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Hughes Drilling California report featured in article on BillMoyers.com

March 6, 2015

Post Carbon Institute’s report Drilling California by Fellow David Hughes was featured in this article telling the story behind fracking in the Golden State.

From the article:

In 2011, the Energy Information Administration all but declared another gold rush in California by proclaiming that the Monterey shale formation and its equivalents, which lie under most of south and central California, held 15.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. To put that number in perspective, that would mean 64 percent of the estimated reserve of shale oil in the lower 48. So, essentially, a colossal pile of black gold.

But not everyone bought the hype, including J. David Hughes, a geoscientist and fellow at Post Carbon Institute, who wrote the report “Drilling California: A Reality Check on the Monterey Shale.” And Hughes will likely get the pleasure of saying “I told you so.” Just three years after declaring that there was 15.4 billion barrels of oil, the EIA downgraded its estimate to 600 million barrels, slashing the number by 96 percent.

What went wrong? What proved successful in North Dakota’s Bakken shale and Texas’ Eagle Ford shale, hasn’t translated to California’s Monterey shale, which Hughes says has been structurally fragmented. The geology is “folded, faulted, and shattered at the microlevel,” he says…

“Geology beats technology every time,” he says. “In the final analysis geology always wins.”