Oil and Gas Program Studies

North Carolina Oil and Gas Study

Session Law 2011-276 required the Department of Environmental Quality, in cooperation with the Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation, Attorney General’s Office and Rural Advancement Foundation International, to conduct a study of the potential development of shale gas in North Carolina and make recommendations regarding the regulatory framework necessary for development of this resource. The study was required to address:

  • Oil and gas resources present in the Triassic Basins and in any other areas of the state
  • Methods of exploration and production
  • Potential impacts on infrastructure and water resources
  • Potential environmental, economic and societal impacts
  • Potential oversight and administrative issues associated with a regulatory program
  • Consumer protection and legal issues
  • Other pertinent issues

The study was presented to the General Assembly on May 1, 2012.

Final Report

Report by Sections


Impacts on Landowners and Consumer Protection Issues - N.C. Department of Justice

Addendum to North Carolina Oil and Gas Study

When the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released its assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources for five East Coast Mesozoic basins, DEQ staff realized that certain technical terms in the "North Carolina Oil and Gas Study” did not align with terms used in the USGS assessment. To minimize confusion and be consistent with USGS terminology, changes were made to the language used in the "North Carolina Oil and Gas Study." These changes were made on pages 28 through 31 of the report and only affected the terms “technically recoverable gas” and “original gas-in-place.” 

Public Meetings

Four public meetings on the oil and gas study were held in the state’s Triassic Basin during the course of the study. The first public hearing took place Oct. 10, 2011 in Sanford. During this initial meeting, the draft plan of the study was presented, the STRONGER process was discussed and public comments were received as to how the study should be conducted. In addition to comments received at the Oct. 10 public meeting, written comments on the draft outline of the study were accepted through Oct. 18.

The three additional public meetings took place in March and April 2012 to discuss the draft report, which concluded the study. Draft findings and recommendations from the report were presented in public meetings held in Sanford, Chapel Hill and Fearrington Village in Chatham County. Public comments were accepted at all three meetings, as well as by mail and email through April 2, 2012. 


As part of the state’s oil and gas study, DEQ requested a nonprofit organization called State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (STRONGER) to perform a review of North Carolina’s oil and gas regulatory programs. The STRONGER review process brought together representatives from the state, the oil and gas industry, and public interest stakeholders to evaluate the state’s regulatory programs against STRONGER’s set of national guidelines. STRONGER’s review panel met in late October to gather information about the state’s processes and issued a report in late February 2012.