Bloomberg News this week reported that NiSource Inc. announced it intends to form a joint venture to drill for oil or natural gas in the Utica shale in eastern Ohio.
The Indiana-based company said it intends to announce a partnership within a month, a deal that could include significant downtream infrastructure for processing, the firm said.
NiSource said it expects to contribute about 15,00 acres to the venture with the balance provided by a yet-unnamed partner.
The partner would handle exploration and production and NiSource would handle gathering and transporting the fuel.
It did not say whether it was eying natural gas or oil.
The company didn't say where the partnership might locate but indicated that the partnership was looking primarily at an area where where the shale primarily holds oil.
NiSource, Indiana's largest gas utility owner, holds mineral rights on between 100,000 and 200,000 acres in the Utica shale.
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.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
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.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.