(Editor's note: This was voted the No. 1 story of 2012 by the Morning Journal news staff.)
LISBON - We will remember 2012 as the year when the first of what are to be many drilling rigs began popping up around Columbiana County, as the shale gas boom under way in the region switched gears from leasing to drilling.
Forty-three drilling permits were issued for Columbiana County this year after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources had issued only 12 over the previous 18 months. This brings to 55 the number of permits issued since mid 2010, when the leasing boom got under way.
An estimated 100,000 acres are under lease in the county to various gas drilling companies, with leasing efforts continuing in 2012 and into 2013.
Although many wells are in various stages of development, only 22 have been completed, and of those the only one currently producing is the Sanor Farm well in Knox Township.
The following is list of the permitted sites by township, and there can more than one well per site:
- Butler Township: Corbi, Sanor E, Merina, Herron Trust and Kiko.
- Center Township: Crosser, Andrulis, Mrugala, Tritten 1 and Tritten 2.
- Elkrun Township: Morris, Reed, Grubbs, Westover, Chamberlain, Wallace Baker, and Ralph.
- Fairfield Township: Jean Ward, Mellinger, Lehman, and Hartz.
- Franklin Township: Summitcrest, Albeneso, Milltree 1 and Milltree 2.
- Hanover Township: Ellyson, Trebilock, Jan Paul Farms, Henceroth, Hanover Farms, Altenhof, Hays Trust, Batzli, and Mountz.
- Knox Township: Reichenbach, Sanor Farms, Conny Farms and Kibler.
- Madison Township: Rosebud and Kernich.
- Middleton Township: Hoppel, Webber, Stateline Resources, Carney and Benner.
- Salem Township: Weaver, Roy D, Riffle and Mueller.
- Unity Township: Fowler and Dalton.
- Washington Township: Morucci and Janie Trust.
- West Township: Ayerview Acres and Henderson.
With the leasing boom came an increase in the number of lawsuits from people with older leases who wanted to get out of them so they could take advantage of the higher rates being paid. The few that have been resolved to date have been decided in the favor of the landmen and not the property owners.