

Of the 1,339 lease agreement signed in the county this year through Oct. 31, 889 of those have been inked with Chesapeake, and half have been signed in those four townships.

Springfield leads all townships with 141 signed permits; Green has 128, Beaver has 114 and Poland has 63.

Landowners in the southeast corridor of Poland have reported heavy lease lobbying from Chesapeake.

Noralynn Palermo, Mahoning County recorder, has had a front-row seat to most of the leasing action.

Leases must be filed at the county courthouse for validation purposes.

“There have been people in here [from the oil and gas industry] for a year,” she said. “But probably about three months ago, it really started.”

It’s a gradual shift away from the western townships including Milton and Goshen, which Chesapeake had previously focused on.

All 10 of Chesapeake’s current drilling permits with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources are within those two townships, and it has already drilled a well in Milton.

That trend, as well as how much it will continue, is hard to document, said Bob Rea, president of ALOV.

“I don’t know how to call this,” he said. “I don’t really see any pattern.”

But in preparation, Rea and other ALOV board members gathered a few hundred Trumbull County residents for a meeting Saturday at W.D. Packard Music Hall in Warren to try to solidify parcels and acreages.

It is not known with whom ALOV will sign. In Trumbull County, Chesapeake has signed about 750 leases with county residents so far this year, the most of any oil and gas company.

Though most landowners would like the leasing process to move quickly so they can reap the benefits of bonus payments that could meet or exceed the $2,250 per acre that have been signed in other Valley leases, they appear content to wait for the best possible offers.

“Patience is important,” said Thomas Elsea, who owns about 35 acres, 10 of which he wants to lease, in Hartford Township. “I’d rather do it right than do it fast.”

Despite the volume of leases and proposed leases, it will not mean hundreds of derricks and drilling wells will appear throughout the Valley overnight.

About four wells can fit on a 640-acre plot, Rea said.


1whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

sugar shacks will also be lined up, following the derricks.

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2howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

There is now an EPA study that proves fracking fluids have contaminated an underground fresh water aquifer.
Read this article about it:

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3howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

"The industry acknowledges that the question of how to handle the waste water that comes from fracking is one of its most pressing problems. In Pennsylvania this problem is particularly acute. Pennsylvania’s geological formations, unlike those of other states where natural-gas drilling has occurred, don’t allow for the usual method of disposal: injection wells that store flowback deep below the earth’s surface. Disposing of the chemical water has meant trucking it to another state or paying local treatment facilities to process it. The facilities, which are not equipped to remove salts, have often sent the frack water back into local rivers. In 2008, a United States Steel plant in Clairton, Pa., complained that the water from the Monongahela River was unfit for use. Loaded with salts, the water tasted and smelled odd and was corroding not only industrial equipment but also dishwashers and kitchen faucets. For several months, the Monongahela River, which provides most people in the Pittsburgh area with drinking water, no longer met state and federal standards. Following a request from the State of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found it would require five times the amount of water in their reservoirs to dilute the river. It took five months to clean it up." from page 6 of the link

"Banks have expressed reluctance to back home mortgages within up to three miles of a well. Whole towns could become brown fields, and home values would drop precipitously." Page 6

From a NY Times article titled The Fracturing of Pennsylvania on Nov. 17, 2011

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4howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

It is a proven fact that pumping liquids under high pressure into deep wells can cause earthquakes! The United States Army proved it!

Another good article about man's ability to create earthquakes.

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5howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

This interactive map shows violations by the industry from public records of 12 states and the nearly complete lack of penalties and enforcement by state and local governments against the drilling and gas industry.


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6howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The waste water from just one well amounts to millions of gallons and there are numerous toxic substances in it including natural radioactive elements from the deep rock formations.

Read this article for more information:

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7howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

English company admits it probably is responsible for Earthquakes.


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8howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Drilling & Gas industry lie about job creation by 900%!


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9catscratch(3 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

To howardinyoungstown, imagine if we had goofy critics such as you at the dawn of the steel industry in Youngstown. There would have been no Youngstown as we knew it, no steel industry, no growth, no jobs, no future. The steel industry would have been stopped before it started because of the fear of "environmental impact". Standards are much higher now. There is very little impact on the environment. The earthquake talk is so over-blown it is silly. Even if your sources are correct, a little rumbling doesn't hurt anything, it isn't like we are going to have a Haiti here.

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10howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Some SW Pennsylvania residents who are living with the consequences of drilling on or near their property.

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11howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

@ Catscratch You raise a valid point, but there is an important difference. In the 1880's at the start of the steel and for that matter oil industries in this area, nobody new the potential for damages to the environment and people's health. In 2011 we do know that there is significant risk to the environment and the health of all living things that depend on the environment from faulty exploitation of the Marsellus and Utica Shale formations.
Everyone should watch these movie trailers

As for Earthquakes, we have a direct fiscal impact here in Mahoning County, as several of these earthquakes have led to evacuations and inspections of the Oakhill county building causing a loss of thousands of manhours to the county that should be reimbursed to the financially strapped taxpayers of Mahoning county. It appears that you are also unaware that the recent Virginia earthquake that damaged the Washington Monument and caused millions of dollars in damage to the National Cathederal was centered only a few hundred feet from a well being fracked in an area that had been stable for many decades.

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12legend33(169 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Can we pump the water to all the y-towners who don't pay their taxes?

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13Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Natural gas which is from my understanding mostly what is being drilled for does in no way make the U.S. independent of foreign oil.

Second I have taken the time to listen to some of the folks in Pennsylvania who have had horror stories about their water. They are finding neurotoxins and radiation in the water and air among other things?

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14Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The tides caused by the moon are linked to earthquakes . The weight of ocean water being shifted far exceeds the power of any hydrofracturing on the earths surface .

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15cambridge(3964 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Nice looking drilling platform. It must do wonders for the valley's real estate values.

So if you take a few dollars for letting them drill on your land and now your land is worthless because now you can't sell it, what did you gain and what have the valley and its future generations lost?

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16Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Crime in Youngstown destroys your property value and makes it worthless . Gas well drilling brings in a cash flow and enhances property value with free house gas . Can you say free winter heat ? . . ..

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17peacelover(834 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Bigben and cambridge bring up excellent points. I wonder if anyone can tell me for how long an average well produces gas. Once it's "used up" so to speak, then what happens? Does anyone know?

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18redvert(2229 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Hey cambridge, shouldn't you be worried more about saving the "Land of fruits and Nuts' from going bankrupt than what happens back in Ohio.

"what did you gain and what have the valley and its future generations lost?"

What has the valley and the present generations gained from the past? Can't go downhill, at worst it will move laterally.

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19OhioAtty666(19 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The millions of pounds of toxic waste resting as sludge at the bottom of the Mahoning River are mute testament to the hidden costs of industrial development without proper controls. Too bad that people are still so easily corrupted by greed that they are willing to risk long-term pollution for the often ephemeral promise of gas and oil royalties.

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20Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

anotherwhiteguy :

"Stan, no free house gas will be available from the Utica Shale Play...the gas must be refined before it is useable...unlike the present, shallow wells! "

The last I checked it was very usable for house gas . Where did you get your BS ?

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21walter_sobchak(2624 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Here are some more facts from your Ohio govt agencies, the EPA and Dept of Natural resources, charged with protecting our environment:

Since 1990, 15,000 wells in Ohio have been drilled that use fracking. There have been a number of water well investigation complaints and none have been linked to fracking. In addition, deep well injection has been going on for decades using old dry wells, non-producing wells and wells specifically drilled for disposal.

Drill, baby, drill!

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22Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

anotherwhite :

"Straight from the horses mouth Stan, not from the end you tend to consult..."

It seems that you got on the backside of that horse and misunderstood the rumblings . . ..

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23redvert(2229 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

openminded, you have to understand, this area is full of a bunch of whiners that do not like the idea that others will benefit from something. It doesn't matter that V&M and the other companies you mentioned will bring jobs. It is simply the fact that a lot of the whiners wasted their working lives away and now do not want to see others benefit.

These same people whine about the 1%ers. Do they know what a 1%er which is now most likely 50-70 years old looked like when they were in their twenties and thirtys? Not much different than the whiner. What happened, the whiner whined and the future 1%er took charge of their life.

Love it when a plan works out! No, i am not a 1%er, but I am a 57%er.

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24redvert(2229 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

As anotherwhite received his "BS*" he was heard to mutter "Whew this horse has bad breath and that has got to be the longest mustache I have ever seen"

*BS... use your own interpretation

ps: It just should not be this easy!!!

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25music_guy_2010(3 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

@redvert....couldn't have said it better myself.

That's all this Valley seems to do anymore is whine and complain about anything and everything. No wonder people move far away from here and never want to come back. It's also no wonder why companies never want to do business here either. From the unions over stepping their powers to the greed of our politicians. And yet, you people cannot seem to let the past go. Get over it. The high paying jobs of delphi and GM are long gone. Delphi will never be back. And surely they may have the notion to leave with what barely remains in Warren since the union cannot agree on terms of a new contract. The $30/hr and $40/hr jobs are gone, lets move on.

This could be the best thing to ever happen here since the steel mills closed, and yet you people complain. Like redvert says, you just cant stand to see others benefit from this. Whether you like it or not, this industry will be here soon.

If you want to complain, find something else to complain about and call up your local politicians like Tim Ryan and Sherrod Brown and ask them how they are making Ohio, and NE Ohio more business friendly to help create jobs.

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26redvert(2229 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Don't have the chemical background to know about all the bi-products you are describing but it certainly makes sense that there could be another industry here in turning the "pollutants" into $$$.

It is called jobs people!!!

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27Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Once your water is polluted your land is basically a brown field. You roll the dice and takes yer chances.

There are YouTube videos of people lighting their tap water on fire. It may turn out alright for some but they don't all turn out so well.

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28Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

anotherwhiteguy :

You are suffering from hydrogen sulfide toxicity from being at the tail end of the horse too long .

Utica shale gas is combustible and is an excellent fuel for heating as it leaves the well bore . . ..



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29Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

"Chesapeake is already moving toward complete recycling in conjunction with Layne Christensen." - -It would have been better to have this worked out first.

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30Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

anotherwhiteguy :

I see that you have been huffing horse gas . . . ..

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31Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Stable cat overcome by horse gas . . . ..


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32redvert(2229 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

whiteguy, if the Utica shale gas is not usable from the well as house gas, please present data to show that your facts are correct.

Now we understand that it most likely will need to be filtered and perhaps compressed to control pressure but this could be part of the lease agreement so thus free for the property owner. Awaiting your data.

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33slappysmith(55 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

once again stan is only correct on one point, this is the vindy.com website. outside of that he is not correct about anything (as usual). the gas is NOT useable until it is refined. they are not giving free gas as part of the deal. they buy the small piece of land they are going to drill on then you get to deal with your polluted well water. but on the bright side your kids will win the science fair project when they can ignite your well water.

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34slappysmith(55 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

open minded your full of bs, you have seen no lease that says that because they do not exist

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35slappysmith(55 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

the good thing about threads like this is that they ensure Obama will easily win the next election. People read the incredibly stupid comments that are laced with lies, half truths and utterly ridiculous Republican propaganda and realize that there is no way America can handle another pea brained ignoramus like GW Bush back in the White house if we are ever going to survive

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36Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

So slappysmith, how is the world treatin ya today ? . . ..

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37VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

To All who need to know...All gas coming from a well is first sent thru a "seperator" on site, which seperates the gas, oil and brine water, prior to sending the cleaned gas off to the mainline for distribution. It is from this seperator that the landowner can obtain his "free gas". I have an existing well on property we inherited, which was drilled years ago into the Clinton field. This well is no longer active, or producing any free gas, but it is declared part of their "pool" and maintained (just barely) so the oil company will not have to go thru the expense of plugging it. I am certain the well owner is waiting to cash in on the Utica boom and will soon have to come to us to re-sign a new lease agreement. I have been attending many landowner association meetings and am prepared for the worst.

In order for Utica shale wells to be drilled, the driller will need a pool of 640 acres of leased land. Each drilling site will require a footprint of 4 to 6 acres of land and can have as many as 4 or 5 wells going down 7000 feet and up to 5000 ft out in each direction. Each well site will use 4 million gallons of water, 1/2 million pounds of sand and .5% in unknown additives. After the well is drilled, these fluids will have to be trucked out and disposed of elsewhere. Trucking 4 or 5 million gallons of fluid will involve 40 to 100 trucks hauling on state and county highways, depending upon how many gallons one truck can haul. You do the numbers. I recenlty drove out to one drilling site in Pennsylvania and observed a dozen large trucks lined up to take on fluids.

The money being thrown around today of $3000 to $5000 per acre is real. A well driller will also pay a "spud fee" of around $20,000 to the landowner of the drilling site. The fear in all of this is the oil industry's history of not being accountable or not acting responsibly in handling by-products and fracking fluids. That fear is what this is all about.

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38FormerRes(39 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Like the California Gold Rush of 1849 and the Alaska Gold Rush of 1890s, the REAL money will be made providing for the needs of those who are doing the actual hard work of extracting the resources. A lot of pipe, concrete, trucking, clothing, food, and support services will be needed. But for goodness sake, don't let them ruin the water. And any person with a bit of sense knows those earthquakes aren't natural to area.

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39boardmanres(40 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

All for economic development, God knows we need it in this area. But at the same time this type of industry has been in New York and Pennsylvania for sometime, they have experience that we can gain from.
Found this interesting article

Learning Too Late of the Perils in Gas Well Leases

Seems that one guy only got $2.00/ acre for his deal, and then a nice waste pit left behind on his property.
Caveat emptor

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40Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago



There is no need for oil and gas or industry !



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