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Ohio is Making It Tougher to Get Drilling Permits Near Areas with Faults and Seismic Activity

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Ohio has joined the list of states that have implemented new restrictions for drilling permits in the shale deposit regions of the state. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer has announced that the Ohio oil and gas law has been modified to require installation of seismic monitoring equipment on the drilling property that will operate throughout the drilling operation. This equipment will be read by geologists and a running record will be maintained by the state.

The Need for Compliance

Oil and drilling companies must comply with the new regulation or face the state-ordered suspension of the extraction operation. Although this adds to the financial investment required to dislodge the shale in the underground rock bed, it also puts a new layer of protective oversight in place to indicate when there may be impending seismic activity danger. The horizontal drilling extraction process of fracturing, commonly called fracking, has recently been directly linked to a series of earthquakes in the two primary shale deposit areas of the state, with intensity measuring above 3.0. The region has not historically been prone to significant seismic activity on a regular basis in short term increments.  The potential for problems arise when unknown weaknesses in the underlying layers are loosened by the process of injecting water and chemicals into the bedrock.

Even investors with active gas and mineral rights will be affected by the changes in the Ohio oil and gas law, so it will be important for all operators in the drilling industry to be aware of the drilling location and its proximity to the closest known fault lines

Complying with the new regulations will mean that all drillers will need effective legal representation, and our Cleveland oil and gas lawyers understand there will be new challenges ahead in securing drilling permits.   All drilling operators in the Utica Shale deposit area should contact our oil and gas lawyers for more information on what the new regulations will require.

Gas and mineral rights owners will also be affected, as the new rules are not only applied to oil and gas extraction. The new equipment installation requirement is comprehensive.  Owners should now be evaluating all operations for location and permit continuance problems, as well as any changes in insurance coverages.  Our oil and gas lawyers can advise gas and mineral rights owners on these important issues.