Bob Downing

Ohio’s Utica shale boom is moving into Wayne County.

Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp. has obtained a state permit for a horizontal well east of Wooster in East Union Township, according to information from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and its Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

The permit was approved June 11.

It would be the first horizontal well to be drilled and hydraulically fractured, or fracked, in Wayne County.

Devon Energy has permits for six other wells in Ohio: one in Medina County’s Harrisville Township near Lodi, one in Ashland County, two in Knox County and two in Guernsey County.

The wells in Medina and Ashland counties have been drilled, and one Knox well is being drilled. The others are approved.

The company is preparing to fracture the Medina County well, according to state records.

The company has said it is going after oil that it expects to find in the western portion of the Utica shale, not natural gas that is being found under land generally east of Intestate 77.

To date, there are 20 other horizontal wells that have been permitted or drilled in the five-county Akron area: 12 in Stark County, seven in Portage County and one in Medina County.

Ohio has approved 273 requests to drill into the Utica shale under eastern Ohio to tap natural gas, oil and so-called wet gases: ethane, butane and propane.

To date, 78 of those wells have been drilled since December 2009.

Carroll County, southeast of Canton, remains the No. 1 drilling spot in Ohio with 91 permits approved, most by Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., the No. 1 player in Ohio. The company has 10 rigs in the state.

The energy giant has drilled 59 Ohio wells: nine are in production, 15 are nearing completion, 15 are awaiting completion and 20 need pipelines.

Other major drilling counties are Columbiana, 43 permits; Jefferson, 24; Harrison, 19; Monroe, 16; Noble, 12; and Guernsey and Mahoning, 11 each.

Ohio has approved 15 additional wells into the shallower Marcellus shale, which is found only in a small area in the southeastern part of the state. Seven of those wells have been drilled.

The Marcellus shale has been extremely lucrative across Pennsylvania and West Virginia. New York state is considering lifting a four-year-old moratorium on drilling into the Marcellus shale.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or