While most eyes in the statewide fracking debate are on the Marcellus Shale region in Western Maryland, a smaller gas basin underneath Southern Maryland is drawing a Texas-based energy company’s attention.
The Shore Exploration and Production Corp. has leased 84,000 acres of land in Virginia in relation to the Taylorsville basin but has not begun drilling.
The basin, though mostly in Virginia, runs in Maryland through most of Charles County and also goes into St. Mary’s, Prince George’s, Calvert and Anne Arundel counties.
Shore Exploration once leased Maryland land with Exxon and Texaco during the late 1980s to study the basin but was unable to use it for extracting natural gas, said Stan Sherrill, Shore’s president.
Energy companies now have stronger technology options, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which also is called fracking, he said.
However, Shore currently will not lease in Maryland because of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s order that prevents the Maryland Department of the Environment from approving drilling permits until the end of a scientific study examining fracking.
“Until they’re willing to change their moratorium, it’s a moot question,” Sherrill said.
The study ordered by O’Malley (D) is planned to be finalized later this year.