BP PLC is in the early stages of evaluating Ohio's energy potential but believes the state--which is home to the emerging Utica shale--could be a significant contributor to the energy industry, Chief Executive Bob Dudley said Friday.
The executive cited estimates by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that put the state's recoverable shale potential at up to 5.5 billion barrels of oil and 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
"In the coming months, we expect to acquire seismic surveys, prepare a development plan and survey land for initial wells to be drilled next year," Mr. Dudley said.
BP is one of several companies seeking to tap the unconventional oil resources that have revolutionized energy production in the U.S
Production of natural gas in the neighboring Marcellus shale, which underlies several northeastern states, has revitalized formerly depressed areas by providing cheap energy for steel manufacturing and low-cost feedstock for chemical products. The oil industry hopes that the shales underlying Ohio could have large deposits of profitable crude oil.