The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District announced Friday that it has negotiated an oil-gas lease for 6,700 acres at Seneca Lake in Guernsey and Noble counties.
The lease with Colorado-based Antero Resources is expected to be voted on by the district’s governing board at its Feb. 15 meeting.
The financial terms of the lease are incomplete and still being negotiated, officials said.
The proposed drilling at Seneca Lake has been opposed by a vocal grass-roots group, the Southeast Ohio Alliance to Save Our Water.
The lease will prohibit drilling or surface development on any district property and adds protections to adjacent private properties, the district said.
But Antero would be allowed to drill under the district-owned land from wells at other locations.
There will be no well pads, lease roads or pipelines on district-owned property and surface operations on adjacent lands where the district shares in the well or lands also leased by Antero and located within a half mile of district-owned property will also be subject to the lease terms, spokesman Mark Swiger said.
In addition, the district will get to review Antero’s well development plans annually, review the location of all pads, roads and pipelines, review erosion and sedimentation plans and have access to drilling sites.
There are also provisions for light and noise control in the lease.
The district is accepting public comment on the proposed lease. Lease documents are available at www.mcwd.org/conservation.
Comments may be sent to Seneca Comments, MWCD, P.O. Box 349, New Philadelphia, OH 44663 or fax at 330-364-4161 or email@example.com.
The district staff is prepared to recommend approval of the lease to the district’s governing board and will review comments and suggestions received prior to that meeting for potential lease changes and upgrades, said spokesman Seam Logan.
The district owns about 7,600 acres at Seneca Lake, most of which has not been leased for drilling for natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids in the Utica shale. The 3,550-acre lake is the third largest inland lake in Ohio.
A total of 13 drilling companies had expressed interest in the Seneca Lake property with two firms, Antero and Texas-based Carrizo Oil and Gas, making formal presentations.
The district earlier signed leases in 2011 with Gulfport Energy at Clendening Lake in Harrison County and in 2012 with Chesapeake Energy Corp. for land at Leesville Lake in Carroll County.
Gulfport paid the district a $15.6 million lease bonus on 2,800 acres and royalties on natural gas produced.
Chesapeake paid the district $21.5 million in lease bonuses on 3,700 acres plus royalties.
The district has about 275 older traditional wells on district-owned land.
In related news, the district has received one request for water from a driller during the winter drawdown of eight reservoirs.
Gulfport Energy Corp. purchased 7.28 million gallons from Clendening Lake in mid-November. It paid $9 per $1,000 gallons of water. The district was paid about $65,000. A temporary pipeline was built to take lake water.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.