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Utica Shale Rigs Stop Drilling In Ohio

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More than one-third of the rigs in Ohio’s Utica Shale have stopped drilling since December, and more could be idled if oil and natural-gas prices stay low.

Since late November, when OPEC decided not to reduce production, natural gas prices are down a quarter and oil prices are down 38 percent.

That means less money for drillers and fewer rigs drilling across the country, including Ohio.

The Canton Repository reports that rigs in the Utica Shale peaked at 59 on Dec. 13.

The count dropped to 37 last week, the lowest number since 35 rigs were drilling May 3.

It appears the downward rig trend will continue. Chesapeake Energy, the most active Utica driller, is cutting its eight-rig fleet by half this year. The No. 2 company, Gulfport Energy, made a similar reduction, and expects to drop an additional rig soon, leaving it with three.

According to Tuscarawas County’s Community and Economic Development Director Scott Reynolds, Oil-and-gas-related companies in that county “have scaled back their activity, but they have not reduced their workforce greatly.