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Problems Facing California's Oil Boom

Submitted by whitney on

While the news is busy covering the Williston basin region and all the economic growth from oil productions there, California might be posed to get in on some of the action and light up an oil boom of our own. california oil, oil boom, oil industry, refineries, oil, california wealth

An article written by CNN states that California’s Monterey Shale has been estimated to contain as much as 400 billion barrels of oil, with recoverable amounts comparable to what they’re pulling out of the Williston Basin in North Dakota.

There are some problems facing would-be California oil companies though:

Difficult Extraction

Because of California’s San Andreas fault line, layers in the Monterey Shale formation don’t sit nicely on top of one another in a typical pattern. They overlap in such a way that traditional drilling methods won’t be as effective in extracting the oil reserves.

Dissent in Response to Possible Fracking

Recent improvements in oil extraction technology have made it possible to extract difficult-to-reach oil. Using a technique called Hydraulic Fracturing, or “fracking,” which involves injecting various materials and fluids into the boring hole, creating tiny cracks deep in the ground and allowing oil reserves to escape.

But local residents are up in arms in response to fracking too near their homes. Fear of groundwater contamination and seismic activity pose potential threats, though companies representing the oil production industry insist that fracking is perfectly safe.

Local Economic Impact

While most people would posit that creating jobs and stimulating economic growth in California would be a welcome development, not everyone agrees. Some would say that California’s already-impacted Central Valley doesn’t need any more residents and activity than it already has, but with the job market and state fiscal situation still in shambles, many would like to see economic stimulation any way they can get it.

Whether the California oil boom materializes or not remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, if California does open its doors to mass oil production, it will have to be with a solid environmental and economic plan in place to address all the possible issues.


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