Read the rest of the article here.The president of Consol Energy Corp. expects "really exciting things for the Mahoning Valley" in the near future as the energy giant accelerates oil and gas exploration in this region over the next year and a half – exploration unlikely to stop at the Utica shale."The Mahoning Valley is ground zero for this play," says Consol President Nick DeIuliis. "This is just Step One, but there are going to be other horizons in the Mahoning Valley for years to come."Pittsburgh-based Consol and its partner, Hess Energy of Woodbridge, N.J., plan to drill more than 20 wells in the Utica over the next 12 to 18 months throughout nine counties in eastern Ohio, DeIuliis tells The Business Journal. What's more intriguing is that as new technology is introduced and more investment made, it's likely that future wells could unlock gas and oil trapped in other shale formations. That could present a significant potential for long-term growth in the region."It's not just going to untap the Utica potential for eastern Ohio and the Mahoning Valley," DeIuliis says. "It will also allow untapping horizons above and below the Utica."The Utica/Point Pleasant shale formations, 7,000 feet below Ohio, have attracted the biggest names in the energy business to eastern Ohio. Shell Oil, BP Energy, Chesapeake Energy Corp., and Devon Energy are among the heavy hitters doing business in the region.Much of Consol's investment depends on the production results from its position in the Utica formation, DeIuliis says. "If we're even somewhat close to our projections, which we believe we're going to be, we think the capital investment will exceed hundreds of millions of dollars and approach billions of dollars, frankly, over the five- to 10-year drilling horizon," he remarks.And with investments of this scale compounded by other energy companies doing business here, jobs are going to follow, DeIuliis says. "It's not going to be dozens of jobs or hundreds of jobs," he notes. "It's going to be thousands of jobs."
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