Appalachian Basin

Chesapeake Landowner Says Yes to Natural Gas, Encourages Others to do the Same

The southern part of Ohio is where a significant amount of Utica Shale development has been taking place.  Conveniently for Ed Vahalik and his family it is also where they call home.  As a result, the Vahalik’s, who live and run their business in Amsterdam, have a new Chesapeake Energy well-pad on their dairy farm that has been in the family for over 60 years.

The well-pad on the Vahalik farm is about to go into production, when it does it will provide domestic energy for the nation and Ohio, royalties for the Vahalik family, and continued regional economic development for Jefferson County.

The Vahalik’s story began in spring of 2011 when Matt Mroczkowski, a Chesapeake Energy field representative, arrived at their home to meet with the family to discuss developing their mineral rights.

Ed has a great story to tell about his positive experience with the company and how Chesapeake worked closely with his family to make sure their needs were met, and that all of their questions were answered, as both sides moved through the leasing process.

The Vahalik family had a 20 year old lease as this area of Ohio is no stranger to resource development.  There were a few issues that had to be worked through before moving forward.

In addition to working out the details of the old lease, Ed asked Chesapeake to make some accommodations before the pad was constructed. It is worth noting that this is the right of every landowner who is considering leasing their land for energy development.

Specifically, Ed asked for the pad site access road to be moved to ensure development did not interfere with the family’s coming and goings.  In addition, there was a wetland on the property that needed to be avoided and protected which required the pad to be moved and surrounded by a larger berm than normal. As if that wasn’t enough, the Vahalik’s property also contained a bat habitat which was found during the planning phase.  That also required special considerations as the activity at the site couldn’t disturb any of the trees the bats were using as their home.  You can see there were a few challenges, all of which were able to be overcome.

For his part Ed is very excited.  After all what’s not to be excited about, as Ed will tell you himself this well will help his family, town, county, state, and country by providing domestic  energy, economic development and revenue to communities throughout Ohio.

Based on their positive experience, Ed and his family have promoted this process to everyone in town. He knows folks have questions about leasing, exploration and production and he is ready, willing and eager to answer them. Ed is also quick to point out that natural gas production is having a significant positive impact on the community that will benefit everyone.

Folks like Ed and others like him see the “bigger” picture and they know how just one well on his family farm in his little corner of the world impacts energy security in Ohio and for the rest of country.

So the question has to be asked, Ed would you recommend this process to others?

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