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CAFrackFacts EIA Press ReleaseEnergy Information Administration Downgrades Monterey Shale Oil Reserves by 95.6%


(LOS ANGELES, CA – May 20, 2014) – Today, the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirmed new estimates for US shale oil reserves, reducing its previous estimate for technically recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale from 13.7 billion barrels of oil to just 0.6 billion barrels of oil. This amounts to a 95.6 percent reduction and is illustrative of just how much the Monterey formation is misunderstood.

To put this figure in perspective, the EIA’s latest estimate of 0.6 billion barrels would only be enough to meet US oil consumption for 32 days.

“This downgrade fundamentally changes the risk-reward calculation when it comes to unconventional oil development in our state,” said Jayni Foley Hein, Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Energy and the Environment and CAFrackFacts Advisor. “Given that the industry’s promised economic benefits are not likely to materialize, the state should take a hard look at the impacts that oil development has on public health, safety, and the environment.”

For years, the oil industry has made extensive claims and invested heavily in attempting to develop the Monterey Shale using unconventional development techniques such as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and acidization. These controversial techniques were believed to be the answer to tapping into the wealth of the Monterey Shale and replicating the oil boom that is occurring in other regions of the United States.

“With these new numbers from the EIA, it is clear that the Monterey Shale will not be the panacea that will fuel our cars, jobs or the California economy,” said Dr. Seth B. Shonkoff, Executive Director of the scientific organization PSE Healthy Energy. “It is critical that California turn its attention towards energy sources that will meet our energy demands for the near- and long-term, facilitate the meeting of our climate targets and create real jobs in this State.”

As large-scale fracking of the Monterey Shale seems unlikely, other forms of enhanced oil recovery throughout California continue to pose not fully-understood risks to the health and safety of Californians.

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CAFrackFacts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding and scientific knowledge about unconventional drilling and well stimulation techniques in California. We work with scientists and medical professionals to collect and share the most reliable data and scientifically-based research about well stimulation techniques and their potential consequences on our communities and our state as a whole. We are committed to equipping Californians with critical information needed to make informed decisions about our state’s health, energy and economic future. For more information visit www.CAFrackFacts.org or follow us on Twitter @CAFrackFacts

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