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A year ago, we told you some in West Virginia have been dealing with drilling in their area for years. In the last couple of years, the search for oil and natural gas has expanded into Noble and Monroe counties in eastern Ohio.

Marietta-based Triad Hunter is one of the companies that's been drilling those wells.

"We're very encouraged," says Jim Denny, President/CEO, Triad Hunter, LLC. "They're very high rate wells, as well as in the gassy areas. So, even at today's prices, those are very economic wells."

Triad, along with other companies, plans this year to expand that drilling into Washington County. They are seeking permits, with the intent to start drilling as soon as the end of this month.

Marietta College Professor of Petroleum Engineering Bob Chase says he knows of at least three companies with drilling plans, and with a process that's different than has been used before.

"The companies will be building pads, and putting as many as six wells on a pad," Chase says. "That minimizes the amount of disturbance to the environment, and makes for a very efficient drilling process."

Washington County is known for its manufacturing plants. But Denny believes the Utica and Marcellus Shale will bring a new dimension to the local economy. One which even might include a "cracker" plant that is heavily sought in West Virginia.

"I think you'll see economic growth here that will rival any area of the country," Denny says. "I think what will follow cheap energy will be manufacturing and a petrochemical resurgance that will be second to none."

Triad plans to drill in the northern and central part of the county. There might be wells established along the Ohio River as well.


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