"Federal energy authorities have slashed by 96% the estimated amount of recoverable oil buried in California's vast Monterey Shale deposits, deflating its potential as a national "black gold mine" of petroleum. Just 600 million barrels of oil can be extracted with existing technology, far below the 13.7 billion barrels once thought recoverable from the jumbled layers of subterranean rock spread across much of Central California, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. The new estimate, expected to be released publicly next month, is a blow to the nation's oil future ... Major oil companies have expressed doubts for years about recovering much of the oil. The problem lies with the geology of the Monterey Shale, a 1,750-mile formation running down the center of California roughly from Sacramento to the Los Angeles basin and including some coastal regions. Unlike heavily fracked shale deposits in North Dakota and Texas, which are relatively even and layered like a cake, Monterey Shale has been folded and shattered by seismic activity, with the oil found at deeper strata. The narrative of fracking in the Monterey Shale as necessary for energy independence just had a big hole blown in it ... 'From the information we've been able to gather, we've not seen evidence that oil extraction in this area is very productive using techniques like fracking,' said John Staub, a petroleum exploration and production analyst who led the energy agency's research. 'Our oil production estimates combined with a dearth of knowledge about geological differences among the oil fields led to erroneous predictions and estimates,' Staub said. Compared with oil production from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas, 'the Monterey formation is stagnant' ... J. David Hughes, a geoscientist and spokesman for the nonprofit Post Carbon Institute, said the Monterey formation 'was always mythical mother lode puffed up by the oil industry — it never existed'. Hughes wrote in a report last year that 'California should consider its economic and energy future in the absence of an oil production boom from the Monterey Shale'."

Zum Artikel von Louis Sahagun, erschienen in der Los Angeles Times (20. Mai 2014) »

Zum Artikel von David Hughes "California's Oil Dream is Over" auf MontereyOil.org (Mai 2014) »