Representatives from a unit of BP plc began signing agreements with landowners in Trumbull County, OH, as the company readies to begin exploring its Utica/Point Pleasant Shale leasehold in 2013. In March BP completed an agreement with the Associated Landowners of the Ohio Valley to lease close to 84,000 acres in an unexplored area of the county, which is in the northeastern part of the state (see Shale Daily, March 28). With the agreements now in place, BP is executing individual terms with landowners, which may take up to six months. BP’s Ohio shale purchase moved it into ninth place among Utica/Point Pleasant leaseholders, according to data compiled from company reports by NGI‘s Shale Daily. The top leaseholder is Chesapeake Energy Corp., which has an estimated 1.2 million net acres, followed by EnerVest and EV Energy Partners, which together lease an estimated 760,000 net acres. Chevron Corp. follows with 600,000 net acres.

The Ohio Chapter Sierra Club is seeking a court order to compel the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to release public records related to ODNR plans to allow oil and gas drilling on state-owned land. Ohio last year adopted legislation that opened state-owned land — including state parks but excluding nature preserves — to oil and gas leasing (see Shale Daily, June 16). On several occasions since the law went into effect at the end of September the environmental group has requested documents from ODNR, but the agency has provided “only a single minor document,” according to a lawsuit filed Monday in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. Documents requested by Sierra Club include “standard lease terms and conditions that ODNR was developing for inclusion in the leases and which would be designed for protecting environmental quality,” according to the lawsuit.

Producers with wells within the city of Fort Worth, TX, will continue to truck drilling wastewater out of the city for disposal after city council members voted unanimously to continue a ban on disposal wells within city limits. Council had considered a proposal to lift the ban in an effort to alleviate truck traffic in the city. However, that idea was trumped by concerns about water usage and efforts to get drillers to recycle wastewater. There also was concern voiced about earthquakes, which in some parts of the country have been blamed on wastewater injection wells (see Shale Daily, April 2). The Fort Worth moratorium on injection wells was enacted in 2006 and had been set to expire at the end of April.