Skip to comments.The Race For California’s Shale Is On!
Posted on 02/27/2013 4:29:46 PM PST by dennisw
Its Americas final frontier for shale. And the payout will be huge.
If you add up the recoverable resource estimate for the oft-mentioned Bakken formation in North Dakota, as well as the Eagle Ford in South Texas then DOUBLE it, youll get close to the number of recoverable barrels of oil that remain trapped in the heart of this untapped mega shale deposit.
Put another way, according to the US Energy Information Administration, this one massive shale play represents 64% of the total recoverable shale oil resource base in the country.
Its the big kahuna, and today well take a look at how the profit opportunities are stacking up for this behemoth
But first, lets tackle what Id consider the most important question when it comes to any resource investment: why now?
Sure, weve always known California has oil. Starting early in the 20th century, black gold was flowing up and down the West Coast propelling business and riches alike.
Of course, like most of the other conventional deposits in the US, output has slowly but surely declined.
Today, though, the shale revolution is turning those declining deposits around. From Texas to North Dakota and even towards the East Coast, shale oil and gas are changing Americas energy future. Natural gas is plentiful and oil is coming to the surface, more each day.
That is, except for one untapped shale deposit what I call the big kahuna Californias Monterey shale.
Unlike other shale turn-around stories Californias energy output has continued on a downward path. Once a 1.1 million barrel per day (Mbpd) state, California is now producing just half of that around 500,000 bpd. But when operators in that area finally crack the code, you can bet production will rocket higher.
The best analogy is what we saw recently in Texas.
Once the code was cracked and companies found a way to produce shale oil and make money, total production for the state skyrocketed. Today, Texas is well on its way to eclipsing the mid-80s production level above 2.4 Mbpd. Take a look:
Put in perspective, Californias Monterey is truly a sleeping dragon.
The sheer size of this deposit is staggering. In shale terms, the Monterey formation could hold as many as 400 billion barrels of oil. Of that 400 billion, over 15 billion barrels are considered recoverable with todays technology. That trumps the recoverable estimates from the Bakken and Eagle Ford by a factor of 2.
Getting back to the eye-popping statistics above, that represents a whopping 64% of Americas recoverable oil shale reserves. And the way I see it, its only a matter of time before this behemoth is spitting out profit opportunities.
That brings us to the other bit of timeliness to this story.
If we were talking about any state other than California (or maybe New York) this energy turnaround story would already be under way. Indeed, the Monterey would be a household shale player with hundreds of rigs spinning as we speak.
But alas, this is California. The political and environmental red tape in the state have brought energy development to a virtual halt.
Of course, if that were the end of the story I wouldnt be writing to you today.
Instead, the way I see it, theres big change on the horizon. Soon, I believe Californias shale will be open for business
Whats the one thing that shale-producing states have in common?
Well for starters, governments like Texas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania have enjoyed a boost to tax revenues via shale production. Along with that, unemployment rates are lower than the US average and energy prices are affordable.
Currently California finds itself on the opposite end of this spectrum a huge budget deficit, high unemployment and expensive energy. As the days pass and deficits increase, pressure mounts to tap this hidden revenue stream.
Another factor at play here is time. Each passing day with, safe, reliable, affordable, US shale production ramping up, theres more reason for California lawmakers and politicians to look towards shale production as a potential savior for out of control government budgets.
One recent example of this is New York State. New York was the first state to quickly ban shale development. But recently legislation is gaining steam to allow shale production. Indeed, if New York goes the way of shale, the road may be paved for California.
I believe today were at the tipping point. Two months ago, California Governor Jerry Brown released draft regulations that could speed up shale development in the state. Along with that, also in December, the US Bureau of Land Management auctioned off a handful of leases in the state.
The writing is on the wall for a ramp-up of Californias Monterey shale.
There are two key factors to keep an eye on here permits and production.
First, well want to keep an eye on the permit process out west. If sweeping changes open up the permit process allowing for a massive increase in permit approvals its only a matter of time before the major players skyrocket (Californias usual cast of characters include: Chevron, Shell, Exxon, Occidental and Venoco.)
A change in tone from the political side could fuel this permit turnaround, and the impending shale boom. Is the incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown the pioneer for the job? Well see.
However, there is one other force that could boost permitting.
In a similar way that more permits can lead to more production, production can lead to permits. What Im looking for here is a code crack for the Monterey shale. For instance, if an operator in the area can crack the Monterey code, and start drastically increasing the production per well, we could see a turnaround for the whole state.
This is similar to what happened in North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania. Quietly, but quickly, the shale-code was cracked and production per well started jumping off the charts. The immediate effect was a drastic increase in tax revenue for the state. In the case of ND, TX and PA the states welcomed the bump in tax revenue with open arms and accommodating regulation meaning plentiful permits.
If permits and production perk up, watch out. The shale boom on the West Coast could come fast. Keep your ear to the ground on this one.
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There are crude oil bubbles the size of battleships that have been bubbling up off Long Beach since I was in grade school 50+ years ago.
One would think that somebody would just go harvest that, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
LOL,,Shale oil? Along the California coast too. Gosh,, they’ll fast track that for SURE! It will easily be in production sometime in 2083!!
Doesn't California still have natural oil seeps despoiling their beaches?
The Kalifornia greenie weenies will never stand for it.
What does Kim Kardashian say about this? Who cares what the geologists say. Matt Damon made a movie that says fracking is bad. Windmills and solar are all we need. Jerry Brown hates fossil fuel. End of discussion. /s
But I agree with you - this is California, where the very sight of anything that looks like oil-wealth sends the massive numbers of lefties in this state into all-out frenzies.
But - the state of California is sitting atop more oil-wealth than any other state in the nation - an estimated overall 1 trillion barrels, if shale deposits are tapped - and California is broke.
We don't even need to drill to tap near 400 billion barrels in Southern CA - just open the old oil wells that were capped in the 50's and 60's and start pumping! The mayor of Long Beach, who wanted to do just that, was stopped by the leftist dominated state government.
Looks like Occidental Petroleum has a head start over anyone else in making major extractions from this formation in their Kern County holdings in the vicinity of Bakersfield.
I suspect that at some point, it will dawn on Sacramento that these deposits will bring in TONS of tax revenue that they can then pee away on every one of their pet schemes - and more. That’s when the Greenies will be thrown under the bus - tax revenue vs ideology.
Believe me there is nothing to harm around Lost Hills.
So don't hold your breath waiting for something to happen here. Pun intended.
Had to go back and see who wrote the article ... thought for a second that Slow Joe, but it was only some misguided fool living in fantasyland of Southern Californicate.
imho the next monster oil plays will be in the permian basin of west texas. there are a couple of major oil fields like the wolfenberry cline shale wolfcamp and a couple smaller ones. Any one of the majors there — is bigger than eagle ford or baaken. Unlike california, they’ve cracked the code there and completed the testing and hooked up most of the piping to the coast. In a year or two the numbers from there are just going to explode.
The Green River Formation has an estimated shale oil recovery of 1.1 1.3 TRILLION barrels.
“...Shouldnt it be newsworthy that the U.S. has 1.5 trillion barrels of recoverable in the Green River Formation, an amount even greater than this estimate of 1.392 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves in the entire world?...”
Positive Ping!!! The Black Gold(en) State!!!
Thanks for the ping.