We had a successful lease sale in our region last week as well, in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest. It is the only national forest in Ohio, and the lease sale has been the source of controversy for years. When it was all said and done, 22 bidders paid $1.7 million for the rights to access 759 acres of land. The bidders were all headquartered in the United States, but none were from Ohio. The winning bidders now will have 10 years to secure the permits to actually drill. That is, of course, if they can survive challenges by environmentalists.
These leases will presumably lead to the first hydraulically fractured wells in the forest, and groups like the Ohio Environmental Council have promised to lodge formal protests with the federal government. These concerns come despite the fact that there are currently more than 1,200 conventional (non-fracked) wells across the 240,000 acres of the forest. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just completed a new study on hydraulic fracturing and some feel that the Wayne Forest leasing program should be reconsidered in light of that report. Nonetheless, at this time future lease sales in the forest are expected.
After the Wayne Forest lease sale, the head of the Ohio Oil and Gas association said the auction will create opportunities for property owners in the Appalachian foothills to cash in on the riches beneath their land. Polling by industry groups show most in Ohio would support more energy development as well. We agree, and we think this is a huge opportunity for oil and gas companies to secure exploration and production rights from private landowners in the region. Contact the Pennsylvania-based experts at Cimmaron Land for assistance.