MIDDLETON TOWNSHIP - Oil and gas drilling operations are just as alive in the township as other places, with one well drilled and four others permitted in the Utica Shale.
Chesapeake Energy holds the drilling rights on all of these wells, according to information available on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) web site.
The township wells are part of the 493 wells in the Utica Shale permitted to Chesapeake and other oil and gas companies by the ODNR across the state. Of those, 205 have been drilled as of last week. Only one well is actively producing in Columbiana County currently. It is located on the Sanor Farms property on Georgetown Road in Knox Township.
Wells permitted by the ODNR to Chesapeake Energy in Middleton Township are located on the Webber Property on Smith Road, Stateline Resources on state Route 154, the Carney property on Vale Road and the Benner property on Justison Road.
The well on the Carney property is the only one drilled at this point.
Drilling rigs can be located on residential property that is leased throughout the roughly 35-square-mile township, but township trustees have indicated no rigs will be located on township-controlled property that is leased.
Trustees Nancy Micheals and Eldena Gearhart explained the township-controlled property isn't large enough to accommodate a drilling rig and that any oil and gas recovered from the leased land would be through horizontal means from a rig located near the township's border.
Trustees leased just under six acres of township-owned land to Chesapeake Energy recently for $2,000 an acre and 15 percent royalties on the net. They can only lease township-controlled property and have no leasing control over residential property, which can be leased by property owners at their own discretion.