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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Energy Mineral and Land Resources - Energy Program - NCDEMLR

Energy Mineral and Land Resources

Oil & Gas Program

The Oil and Gas Program in the Energy Section of the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources administers and enforces the provisions of the Oil and Gas Conservation Act and served as staff to the Mining and Energy Commission during the development of a state regulatory program for management of oil and gas exploration and development, including the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. This occurred following July 2012 General Assembly ratification of the Clean Energy and Economic Security Act, or Session Law 2012-143.

The Mining and Energy Commission submitted rules to the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings for publication in July 2014. Adoption of the rules occurred in November 2014. The rules and were reviewed by the Rules Review Commission at the December 2014 and January 2015 meetings.

 

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Announcements

0 - Drilling Unit Applications Received

0 - Complete Oil or Gas Well Permit Applications Received

(figures updated daily)

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Hydraulic Fracturing in North Carolina

The recent increase in natural gas production made possible by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has made energy prices more affordable for consumers across the country. The development of all safe, cost-effective, and clean energy resources, including natural gas, is part of an all-of-the-above strategy that will create jobs, lower energy costs and move the U.S. closer to energy independence. Natural gas is also critical to the integration of renewable resources that require a reliable source of backup energy.
 
A 2012 report from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (now known as the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality) concluded that production of natural gas by means of hydraulic fracturing can be done safely in North Carolina with the right protections and regulatory standards in place.
 
The Clean Energy and Economic Security Act of 2012 (Session Law 2012 – 143) reconstituted the state’s Mining Commission as the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) and directed it to develop a modern regulatory program for the management of oil and gas exploration and development activities in North Carolina, including the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The law mandated that the regulatory program be designed to protect public health and safety, public and private property, and the state’s natural resources while promoting economic development.
 
Rulemaking and Public Participation
From 2012 – 2014, the MEC worked with stakeholders to draft rules and develop a regulatory framework that would govern the exploration and development of shale energy resources in North Carolina. Public hearings were held across the state to ensure community participation in the rulemaking process. The public was given additional opportunities to offer input through a series of hearings after the rules were developed.
 
More than 217,000 comments on the draft rules for oil and natural gas exploration were received and considered. On Nov. 14, 2014, the MEC adopted 120 rules that are the strongest the nation in environmental protection. The rules address hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, well construction, closure, setbacks, disposal of wastewater and other requirements to protect public health and the environment. The rules took effect March 17, 2015 after approval by the Rules Review Commission and the North Carolina General Assembly. 
 
In May 2015 a court ordered the MEC not to accept or process applications for drilling units or create any drilling units until a related legal challenge is resolved. 
 
Oil and Gas Commission
The Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) was established in Aug. 2015 as the successor to the MEC. The appointment of its members is pending.
 

Links

2012 North Carolina Oil and Gas Study 

15A NCAC 05H - Oil and Gas Conservation Rules - Final 2015 

Oil & Gas Rules Hearing Officers Report

EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources 

The Clean Energy and Economic Security Act (SL 2012 – 143)

The Energy Modernization Act (SL 2014 – 4)

 

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Oil & Gas Program Contacts

Walt Haven, P.G. - Oil & Gas Program Supervisor  919-707-9234

Ryan Channell, P.G. - Senior Geologist  919-707-9236

Katherine Marciniak, P.G. - Senior Specialist  919-707-9231

Rosalind Harris - Office Administrator  919-707-9234

Mailing address:
DEMLR/Oil & Gas Program
1612 MSC, Raleigh, NC  27699-1612 

Additional information

For additional information, please contact Oil and Gas Program Supervisor Walt Haven at 919-707-9234.

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