Chesapeake Energy Corp. plans to headquarter its Utica shale operations in eastern Ohio at new offices in Louisville.
The Oklahoma-based company has purchased 291 acres in the Beck Industrial Commerce Park in southwest Louisville.
It lies between state Route 44 and Beck Road in eastern Stark County.
It is expected that building an office there will begin soon.
The complex will include multiple buildings to house Chesapeake and its subsidiaries.
“Chesapeake’s acquisition marks the beginning of a major capital investment in Louisville,” said city manager E. Thomas Ault.
“We believe their investment will, over time, result in a broad range of job opportunities for area residents and will generate significant new tax revenues to support local schools and government.
“We are absolutely thrilled to add Chesapeake to the Louisville business community,” he said in a statement.
He said the Chesapeake investment could mean new jobs and tax revenues for Louisville.
He said officials have been told the complex could likely house between 200 and 400 employees and perhaps more.
The only financial incentive that Louisville provided is a 25 percent city income tax credit for 10 years. That incentive has been capped at $6 million. Louisville has a 2 percent municipal income tax.
Said Keith Fuller, Chesapeake’s director of corporate development: “In planning for our Utica field office, we looked for a centralized location with the necessary acreage to accommodate our expanding work force and growing operations here in Ohio.”
He added, “This project demonstrates our commitment to the city of Louisville, Stark County and many other communities neighboring our area of operations in the Utica.”
The announcement of the purchase came late Sunday from the city of Louisville and Groffre Investments, which has developed the Beck industrial park.
Chesapeake has been leasing space at two locations in downtown Canton and in the city of Green in Summit County.
Most of Chesapeake’s drilling activities have been centered in Carroll County, southeast of Canton. It is also active in Columbiana and Carroll counties.
The company has leased 1.3 million acres in eastern Ohio. It is seeking natural gas, plus oil and ethanes, butanes and propanes.
The low price paid for natural gas has thwarted drillers, but the ethanes, butanes and propanes found in eastern Ohio make Ohio’s Utica shale an attractive option for drillers.
To date, Chesapeake has drilled 59 wells and has 10 drilling rigs working in Ohio.
Nine of its Ohio wells are in production, and 15 are being completed. Another 20 are awaiting needed pipelines.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.