North Carolina hopes recent legislation introduced into its general assembly will send a “very clear signal” to oil and gas companies that the state wants shale gas exploration in the state, a state representative told Rigzone in an interview Monday.
State Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton, the sponsor of Senate Bill (SB) 76, the Domestic Energy Jobs Act, told Rigzone that, while the ban on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has been lifted, the state hopes to provide certainty to the energy industry by fixing a specific date in which permits for shale gas drilling can be pulled.
Newton, who represents Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties in eastern North Carolina, introduced the bill last week. SB 76, which would authorize the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources to issue permits for oil and gas exploration and production, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, on or after March 1, 2015.
North Carolina officials hope to send a signal in two ways – one, that the legislature is very serious about pursuing shale exploration, and two, that the state is working “with all deliberate and purposeful speed” to get itself ready to issue permits.
Early indicators show North Carolina to have shale gas reserves that may be on the order of the Fayetteville play in Arkansas, with approximately 1.4 million surface acres with shale deposits of an average thickness of 200 feet. North Carolina has three basins with shale potential. The Deep River Basin, the one that is most talked about, has wet gas reserves.