The past and future of Ohio’s petroleum industry are next-door neighbors in the Beck Industrial Park, where an idle pumpjack rusts a few yards from the rising steel skeleton of Chesapeake Energy’s new regional field office.

When Chesapeake’s complex is finished, it will have a five-story office building, silos, a maintenance facility and employ 400 workers in the company’s Utica Shale drilling operations.

For now, it’s mostly a gravel parking lot for the heavy equipment used to horizontally drill and hydraulically fracture wells. Not much to look at.

The same could be said for shale development in Stark County, where only seven Utica wells have been drilled, and just two are producing oil or natural gas.

Look beyond those numbers, however, and Stark County’s strategic position in the Utica Shale region is easier to see.

DRILLING ACTIVITY

Statewide, shale drilling has created 38,000 jobs and added $4.1 billion to the state’s economy last year, according to global research firm IHS.

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