Since development of the Utica Shale play began in 2010, Ohio property owners have be paid an estimated $2 billion in bonuses for signing drilling leases. After seven years, with many leases expiring, some -- but not all -- of those owners may get paid again.
“The leases generally give the drilling company an option to renew by paying the same amount they paid when they first entered the lease," explains Alan Winger, an energy attorney in northeast Ohio. "Since conditions have changed and much of the attention has moved from northeast Ohio to the southeastern cCounties, companies come around when they do want to renew and try to negotiate down.”
State and industry estimates of the overall worth of Ohio’s Utica Shale play are in the t$20-$39 billion range. While a downturn in world energy markets stalled drilling for the past year, natural gas and oil prices are now slowly rising.