Natural gas drilling throughout much of the nation is slowing due to an overabundance of gas supplies, industry analysts are reporting. But don't expect drilling in the Northern Panhandle and East Ohio to slow down anytime soon; in fact, with the abundance of so-called "wet gas" and oil found in the region's Marcellus and Utica shale formations, it is likely that drilling will ramp up even more over the coming months as companies focus their efforts here.
Marshall and Ohio counties are centered in the wet gas area of the Marcellus Shale, which means that along with the methane, which is used to heat homes, drillers also are finding high levels of ethane, butane and propane in the gas.
And in Ohio, five Utica Shale wells owned by Chesapeake Energy - including one in Harrison County near Jewett -produced more than 43,000 barrels of oil in 2011. The Harrison County well also produced 1.52 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 198 days of production last year.
The drilling potential in the local area is such right now that one gas industry insider said he knows of many workers being transferred from drilling operations in North Central West Virginia to Wheeling or East Ohio.
That's more good news for our area and our local economies, as not only could it lead to additional natural gas production and royalties for landowners, but those workers also will have disposable income to spend in area stores, restaurants and lodging facilities. That's a positive for an Ohio Valley economy that remains in need of a big boost.