The elephant in the room is uncertainty over just how much oil or gas might be out there. It’s generally accepted that not a whole lot of oil lies off South Carolina. There are two types of natural gas fields, the commercially extracted “drier” fields and frozen methane fields that are found off South Carolina, said Mitchell Colgan, College of Charleston geology professor, who formerly worked in exploration research for Shell Oil Co.

“Nobody knows how to drill for them,” he said.