EnerVest Ltd., based in Houston, has drilled several miniaturized horizontal wells, mostly around Louisville and Alliance in northeast Stark County, to test the potential profitability of the sandstone. Another company has done the same in Coshocton County, southwest of Canton.
For about a century, Clinton sandstone has been an oil and gas producer, but the wells have always been straight vertical holes into the formation that is 3,000 to 4,600 feet below the surface.
EnerVest is looking for areas of Clinton that have not been over-tapped with vertical wells. The company is experimenting with the new horizontal drilling technology that allows the driller to go to a specified depth, turn 90 degrees, drill horizontally, fracture the underground rock with high-pressure water, sand and chemicals and break loose the trapped oil and gas.