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Planned Ohio Utica Shale Investments Up 26% Since November

Despite the downturn in commodity prices, investment in Ohio's Utica Shale has continued to grow in the last six months, according to a recently released report by Columbus, OH-based law firm Bricker & Eckler LLP.

Like other firms in the state, Bricker & Eckler compiles its report from news media stories and keeps a running tally of projects that are either proposed or under construction. The firm's investment estimates also don't include projects that have not provided any, such as the recent announcement for a multi-billion ethane cracker in Belmont County (see Shale Daily, April 23)

The firm's report shows that planned investments have grown sharply for the play since 2010, when unconventional oil and gas development began in earnest in the state. The latest report shows that investments are about $28 billion, up 26% from the $22.3 billion the firm tallied last November (see Shale Daily, Nov. 17, 2014). Moreover, between fall 2013 and 2014 planned investments nearly doubled from $12.2 billion.

According to state data, exploration and production companies have been issued 1,889 horizontal Utica permits to date and have drilled 1,466 wells. That's up from the 1,630 permits that were issued and the 1,176 wells that were drilled at the time of Bricker & Eckler's last report.

In addition to supply chain expansions in the state, infrastructure projects and natural gas processing plants, most of the investments detail plans for, or already constructed pipeline projects. The latest report, however, does highlight some projects that have been canceled such as Williams Partners LP and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP's Bluegrass pipeline, which would have transported natural gas liquids from the Appalachian Basin to the Gulf Coast. That project was nixed in the face of other planned projects from competitors (see Shale Daily, Aug. 9, 2013).

The report also excluded Blue Racer Midstream LLC's plans for a natural gas processing facility in Northeast Ohio, which were recently put on hold due to the commodities downturn (see Shale Daily, Feb. 3).

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