Potential is great for oil from Monterey Shale

by Jack Stewart
March 26, 2013
As posted in Capitol Weekly

Alternative fuels play an important role in meeting California’s growing energy needs. Our state is the leader in renewable energy technology. But, even with our impressive clean energy achievements, California’s economy will rely on fossile fuel energy for the foreseeable future to fuel our cars, move our freight and power public transportation. That is why we can’t ignore the billions of barrels of recoverable oil beneath our feet in California’s central valley.

California is on the verge of entering a new chapter on energy supply – one where both alternative fuels and newly discovered oil supplies put us at the forefront of energy competitiveness. A new study out this week from the University of Southern California and the Communications Institute shows there is a bright spot in California’s economic future: the increased production of energy.

The report “Monterey Shale and California’s Economic Future” highlights the huge, untapped reserves of oil available in the San Joaquin Valley’s Monterey Shale. These 15.4 billion barrels of oil are located largely on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley from Kern County in the south to Stanislaus County in the north.


Unlocking the oil reserves in the Monterey Shale will help move us away from our dependence on foreign oil and will provide a real solution for our state’s energy needs. But most importantly, it will revitalize our state’s economy. States like North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas have capitalized on in-state energy production to provide jobs and their residents are reaping the benefit of their state’s economic revival. Now, it’s California’s turn.

According to the USC study, exploration in the Monterey Shale will create as many as 512,000 jobs in 2015 and more than 2.8 million new jobs by 2020, increasing the number of jobs in the state between 2.1percent to 10.0 percent. These jobs are critical for residents throughout the state who are struggling to find employment and a major boost to the small business that support manufacturing.

Developing industry sectors throughout the state has served to attract new companies and workers and has enabled communities throughout California to become industry leaders. We have seen this first hand, as the San Diego region has become a hub for the wireless community with Qualcomm at the center of it all. And the Bay Area has become one of the biggest biotech clusters in the nation attracting significant funding for research as well as a talented workforce. Exploration of the Monterey Shale will infuse the same economic vitality in the San Joaquin Valley, transforming the region into one of the state’s energy hubs.

Tapping into the Monterey Shale will also put real dollars into the state’s coffers – money for public safety, education, healthcare, and transportation – priorities that residents have consistently advocated for additional funding. The production operations will increase state and local government revenues from $4.5 to $24.6 billion depending on the year. Individuals will also benefit as personal income is expected to grow by $40.6 billion to $222.3 billion.

Not only does increasing our in-state energy production provide tangible opportunities for millions of Californians, it sends a signal to jobseekers and other businesses that California takes seriously its commitment to strengthen the economy and get our state back on track.

The Monterey Shale is a game changer--- it shows that the state can use its technological and resource advantages to be a leader in renewable energy AND in oil production and that in-state energy production is the key to our state’s economic recovery.

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