Cumnock Shale Formation - Cumnock Shale Map - North Carolina Oil & Natural Gas Field

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Cumnock Shale Formation - Cumnock Shale Map - North Carolina Oil & Natural Gas Field

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What is the Cumnock Shale Formation? While not yet well known among the natural gas & oil community, geologists have drawn their attention to Shale Gas potential located in the Triassic Strata Deep River Basin of North Carolina.  Currently, the only two counties known to contain shale gas potential in this area are Lee County and Chatham County, North Carolina.  A third county in North Carolina, Moore County, is also being targeted for oil & natural gas.  The area of the Deep River Basin extends 150 miles along the northeast trend of central North Carolina.  While there are multiple formations of shale in Lee County and Chatham County, the one most gas-prone, is known as the Cumnock Formation.  The other shale formations are known as the Sanford Formation & Perkin Formation.

As of 2009, there were 28 wells that had been drilled in the Cumnock Formation of North Carolina, six of which reported natural gas and oil recovery.  There have been two shut-in wells that have reported pressures of 900 psi and 300 psi.  


In the past, Lee and Chatham Counties of Carolina were very well known for the coal production prominent in the area.  The coal mining era of the area, dated back to 1775 when the coal was used for iron and ammunition.  From 1920 to the 1940's, underground coal mining was prominent before a coal mine explosion killed 53 workers.   Finally, in the 1980's and 1990's, petroleum drilliing became the activity of interest in the area.  It wasn't until 2008 and geologists recognized the shale in Lee and Chatham County, North carolina as a potential gas resource.   

*Information courtesy of North Carolina Geological Survey (NCGS), Releigh, North Carolina 

While environmentalists have rising concerns about the possiblity of the area becoming a large natural oil and gas recovery zone, it has not stopped 62 landowners from registering deeds in Lee County, North Carolina and signing on with gas companies as of August 25, 2010.  If natural gas prices rise in the future, the cumnock shale field could make a lot of landowners rich!

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