California's Monterey Shale is full of sweet, sweet crude -- maybe upwards of 400 billion barrels of the stuff. It's also full of earthquake-prone faults and fertile farmland. I have an idea: Let's frack the hell out of it! From CNN:
Running from Los Angeles to San Francisco, California's Monterey Shale is thought to contain more oil than North Dakota's Bakken and Texas's Eagle Ford -- both scenes of an oil boom that's created thousands of jobs and boosted U.S. oil production to the highest rate in over a decade. ...
"Four hundred billion barrels, that doesn't escape anyone in this businesses," said Stephen Trammel, energy research director at IHS [Cambridge Energy Research Associates].
The trick now is getting it out.
That will require convincing residents of the Golden State to hack up the land North Dakota-style. And by "convincing," I mean "bribing."
Several oil companies have put together research teams to work on the Monterey, said Katie Potter, head of exploration and production staffing at NES Global Talent, a company that recruits oil industry professionals.
If the Monterey takes off, Potter said the impact on jobs in the state would be huge, saying the shale boom has already created 600,000 jobs nationwide over the last few years.
"It could potentially solve the state's budget deficit," she said.
The Monterey Shale is not as easy to frack as other shale areas because it's not flat -- it's been crunched up by years of earthquakes. While there are 400 billion barrels in there, only about 15 billion could be drilled out with current technology; most would require "more intensive fracking and deeper, horizonal drilling," The New York Times reports. Currently, according to the Western States Petroleum Association, 628 of California's 47,000 active wells are fracking. From the Times:
Severin Borenstein, a co-director of the Energy Institute at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, said technological advances and the high price of oil were driving interest in the Monterey Shale, just as elsewhere.