Ohio is bracing for an oil boom as companies, led by Chesapeake, gobble up leases covering millions of acres in the eastern half of the state. While no one’s yet proven the commercial potential of the Utica formation, an oil-rich layer of rock that underlies this area, some believe it will yield crude on par with the largest shale reservoirs in the U.S. and spark a Rust Belt resurrection.
Oil-drilling in Ohio’s Utica, along with natural-gas drilling in the Marcellus shale there “could be a godsend” to the hard-scrabble region, Gov. John Kasich said in a written statement.
The budding boom here is the latest version of a story that has developed across North America in the last decade, as producers have figured out how to crack open deeply buried energy-bearing rocks, first unleashing floods of natural gas and later transferring the techniques to oil extraction. Surging global demand for crude and low natural gas prices have led to the highest level of oil drilling activity the U.S. has seen in more than 20 years.
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