Safe & Regulated

As North Carolina policymakers consider whether or not to expand energy development, including the use of hydraulic fracturing, in the state, they can look to the track record of safety and the experience of an industry that has used this technology in nearly one million wells for more than 60 years.

In addition to the strict federal regulations that oversee oil and natural gas development, companies also follow stringent standards and operating procedures to conduct all operations.


The American Petroleum Institute (API) is a trade association that represents 400 member companies across the oil and natural gas industry.  For more than 85 years, API, in conjunction with its member companies, has developed and refined engineering standards and practices for all aspects of oil and natural gas production.  Many of these standards have been adopted as references for industry performance, and incorporated into state and federal regulations.  These standards, considered industry practice, cover all aspects of natural gas production, including site preparation, drilling, well construction, well integrity, water use management and surface environmental considerations.

Companies producing natural gas from shale formations adhere to these strict standards when planning for and operating their wells.  Many of these companies are also the ones who developed the standards, and have been using them in production for years, if not decades.  The companies that continue to follow these strict standards and regulations will protect the safety and health of all citizens and the environment.  API and its member companies also continually monitor and update these standards to ensure operational safety and efficiency.


In addition to stringent standards governing natural gas operations, there are existing federal regulations that address oil and gas drilling and environmental protection. These rules cover all aspects of the process, including well permitting, well materials and construction, air emissions, wildlife protection, safe disposition of used hydraulic fracturing fluids, water testing, chemical recordkeeping and reporting.

Federal Regulations: 

State Regulations:

North Carolina currently has regulations in place to govern aspects of oil and natural gas development, but not for the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations which are required to extract natural gas from the state’s shale formations.  The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)  outlines the laws that are currently in place and the process that the government is going through to evaluate and create regulations to allow hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.  Please visit the DENR website to obtain more information by clicking here.

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