Together, the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions extend across New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio and portions of Kentucky and Tennessee. Because much of the state sits over the Utica Shale formation, Ohio is seeing a significant increase in drilling activity.
Through the Quick Links section of this website, you can get more information about the location of shale oil/gas drill sites from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), including a list of issued permits and maps.
How is natural gas extracted from a shale formation?
Natural gas is extracted from the shale through a two-step process of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
To start, a production well is drilled thousands of feet downward and then gradually angled out horizontally through the shale deposit. The well is drilled horizontally to maximize the ability to capture natural gas once the shale is hydraulically fractured.
After the well is drilled, a mixture of water, sand and chemical additives is injected at very high pressure to fracture the shale. This part of the process, called hydraulic fracturing, is a technique used in the oil and gas industry since the 1950s.
The sand keeps the fractured shale open and serves as a conduit for extracting the natural gas. The chemical additives reduce potential problems during drilling and gas production, such as bacterial build-up and the formation of scale, mineral deposits and rust.
How is shale drilling regulated in Ohio?
ODNR, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management (ODNR-DOGRM), has primary regulatory authority over oil and gas drilling activity in Ohio, including regulations for well construction, siting, design and operation. ODNR regulates disposal of brine and drilling fluids from oil and gas drilling/production. ODNR regulates Class II underground injection wells used for disposal of waste fluids from oil and gas drilling/production operations and transporters hauling these fluids in Ohio.
Ohio EPA's water quality certification requirements address impacts to wetlands, streams, rivers or other waters of the state from the construction of a drill site. Ohio EPA also regulates sources of air emissions, and may require air permits for some of the equipment at the drill site. Any solid waste sent off-site for disposal, including contaminated drill cuttings, must be sent to a solid waste landfill or can be beneficially reused, if authorized by Ohio EPA.
Summary of ODNR & Ohio EPA Regulatory Authority Over Oil/Gas Drilling & Production Activities