Associated Press Published

W.Va., Noble Negotiating Deal for Drilling Under Ohio River

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA

  West Virginia is negotiating a lease with Noble Energy for oil and gas drilling under the Ohio River.

Department of Commerce spokeswoman Chelsea Ruby tells The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that Noble submitted the highest bid to lease a 1,400-acre state-owned tract under the river.

Ruby says Noble has agreed to pay $3,500 per acre to lease the land. She didn’t say what percentage of production royalties Noble will pay the state.

Noble spokeswoman Stacey Brodak declined comment on the deal because it hasn’t been finalized.

The state earlier leased 232 acres under the river to Gastar Exploration for drilling. Both tracts are in Marshall County.

Leasing state land for a drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, is a new venture for West Virginia.