Nearly 40 years ago, when the first oil price shock from the Middle East and OPEC disrupted the American economy, North Carolina and Appalachia briefly became an oil and gas frontier. Following geological investigations, Chevron drilled an exploratory well in the Deep River Basin beneath Lee County, N.C. Oil was discovered at 5,000 feet, but it contained excessive paraffin and Chevron plugged the well.
It remains there today as a new natural gas and oil technology has emerged: the capability of opening tight rock formations or shale through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
Why is North Carolina not yet a site for drilling rigs, mud and service companies? Why is there shale gas exploration and production in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and on different rock formations in Arkansas, Texas and in the Rocky Mountains?
The answer is political.