CAMBRIDGE, Ohio -- New drilling permit data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources suggests that natural gas exploration companies continue to focus their attention on southeastern Ohio counties.
According to Tuesday's report from the ODNR's Division of Oil and Gas Resource Management, both Belmont and Monroe counties saw a surge in permitting activity in the past two weeks. Belmont County's permit total rose by 15 to 120. Monroe County's total rose by 15, as well, to 104. Belmont and Monroe counties are currently home to the two best-producing natural gas wells in Ohio.
Guernsey County's permit total rose by six, to 110. Noble County saw no increase in the same two-week period.
Carroll County continues to lead the state in the total number of horizontal drilling permits, with 415. Harrison County is second, with Belmont County third.
Since December 2009, the ODNR has issued 1,364 permits for drilling in Ohio's Utica Shale. A total of 925 horizontal wells have been drilled, 470 of which are in production.