The EIA has cut its original estimate of recoverable shale oil reserves in California’s much-hyped Monterey shale play by 96%, the L.A. Times’ Louis Sahagun reported late Tuesday.
The agency now says there are just 600 million barrels of recoverable crude — as much as Bolivia. Previously the agency had said there were up to 13.7 billion recoverable barrels.
The new estimate is expected to be released next month. Sahagun quotes EIA analyst John Staub:
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…Our oil production estimates combined with a dearth of knowledge about geological differences among the oil fields led to erroneous predictions and estimates.
In December, the Post Carbon Institute published a report calling into question the EIA’s initial estimate, noting that the Monterey’s geology, while superficially similar to the country’s marquee shale plays like the Bakken and Eagle Ford, contained unusual characteristics that would make it more difficult to access. In a statement last night the group said, “The oil had always been a statistical fantasy. Left out of all the hoopla was the fact that the EIA’s estimate was little more than a back-of-the-envelope calculation.”
Since the report was published in California lawmakers have been under tremendous pressure to allow . Staring them in the face was an estimate that the Monterey shale could create up to 3 million jobs. Governor Jerry Brown had previously said fracking the Monterey presented “a fabulous economic opportunity,” and last fall signed into law regulations that would allow the practice to continue in the state.
Now all that seems to be derailed.
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