Shale gas test drilling begins in North Carolina

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Test drilling for shale gas has begun in North Carolina, making the southeastern part of the state the centerpiece for the fracking debate. (WTVD)

Test drilling for shale gas has begun in North Carolina, making the southeastern part of the state the centerpiece for the fracking debate.

State scientists and two exploration companies began drilling in Raeford Wednesday morning.

"We have seven scientists ... and about six of us total," explained Russ Patterson of the Sanford-based Patterson Exploration Services company. "Going from the surface to the depth and when we get down to what we think is there, we are going to core 30 feet of that - this is really no different than drilling a water well."

They are testing for shale gas potential along the Cumberland-Marlboro basin, drilling several hundred feet. The Raeford drilling will last a few days before the crews move on to Cumberland and Scotland County sites.

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