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Federal officials this week cut their estimate of reachable oil reserves in Californias Monterey Shale formation from a massive 15.4 billion barrels to just 600 million, throwing into question the area’s much-touted potential as an economic boon for the cash-strapped state.

New data released on Tuesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reduces the amount of shale oil believed available in all of the United States by 66 percent, the Los Angeles Times reported. But most of the ocean of oil in the Monterey formation is trapped beneath curving rock formations and hard to get at, and the EIA said drilling efforts using today’s technologies will not yield much.

“From the information we've been able to gather, we've not seen evidence that oil extraction in this area is very productive using techniques like fracking,” John Staub, a petrochemical analyst with EIA, told the Los Angeles Times. He was referring to hydraulic fracturing, in which water and chemicals are pumped into the ground to loosen gas deposits.

As representatives of the oil and gas industry maintained that California fossil fuels are still a good bet, environmental groups hailed the EIA finding as good news for the state. Many of these organizations believe oil drilling is not only an imminent risk to water and air, but a source of carbon emissions contributing to climate change.

Despite the mounting evidence that the shale gas boom is heading for a bust, both economically and environmentally, both governments and industry are together pushing for it. A secret memo obtained by the Huffington Post states that the Obama administration and the EU are pushing ahead with efforts to expand US fracking, offshore oil drilling and natural gas exploration, as well as exports to the EU, under the prospective Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.


The gLAWcal Team

Thursday, 22 May 2014

(Source: the Guardian)