Ohio DNR Could Bring in Big Money From Leasing Public Land

From the Columbus Dispatch:
Critics laughed three years ago when oil and gas industry officials claimed that Ohio could make $20 million if it allowed shale drilling in state parks and forests. 
In 2009, few Ohioans had heard about shale drilling or “fracking.” But these days, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources could clear $26.9 million if it leases the shale rights to just one state forest. That’s just the signing bonus and does not include annual royalties. 
Beaver Creek State Forest is one of 14 state parks and forests in a 16-county region of eastern Ohio that agency officials named “Tier 1” for the potential drilling interest in public lands. If the agency leased every available acre in those parks and forests, a Dispatch analysis shows it could make $75.8 million to $183.1 million in signing bonuses. 
That range in estimated income is based on oil and gas company bonus payments to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District when it leased the mineral rights beneath two of its reservoirs in July 2011 and April 2012. The district made $37.3 million from those leases.  
The estimates do not include royalties, additional payments that are a percentage of the value of the oil and gas that any new wells produce. Muskingum district officials are due royalties of 16 percent and 20 percent for its two reservoir leases, but no wells have been drilled yet. 
Read the rest of the article here.

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