Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oil on Fiscal Waters

Venice, CA back in the day
There is much interest in California's oil producing potential these days, and not just because of environmental concerns:

The oil and gas potential of the vast Monterey shale formation will be the focus of an upcoming study by an independent panel of scientists operating under direction of the state Legislature.
The study will be part of a highly anticipated report on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, with the first volume released Wednesday. That report, covering existing well stimulation practices, underscored the profound uncertainties about the amount of developable oil beneath Monterey County and parts south. “We’re going to look at what it would really take to get a good estimate,” said Jane Long, who is spearheading the study for the California Council on Science and Technology.

The effort is one result of SB 4, a 2013 state bill that was the Legislature’s answer to a raging debate about the impacts of hydraulic fracking in California. Santa Cruz County banned fracking, and in November, San Benito County voters did the same there. The Monterey shale underlies the San Joaquin Valley and parts of Monterey County. In 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Agency estimated it held 15.4 billion barrels of untapped oil — more than any place in the U.S.  But in 2014, the agency dramatically lowered its estimate to 600,000 million barrels. The study released Wednesday found both estimates to be unreliable...

Full story at

California is a major oil producer among the states.  Back in the day, there was a major oil boom in California, complete with a related financial scandal:  Possibly, we could have another oil boom - which is what the legislature wants to determine.  Oil can be taxed.  It is a potential source of state revenue.  From time to time, there are attempts to put an oil tax initiative on the ballot.  Oil money for higher ed has been proposed.  But the oil industry is opposed to being taxed and raises the specter of higher gasoline prices.  However, because of the fracking issue, it is possible a deal could be cut - assuming there is lots of oil to be had.  We will see...
Also back in the day

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