What impact has Ohio’s shale boom had on oil and natural gas production in the state?

A definitive answer is hard to find.

Production numbers for 2012 were expected around the beginning of April, but have yet to be posted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

A spokesman this week said the agency still is working on the report and that an increase in the amount of data over last year has contributed to the wait.

Companies are exploring the Utica Shale with hopes of finding oil and natural gas liquids, as well as dry natural gas. The oil and liquids carry a higher price than dry gas.

Oil has been turning up, but it also has been difficult to pull from some wells. Interstate 77 is an unofficial dividing line with wells east of the highway producing liquids, while it has been difficult to coax oil from wells on the west side.

As of April 20, the state listed 616 Utica Shale well permits, with 305 wells drilled and 89 producing.

By comparison, the state listed 45 wells as producing at the end of December, and at the end of 2011 there were only nine producing wells included in the initial Utica production report.

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