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Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia Issued 411 Permits in July

State regulators in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia collectively issued 411 permits for oil and gas drilling during the month of July, most of which targeted the Marcellus and Utica shales.

Of the 411 permits issued, 264 were awarded to operators for wells in Pennsylvania. Another 76 permits were for wells in Ohio, while the remaining 71 were for West Virginia wells.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), 75 permits were issued during the month for wells targeting the Utica Shale. Of those, Belmont and Carroll counties each had 15 permits issued, while Harrison County came in third with 14. Other counties that had Utica Shale permits issued included Guernsey (nine), Mahoning (seven), Columbiana (six), Monroe (five) and Noble (four).

Gulfport Energy Corp. led among operators in Ohio for the month with 26 permits issued, followed closely by Chesapeake Exploration LLC with 25 permits. Meanwhile Hess Ohio Developments LLC was issued eight permits, followed by Hilcorp Energy Co. with seven, Antero Resources Corp. with five and Eclipse Resources I LP had four.

The ODNR also issued one permit in July for a well targeting the Marcellus Shale. Triad Hunter LLC was issued the permit on July 2 for its Stalder Unit A-2 MH well in Monroe County's Lee Township.

In neighboring Pennsylvania, data from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shows 264 permits were issued for unconventional wells in July. Most permits were for horizontal gas drilling, but three were for vertical gas wells. Although the DEP does not break down permits issued by shale/tight gas and oil play, most if not all target the Marcellus and Utica shales.

Susquehanna County led all counties with 66 permits issued for the month, with Lycoming County coming in a distant second with 30 permits. There were 25 permits issued in both Greene and Wyoming counties, followed by Bradford County with 24. Butler, Washington and Elk counties were the only others to have double-digit permits, at 18, 15 and 10, respectively.

Nine permits were issued in both Tioga and Westmoreland counties, followed by McKean County with seven. There were four permits issued in both Beaver and Sullivan counties, while Armstrong and Cameron counties each had three. Allegheny, Mercer and Potter counties had two permits issued in each, followed by Centre, Clinton, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset and Venango counties, which all had one permit apiece.

Among operators, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. led the field with 32 permits issued in July, followed by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC and EQT Production Co., which each had 26. SWEPI LP, a Royal Dutch Shell plc subsidiary, had 23 permits issued, followed by Southwestern Energy Production Co. with 22. Chief Oil & Gas LLC and Range Resources Appalachia LLC each received 18 permits, while Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC received 17 and Chevron Appalachia LLC got 10.

Other operators who received permits in Pennsylvania in July included PennEnergy Resources LLC and WPX Energy Appalachia LLC (nine permits each); Talisman Energy USA Inc (eight); CNX Gas Co. LLC (six); Pennsylvania General Energy Co. LLC and R.E. Gas Development LLC (five each); Atlas Resources LLC and XTO Energy Inc. (four each); Carrizo Marcellus LLC, Citrus Energy Corp., Seneca Resources Corp., Ultra Resources Inc. and Vantage Energy Appalachia II LLC (three each), and Exco Resources PA LLC (two).

Five companies -- Enerplus Resources USA Corp., Hillcorp Energy Co., Rice Drilling B LLC, Snyder Bros Inc. and True Oil LLC -- each received one permit to drill a well in July.

During July, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) issued 71 permits for oil and gas wells targeting the Marcellus Shale, but none for the Utica.

Reports available from the WVDEP do not have permit totals broken down by county, nor do they make a distinction between horizontal and vertical wells, or for wells covered by the state's Natural Gas Horizontal Wells Control Act (see Shale DailyDec. 27, 2011).

 Antero led operators in West Virginia in July, receiving 18 permits to drill wells there. Stone Energy Corp. received 11 permits during the month, followed by Gastar Exploration USA Inc. with 10 and EQT with six. CNX, HG Energy LLC, Jay-Bee Oil & Gas and PDC Mountaineer LLC each received five permits, followed by Noble with three, Northeast Natural Energy LLC with two, and XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corp., had one.

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