Ohio Department of Natural Resources Has Tripled Gas and Oil Regulatory Staff
From the Alliance Review:
Zehringer was brought on board by Gov. John Kasich a little more than two years ago, after previously serving as the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. "Ohio is blessed with natural resources. Along with gas and oil, we have coal, water and public lands," said Zehringer. "Our goals, as the division of the ODNR in charge of resources, are: 1) to safeguard the water quality; 2) clean up our 74 state parks; 3) and to regulate oil and gas responsibly, which is pretty important because we have to do this right. We have nine divisions in the ODNR, and Oil and Gas Resource Management is one."
Zehringer pointed out there has been a shift to southern Ohio recently, in Noble and Belmont counties in particular, in terms of oil and gas exploration and production, and he said there has been some pretty staggering results. Also, a new well in Monroe County is breaking records for oil and gas production, grossing $1 million per week. "That is just one well, and most wells don't gross anywhere near that amount," said Zehringer.
Zehringer said the ODNR projects the wells to be drilled in Ohio will take a large jump next year, with 625 drilled in 2013 and 1,180 predicted to be drilled in 2014. In 2012, only 215 had been drilled. So, as he pointed out, the activity is expected to go through the roof. In anticipation, the ODNR has beefed up its staff. In 2010, the ODNR had only 37 full-time people to regulate the oil and gas activity. "We have talked to other states to discuss lessons learned, and we've learned we have to have our regulatory staff in place," Zehringer said. "So, we've tripled our staff in the last two years. That includes 50 on the ground inspectors."