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Were there once oil wells along Factory Road in Hampstead?

Ben Steelman

No local we contacted has ever heard of any.

In fact, according to the N.C. Geological Survey, a state agency, no commercial oil wells have ever been drilled in North Carolina. Only two exploration wells are under permit — both in Lee County, near Sanford, in the state’s Piedmont region — but neither is currently in production.

Petroleum deposits are known to exist in North Carolina, primarily on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf and in what geologists know as the Bertie County Mesozoic Basin, in the northeast corner of the state. The potential economic value of these areas, however, has yet to be determined. The southeastern corner of the state is not presently an area of much interest.

The big focus now is on natural gas trapped in shale deposits, which might be exploited by a process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” The potential fields for that, however, lie in the Piedmont, in a track stretching from Union and Anson counties, on the South Carolina line, northeast toward Durham and Oxford, near Virginia.

The most promising fields lie in Lee, Chatham and Moore counties, in a geological formation known as the Sanford sub-basin. Kenneth Taylor, the chief of the N.C. Geological Survey, says this area might contain enough natural gas to supply North Carolina’s energy needs for 40 years.

“Fracking,” however, is a controversial technique. Some environmentalists claim it pollutes groundwater supplies and might even trigger earthquakes. The mining technique is not currently permitted in North Carolina, although the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is currently holding hearings on the issue.

No shale deposits, however, are known in Southeastern North Carolina.

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One Response to “ Were there once oil wells along Factory Road in Hampstead?”

  1. On November 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm charles godwin wrote:

    I thought there was some drilling in dare cty back in the 60’s near stumpy point

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