Environment
6:00 am
Tue May 24, 2011

Piedmont Rock Samples Suggest Vast Natural Gas Deposit

Geologists say North Carolina's natural gas reserves in one Piedmont sub-basin could power the state for 40 years. The North Carolina Geological Survey completed research last week that suggests a basin underneath Lee, Chatham and Moore Counties is rich in natural gas deposits. State Geological Survey chief Kenneth Taylor says North Carolina sent samples to federal geologists to confirm the findings.

Kenneth Taylor: "What we're trying to do is estimate, first of all, what area of the basin has the potential to have hydrocarbons. And for about 89,000 acres in Lee County, that is the case."

Taylor says more drilling is needed to determine exactly how much natural gas is in the Sanford sub-basin. State law currently prohibits a high-speed extraction process known as fracking. It's a controversial method due to a Duke University study that found contaminated water near fracking sites. North Carolina lawmakers are considering legislation that would ease state drilling regulations.

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