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Report: Cabot pulls the plug on drilling exploratory wells in Richland and Ashland counties

Report: Cabot pulls the plug on drilling exploratory wells in Richland and Ashland counties

MANSFIELD – Cabot Oil and Gas is pulling the plug on drilling exploratory wells in Ashland and Richland counties, according to a recent company conference call and media reports.

On Feb. 22, Cabot President and CEO Dan Dinges said during a fourth-quarter earnings call that the company incurred dry-hole costs resulting from unsuccessful drilling results in a second exploratory area.

“As a result, we do not expect to allocate any incremental capital to exploration at this time,” he said.

Cabot spokesman George Stark did not return multiple requests for comment.

Stark confirmed to the Ashland Times-Gazette on Monday that drilling operations in Ashland and Richland counties would cease. The announcement was first reported by Natural Gas Intelligence.

“After further evaluation of our remaining exploration prospect, we have determined that this area is unlikely to yield results that generate long-term value creation for our shareholders,” said Dinges, according to Jamison Cocklin of Natural Gas Intelligence.

Cabot first came to north-central Ohio in 2017 and sent letters to about 4,000 landowners atop Columbia Gas storage facilities in Richland, Ashland and Knox counties, as previously reported by the News Journal.

The company constructed well pads at three sites in Ashland County and one in Richland County. Kamenik in Green Township, Yeater in Vermillion Township and Loder in Mohican Township were constructed last year. Woods, the sole Richland County well pad, was constructed in December.

The News Journal profiled a property owner in November who feared potential water contamination from the Woods drilling site.

More: Retired Monroe Twp. couple fears water contamination from adjacent oil and gas well

According to the letters sent out to property owners in 2017, Cabot entered into a sublease agreement with Columbia Gas Transmission on Aug. 30, 2017, giving Cabot the right to explore and possibly develop potential resources below Columbia’s natural gas storage fields.

The agreement allowed Cabot to explore deeper depths and use horizontal drilling to reach depths below the older wells owned by Columbia Gas that are located throughout Richland County and Ashland County

Cabot has faced backlash from critics opposed to oil and gas exploration using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in Ashland County.

More: Community rallies against Ashland County fracking

In July, Stark said Cabot’s geologists selected the area as a promising one geologically for hydraulic fracturing, with the potential for underground oil or gas deposits.

Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of fluids at an extremely high pressure down a wellbore and into the target rock formation, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Knox formation was the targeted in Ashland County, as was the Rome formation in Richland County, according to drilling permits filed with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Monroe Township Landowners Coalition, an anti-fracking group, said in a statement that the group is thrilled by Cabot’s move.

“It has been a long haul, but we are so proud of the way our community came together for each other. It was so nice to be able to have visitors back in our area last weekend for the Malabar Farm (State Park) maple sugar days without that intrusion,” said the group in the statement, referring to the Woods well pad.

mtrombly@gannett.com

419-521-7205

Twitter: @MonroeTrombly

 

Source: Mansfield News Journal

By:  Monroe Trombly, Mansfield News Journal Published 2:41 p.m. ET March 7, 2019

LINK:  https://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/2019/03/07/report-cabot-halts-drilling-richland-ashland-counties/3068857002/

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