Hitting A Gusher

OIL AND gas drilling is pumping life into the Ohio economy, with Eastern Ohio being a major beneficiary.

Despite the upward turn in production, some state officials are disappointed that the current drilling hasn’t lived up to expectations.

We say to those gloom and doomers, relax. It’s is only a matter of time before more and more wells are flowing.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced in March that as many as 250 of the natural-gas and oil wells would be drilled in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale by the end of the year. State records indicate only 165 wells have been completed with 22 more in the works.

While the number of productive wells does not measure up to projected estimates, 165 wells have fueled a more vibrant economy as well as a much more brighter future.

Some of the lag in getting more wells up and running is tied to lower natural gas prices and a backlog in the work needed to connect the wells to customers.

Hydraulic-fracturing has made shale drilling a burgeoning industry. While the pace may not have lived up to the hopes of some state officials, it will eventually kick in.

Projections call for 750 new shale wells by the end of 2013 and 2,250 wells by the end of 2015. Those numbers are staggering, even if they also come up a little short.

It is safe to say many of those wells will take root in our locale. Eastern Ohio is situated ideally to realize huge benefits from drilling. Nearby Carroll County reflects that, as it has more wells than any other Ohio county at this time with 73.

Regardless of the pace, shale drilling is integral to the future of the Ohio Valley.