Oil & Gas Activity in North Carolina

The N.C. Geological Survey, housed in the Department of Environmental Quality, has concluded that a viable reserve of natural gas may underlie parts of the state’s Triassic basins. Technically recoverable gas is thought to exist in the Sanford sub-basin (including Lee, Chatham and Moore counties) and possibly the Dan River sub-basin (including Stokes and Rockingham counties). Learn more

Recently, drilling has been proposed off of the coast of NC, however, but the extent to which that happens remains to be seen. Learn more

Presently there is no large scale oil and gas extraction occurring on land in North Carolina, but this industrial activity may begin in the near future. Due to a fairly recent law, horizontal drilling and injection wells (e.g. fracking) are now legal. The law also mandated that the Mining and Energy Commission develop a regulatory framework for the modern drilling techniques. The Commission has since created new rules, which can be found here:

Oil and Gas Conservation Rules – Final 2015

When we compiled our national map of oil and gas wells in 2014 and in 2015, we were told that there were two active oil and gas wells in the state of North Carolina, but that data about those wells were currently unavailable.  We have followed up on this matter multiple times, but received no further replies.

If you are approached to lease your mineral rights for oil and gas drilling, this website offers valuable tips for things to consider.

As data become available regarding oil and gas drilling in NC, including the use of well stimulation techniques such as fracking, we will update this page. In the meantime, below are resources that you can use to learn more about the potential for drilling in NC, as well as concerns and current research.

Additional Resource

Shale Gas Extraction in North Carolina: Research Recommendations and Public Health Implications – A summary by Adrian Down, Martin Armes, and Robert Jackson of a summit held in October 2012 by the Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative. Three recommendations for oil and gas development in NC were put forth by participants during that summit, to:

  1. Collect background data on the current state of health and the environment prior to drilling,
  2. Develop a comprehensive health impact assessment to monitor for problems as they occur, and
  3. Create a community needs and assets assessment to address and prevent social impacts.