Records list ODNR's reasons for firing state geologist Redrawn Utica map cited as one reason, close ties to shale industry another By Terry Smith
Maps that Wickstrom had displayed previously included a much wider area, from north to south, likely to be conducive to wet gas and oil production, though it did extend the so-called "oil window" farther into central Ohio.
Despite Wickstrom's cautioning that the new Utica map might be redrawn again pending further carbon data, the new boundaries had a significant impact in counties no longer included in the core play, with oil and gas companies and brokers claiming investment interest was drying up.
In Athens County, for instance, Cunningham Energy, which had offered sizable signing bonuses last fall, cited Wickstrom's redrawn map when it offered much-reduced leasing deals to local property owners. Other oil and gas brokers have been doing the same thing.
The cooling off of leasing interest in our area came despite various reports and developments suggesting that the big energy companies have more positive data about carbon resources here.
One of the bigger players, EnerVest Energy, put together a slide show last December, based on its own information and research, showing most of Athens County in the "wet gas" Utica play, and the northwest corner of the county in the "oil window."
In addition, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is developing deep-shale wells just 30-35 miles to the north of Athens County, in Muskingum and Noble counties.