The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is partnering with three universities in the state to conduct an economic impact study on shale development.

Meanwhile, in a new push for development of the Marcellus and Utica shales, Republican Gov. John Kasich has appointed former Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director David Mustine to a top post with JobsOhio, Kasich’s new private, nonprofit corporation designed to spur job creation and economic development.

Two public institutions, Ohio State University and Cleveland State University, will work with private Marietta College to research the effects of drilling in Ohio’s portion of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

“We have all seen how natural gas development from the Marcellus Shale has created thousands of jobs and spurred growth in Pennsylvania. Ohio has the potential to be similarly successful,” said chamber CEO Andrew Doehrel.

The chamber said more than 25 organizations — which include the oil and gas, steel, plastic, chemical, waste management, manufacturing and agricultural industries as well as water and heavy equipment providers, law firms and conservationists — are funding the project. A final report is scheduled to be issued by the end of the year. The chamber helped form the Ohio Shale Coalition in June (see NGI, June 20).

Mustine — a former senior vice president at Columbus, OH-based American Electric Power and director of an oil and gas service business based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates — will serve as energy division manager for JobsOhio. The nonprofit will be funded through profits from the state sale of liquor, estimated to be about $100 million annually.

Shale development in Ohio has heated up in recent months (see NGI, Aug. 29). According to the ODNR, 43 permits have been issued for horizontal wells in the Utica and Point Pleasant shales since December 2009. Nine of the permitted wells have been drilled as of Sept. 12. In the Marcellus permits have been issued for 13 horizontal wells, six of which have been drilled.

The department’s most recent data shows that producers currently have horizontal drilling permits in 11 eastern Ohio counties. According to the breakdown, permits targeting the Marcellus have been issued in Belmont County, while permits targeting the Utica have been granted in Guernsey, Tuscarawas, Stark, Portage, Mahoning and Columbiana counties. Permits for both the Marcellus and Utica shales have been granted in Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson and Monroe counties.

ODNR reports reveal that Chesapeake Exploration LLC, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy Corp., is by far the most prolific operator in the Utica, but other operators — some of whom are also permitted to drill vertical wells — include Anadarko E&P Co. LP, EnerVest Operating, Ohio Buckeye Energy, CNX Gas Co., Marquette Exploration LLC, and HG Energy.

Meanwhile Chesapeake, Marquette, Protege Energy II LLC, Phillips Exploration Inc. and Triad Hunter LLC have all entered the Marcellus to drill both horizontal and vertical wells.

Hess Corp. recently acquired a stake in almost 185,000 net acres in the Ohio portion of the Utica Shale after purchasing Marquette for $750 million and agreeing to partner with CONSOL Energy Inc. on half of its nearly 200,000 acres for $593 million (see NGI, Sept. 12).

©Copyright 2011Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.