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Ohio Utica Shale

Big energy pushing little energy aside in Kansas

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2012

Among all the smiles over the black gold rush in southern Kansas, one group stands grim-faced: existing Kansas oil and gas producers.

Last year’s arrival of large oil companies with their fat wallets and horizontal drilling rigs in Kansas has forced up the cost of exploration for some mom-and-pop operators, cut their profits and sown conflict with landowners.

After Big Oil and Big Gas left Kansas in the ’80s, the oil and gas industry in Kansas consisted of dozens of local, family-owned companies. Some are large by Kansas standards, but most are small.

Year after year, the mom-and-pop operators consulted their maps and well logs, then knocked on a farmer’s door. They drilled more than 5,000 wells a year for decades.

In recent years a typical contract for mineral rights was a bonus of $10 or $25 an acre, plus 2/16ths of the revenues from the well.

Although SandRidge Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Source Energy MidCon, Unit Corp., Tug Hill Operating, Reeder Energy, Shell Oil and others are still assessing the feasibility of the play in Kansas, they already have spent hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring mineral rights on millions of acres. They did this by paying landowners signing bonuses of $500 or $1,000 an acre, plus 3/16ths of the well revenues.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.