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“Technically Recoverable” Oil in California’s Monterey Shale Formation

Statement by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA), revision does not change the estimate of the amount of oil present.  It only changes their estimate of how much of that oil can be produced given the current state of technology in California.

This change in the estimate of recoverable oil indicates the need to continue to invest in research and exploration in this area to adapt technologies that have proved successful at producing oil from shale resources elsewhere to California’s unique geology.

We have a great deal of confidence that the skill, experience and innovative spirit possessed by the men and women of the petroleum industry will ultimately solve this puzzle and improve production rates from the Monterey Shale.

It is not uncommon for estimates of “technically recoverable” resources to change in the early stages of production activity.   For example, the USGS initially estimated the Bakken Shale in North Dakota held just 151 million barrels of oil in 1995.  Today, the EIA puts that estimate at 4 billion barrels.

Regardless of what the current estimate is, developing the shale resource along with our abundant conventional oil resources helps ensure that oil is produced domestically by California workers rather than imported from foreign countries.

Production of California’s oil resource also ensures that energy is being produced under the strictest environmental and regulatory structure in the world.