NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (May 23, 2022) – The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District will make more than 40 million dollars on a new oil and gas lease at Tappan Lake. At 73-hundred acres, it is the largest land lease to date on MWCD property. MWCD Executive Director Craig Butler says the money will be used to continue improvements to park amenities and infrastructure, and on conservation efforts.
“We’re not clear exactly in terms of specifics, but a high level, we think we have a really good idea where that money gets spent, which will be improving our customer experience and improving the watershed.”
MWCD is in the midst of a 200-million dollar Master Plan redesign, made possible by past lease agreements. Butler says the oil and gas revenue has been crucial for the improvements at Atwood, Charles Mill, Piedmont, Pleasant Hill, Seneca and Tappan Lake.
“Prior to the era of oil and gas – this new horizontal drilling oil and gas – the organization … did not have a lot of money,” Butler said. “It’s night and day compared with our revenue and funding source from pre-horizontal drilling to current day.”
Improvements include, “completely upgrading the wastewater and drinking water system, infrastructure, all of the electric systems. And then the visible things that you do see: the concrete pads that we have for camping, the amenities that are in and around the park. If you were with us beyond five years ago and then you come in today, you would see a clearly visible difference.”
The MWCD Board of Directors approved the lease for Utica Shale development with Encino Energy Friday. Butler says the contract addresses environmental impact.
“So that means not constructing wellheads and compressor stations and pipeline infrastructure on our properties,” Butler said. “This is a non-developmental lease, so they’re going to be able to access all the areas they need to at Tappan to extract that oil and gas from off of our property.
“There are a series of environmental principals that are in our lease that are frankly likely in no other leases these companies have, focused clearly on environmental standards,” Butler said.
The lease is for 40.15-million dollars, paid over five years, plus 20 percent royalties. Officials did not have an estimate on how much the royalty deal could bring in.