Hydrology - Open-File Report 30

Historical Summary of Onshore Oil and Gas Exploration Activities in South Carolina

William T. Griffin


Oil and Gas Exploration in South Carolina has occurred in two distinct periods. The first period occurred between 1920 and 1957 (Olson and Glowacz, 1977). During this time 11 wildcat wells (wells 1 – 11, see map) were drilled in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. These wells are summarized in the table (after Olson and Glowacz, 1977), and their locations have been plotted on the accompanying map. Other than the fact that they were dry, little is known about these wells; therefore, they will not be discussed further in this report.

The second and current period of recorded activity began in 1980. These activities include leasing, soil geochemical analyses, seismic surveys, and drilling, and major companies and small independents have conducted them. It is possible that leasing occurred prior to 1980; but because there are no regulatory requirements for leasing in the State, we have no record of earlier activity.

The purpose of this report is to provide a detailed chronological summary of this second period of onshore oil and gas exploration, and to offer some general observations on future activities and the regulatory role of the South Carolina Water Resources Commission.

This open-file report is available for review in the SCDNR's Columbia office.