VIENNA - Township trustees are expected today to ink a deal that will lease mineral rights on 16 acres of township property for oil and natural gas drilling.
Trustees voted in special session Saturday to move forward with a lease on the public property, township trustee Phil Pegg said, noting that trustee Richard Dascenzo Jr. is to travel to Salem today to ink the deal.
Since the deal was not official, Pegg declined to release details of the township's agreement being negotiated through the Associated Landowners of the Ohio Valley, or ALOV. ALOV is a consortium of landowners who have banded together to negotiate drilling leases with oil and natural gas companies.
Pegg said Sunday that less than 16 acres, scattered throughout the township, will be used for drilling.
The vote passed 2-1, with Pegg as the lone nay vote. He said he agreed to the drilling, but disagreed with Dascenzo and Heidi Brown on where the money from the drilling leases would go.
Pegg said the money will go to the township's general fund, but he believes it should be earmarked for special projects.
The move is at least the second one in the Vienna area in which mineral rights on public land are being leased for oil and gas drilling into the mineral-rich Utica Shale.
In early April, the Mathews Local School District inked a deal negotiated by ALOV on the district's behalf with BP for 87 acres owned by the Vienna-area school district. That agreement brought Mathews about $3,900 per acre in a signing bonus, or $339,300. Additional funds will be realized by the district in royalties once drilling begins.
Schools Superintendent Lewis Lowery has indicated that the windfall may be used to help rectify ongoing septic system problems.
BP and ALOV last month also announced a deal that would involve the lease of approximately 84,000 acres Trumbull County-wide, bringing in more than $300 million for area property owners, public and private.