Although he hasn't been handed the money yet, Beverly resident Charlie Schilling has agreed to lease some of his Noble County land for thousands of dollars for the purpose of shale drilling.
"I have 120 acres. I've already leased 11 acres in Noble County," Schilling said. "I haven't seen payment yet, but I signed with a landowners group."
Schilling's 120 acres span Noble, Morgan and Washington counties and he hopes to eventually lease all of them to oil and natural gas drilling companies.
ASHLEY RITTENHOUSE The Marietta Times
Beverly resident Charlie Schilling stands Friday on property he owns in Noble County that he has leased to Antero Resources for shale drilling. He leased the land through a landowners group, which has been promised $5,900 an acre.
He said the Noble County landowners group he is involved with signed with Denver, Colo.-based Antero Resources, an independent exploration and production company.
"They signed for $5,900 an acre - $5,900 an acre is real good. It's the most we've heard of around here," Schilling said. "The Noble County group had almost 20,000 acres. The opportunities are better when you pull all the land together."
Hydraulic fracturing - commonly referred to as fracking - is the most recently developed method for drawing oil and natural gas from underground shale deposits in Ohio and surrounding states.
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- Hydraulic fracturing is the most recently developed method for drawing oil and natural gas from underground shale deposits in Ohio and surrounding states. Industry experts predict an economic oil and gas boom will occur as a result of the horizontal drilling technology being used.
- Fees for rental properties have already doubled and tripled in some cases in Carroll County, where oil and gas companies have set up shop.
- Some Noble County landowners are receiving $5,900 from drilling companies. Prior to the development of hydraulic fracturing, some landowners received $20 an acre.
Industry experts expect the horizontal drilling technology will enable huge oil and gas deposits to be unlocked, triggering predictions of an economic oil and gas boom that will result in the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs and the generation of billions of dollars in tax revenue and royalty payments.
Some counties in Ohio are already seeing the effects, as property owners enter into agreements with drilling companies and workers from the oil and gas industry move in and snatch up rental space.
The $5,900 an acre that the Noble County group was offered is a far cry from what some landowners received before hydraulic fracturing came along, according to Marietta attorney Jennifer Garrison, who is representing the Southeast Ohio Landowners Association.
"People might get $20 an acre, some less, with the previous drilling," she said. "These wells, the potential payout in royalties and the investment for these companies is in the millions of dollars."
Garrison added that her group has closed two deals, one involving land in Guernsey County and the other in northern Noble County. Landowners will be given $4,000 an acre.
Carroll County, about 100 miles north of Marietta, is also buzzing with activity.
"Traffic here has increased immensely. We've never seen so many crew cab pick-up trucks without a state license plate," said Bill Newell, owner of Newell Realty and Auctions LLC in Carrollton. "Several companies have set up shop in the community. We're being told there will literally be thousands of people coming here to work "
With all those companies' employees moving into the village of about 13,000 residents, rental properties are being snatched up every day and they're not as cheap as they once were.
"We've seen rental fees jump two to three times what the going rate was," Newell said. "You could rent a three bedroom for $500 to $700 a month and I know of three-bedroom rentals now that have been rented in the $2,000 a month range."
Oil and gas industry representatives are also looking for places to live in Washington County, according to Audrey Augenstein, with Silverheels Property Management, LLC in Marietta.
Still, rentals aren't yet being sought after like they are in Carroll and some other Ohio counties.
"We've only rented four so far (to people from the industry). They were in Marietta," she said. "They have to be close to the courthouse. A lot of them are the ones checking the records at the courthouse."
Washington County Recorder Tracey Wright has said her office has been extremely busy in recent months with people who have been hired by oil and gas companies to research properties in the county that could be drilled for oil and natural gas.
Garrison said the "boom" has not yet arrived in Washington County, but it's only a matter of time.
"For Washington County, it's a waiting game. Time will tell," she said. "As more wells are drilled, they'll see how good the utica shale is in Washington County."