The parent company of Triad Hunter Resources in Reno recently announced a leasehold purchase totaling $24.8 million for 12,186 acres of Utica Shale-bearing property, the majority of which is located in Noble County.
A news release from Houston-based Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. also indicated another similar leasehold purchase of property in that area could be coming sometime in April.
The seller and location of the acreage has not been disclosed, but the release noted the property "is in close proximity to Triad Hunter's existing acreage position in Washington and Noble counties ... and now provides Triad Hunter approximately 18,187 gross acres in these two counties."
It could be good news for Noble County, which stands to lose an estimated $1.2 million in state funding reductions over the next two years, according to county auditor Jody Parrish Polen.
"This would be the biggest purchase of acreage we've seen," she said. "The last was a $9 million purchase by CNX Gas, Consol Coal's gas division."
Polen said that deal garnered $36,000 in conveyance fees for the county's general fund.
At a glance
Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. has announced the recent leasehold purchase of more than 12,186 acres in Noble County for $24.8 million.
The company also announced the potential purchase of a similar block of acreage in the same area sometime next month.
"A $24.8 million property transfer would bring in about $80,000," she said. "But I haven't seen a transfer document from Magnum Hunter at this time."
Washington County Auditor Bill McFarland explained that counties cannot collect the conveyance fee unless an actual deed transfer takes place.
"If the lease interest is conveyed by a deed, then a conveyance fee can be assessed," he said. "A lease between two private parties without the transfer of a deed does not require a conveyance fee."
Terry Tamburini, executive director of the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority, noted that Triad Hunter Resources is very involved in oil and gas extraction from area shale beds.
"Their exploration of the Utica shale is continuing to move ahead," he said. "And I think we'll be seeing a lot more of these property transactions."
He noted that Noble County has become an important area for more than one type of energy development, including construction of solar arrays, coal mining, and oil and gas extraction, all going on at the same time.
"Noble isn't considered an obscure county anymore," Tamburini added.
Ranie Hupp, who works at the Dairy Queen in Caldwell, said business has been good, thanks to the influx of oil and gas company representatives.
"A lot of them are going to the county courthouse to research property and stop for lunch," she said. "So we've been busier than normal for this time of year."
Ron Moore owns Ron's Barber Salon in Caldwell.
"The courthouse is full of these people, my wife works there and sees them all the time," he said. "And there are already a couple of well sites being drilled in the county, although I haven't heard if they've found anything."
He said local businesses are already seeing some benefits from the activity.
"I have a couple of guys coming in here who work for some of these companies," Moore said. "And any business this brings to the area would be a big help."
In the news release, Gary C. Evans, chairman and chief executive officer of Magnum Hunter, called the $24.8 million leasehold purchase a "win-win" because it expands the company's existing acreage in a strategic region of Ohio and provides expansion opportunity for the company's Eureka Hunter Pipeline business "to immediately begin construction work into a region presently not served by other competitors..."
Phone calls to company officials were not returned Monday afternoon.
Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. is engaged in the acquisition, development and production of crude, natural gas and natural gas liquids, primarily in the states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, North Dakota and Saskatchewan, Canada.