Seismic blasts could echo underwater and core samples could be drilled offshore as companies search for oil and natural gas under permits the federal government is considering granting to nine companies.

But exploration isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

A federal public input meeting on the environmental impact of granting the permits takes place Friday in North Charleston. The meeting is a preliminary part of the permitting process.

Leases are granted for five-year periods. None have been granted in the Atlantic for the next five years.

The exploration companies are paid by oil company clients with immediate interest in the data they collect.

Read more in tomorrow’s The Post and Courier.

Science and environment reporter. Author of Washing Our Hands in the Clouds.