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West Virginia officials recently approved an agreement with Statoil that will allow hydraulic fracking under the Ohio River in Marshall and Wetzel Counties. Pursuant to the agreement, the state of West Virginia will lease approximately 474 acres of land to Statoil, in exchange for 20 percent oil and gas production royalties.

Leasing state-owned property for hydraulic fracturing is a new venture for the state of West Virginia. West Virginia announced its plan to lease the land under the Ohio River for hydraulic fracking in late 2014, at which point it began accepting bids. The state continues to finalize the negotiations for drilling contracts.

Over 70 Marcellus wells and two Utica wells have already been drilled throughout West Virginia. The state will see a substantial revenue increase from this agreement as well; some estimate that West Virginia will eventually benefit as much as $40 million in the coming years from hydraulic fracturing.