Alert – California’s Monterey Shale Poised to be Next Big Oil Boom

January 14, 2013 – The Monterey Shale in California, thought to hold more oil than the North Dakota Bakken and the Texas Eagle Ford, could be the next big oil play in the United States.  Reports estimate that the Monterey holds nearly half the amount of conventional oil in all of Saudi Arabia, with over 15 billion barrels able to be recovered using current technology.  This field could be the solution to the state’s fiscal problems, provided new technologies can recover the additional reserves without upsetting powerful Californian environmental lobbyists.

Because of the San Andreas Fault, the geologic layers that result in oil accumulation are folded over, rather than stacked as they are in other shale states.  As a result, some of the shale rock has already been cracked—resulting in California’s productive “conventional” oil plays.  But this also means horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are not as effective in removing shale oil in the state.  Regardless, all 18,000 acres offered in a modest federal lease sale in late 2012 were quickly leased.  Occidental Petroleum, one of the lessees, has been using a deep acid injection method successfully in the area.

Despite its active environmental groups, California is already the third largest oil producer in the nation.  Some estimate that the Monterey will push it into number one in the next ten years.  For more information, see CNN Update.

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