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First was the shale oil and gas boom. Eastern and southeastern Ohio saw a surge in lease activity, pipeline projects and hiring. New wealth trickled through the economy to car dealers, hotel operators and restaurants.

And then, late last year, the price of crude oil plummeted.

Now, Ohio’s shale country is an uncomfortable place, with elements of the boom still in place, and some companies facing what can only be described as a bust.

“To me there’s a very clear picture,” says David Hill, an independent oil and gas producer in Guernsey County, and president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “If you’re in the oil and gas business right now, you’re very, very concerned about your future.”

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