Study: Fracking May Boost California's Economy, Adding 2.8M Jobs

Study: Fracking May Boost California's Economy, Adding 2.8M Jobs

Development of California's Monterey shale formation can play the major role in the state's future economic well-being, noted a recent study, "Powering California: The Monterey Shale and California's Economic Future", released by the University of Southern California (USC) and Los Angeles-based think tank Communications Institute.

California's Monterey shale is estimated to hold 15 billion barrels of oil and development of the 1,750-square mile formation in central California could generate half a million new jobs by 2015 and 2.5 million jobs by 2020.

"This report provides an indication that there is one potential bright spot in California's economic future: the increased production of energy," the report stated. "California has long served as the incubator for emerging energy sources and technologies, as the state has taken advantage of both technology and its natural resources to become a leader in the generation of renewable energy. Now, these same technological and resource advantages can allow the state to return to leadership in the production of oil."

The Monterey/Santos play, a prolific source rock for many of California's large oil fields, is considered by far the largest shale oil formation in the United States, roughly two-thirds of total oil shale potential. By those numbers, the Monterey reserves trump the Bakken and Eagle Ford fields.

This new onshore oil play can easily pump up the nation's oil output by 25 percent in just a few years and help the state's local energy picture. California has more recoverable reserves in shale than nearby big oil-producing countries, according to a July 2012 report issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

To tap this prolific shale play, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing would most likely be used, which has riled environmentalists to oppose this widely-used drilling technique. And much pressure has been placed on California's Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, but the opposite has occurred.

"We want to get the greenhouse gas emissions down, but we also want to keep our economy going," he said at a March 13 press conference, Reuters reported. "That's the balance that's required. The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible, the potential is extraordinary. But between now and development lies a lot of questions that need to be answered."

The study forecasts that the state could greatly benefit, about $4.5 billion in oil-related tax revenue in 2015 and $24.6 billion by 2020. California boasts perhaps the largest deep-shale reserves in the world – reserves that, unlike elsewhere, hold the promise for an unprecedented volume of advanced crude oil production, the study noted. California's well-known offshore reserves contain more than 10 billion barrels of oil and nearly 12 trillion cubic feet of natural gas but the onshore play is projected to hold even more oil – more than 15 billion barrels, according to the EIA.

"Gov. Brown is trying to do what he feels is best for California and he realizes that much of the negative publicity was not based on an understanding of the facts," stated Don Clarke, a Los Angeles consulting geologist, in an interview with Rigzone. "We must protect the environment and any Monterey development can only be done with proper consideration to the environment and especially the groundwater."

Development of the oil-shale deposits may boost the state's economic activity by as much as 14.3 percent, the study said. And with that, increasing the state's per-capita gross domestic product (GDP).

"California, whose Monterey Formation alone is estimated to be four times larger than North Dakota's Bakken reserve, has chosen… to sharply limit its fossil-fuel industry. As a result, it has generated barely one-tenth the new fossil-fuel jobs in archrival Texas. Not surprisingly, California … lagged behind in GDP and income growth, while the energy states have for the most part enjoyed the strongest gains," author Joel Kotkin said Dec. 7 in the Daily Beast.


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Trampas | Apr. 10, 2013
I am guessing that the people that have made comments knocking this ride bickes to work, understand that the plactic in their IPads does not come from tree gum, and that the electric in thier homes or for their cars does not come from spontanious combustion. It all comes from a fossil fuel. Just saying!

Keith | Apr. 5, 2013
Jessica is right there, it would cause havoc with the earth and the quake zone not to mention the water poisoning of the choice farmland we eat our food from. If McDonalds isnt bad enough poisoning America, lets go ahead and poison the crops even worse than the pesticides already used. There may be some areas that could be drilled without too much damage but not the amounts your talking in the article.

Jessica | Apr. 2, 2013
and increase the number of earthquakes in an already unstable zone...buuuut who cares about that right?

Russell Berryman | Apr. 2, 2013
This sounds like an exciting new resource play that needs to be evaluated further. What are the chances of this play being developed in this state of Anti-Fossil Fuels?


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