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United States Earth Power

US Officials Cut Estimate of Recoverable Monterey Shale Oil By 96% 411

First time accepted submitter steam_cannon (1881500) writes "The U.S. Energy Information Administration ( is planning to release a major 96% reserve downgrade to the amount of oil and gas recoverable from the Monterey Shale formation, one of the largest oil/gas reserves in the United States. After several years of intensified exploration the Monterey oil shale play seems to have much less recoverable oil and gas then previously hoped. This is due to multiple factors such as the more complex rippled geology of the shale and over-hyped recovery estimates by investors. By official estimates the Monterey Shale formation makes up 2/3 of the shale reserves in the US and by some estimates 1/3 of all crude reserves in the US. Not a drop in the bucket. Next Month the will be announcing cutting it's estimates for Monterey by 96%. That's a huge blow to the US energy portfolio, trillions of dollars, oil and gas the US might have used for itself or exported. Presently the White House is evaluating making changes to US oil export restrictions so this downgrade may result in changes to US energy policy. As well as have a significant impact on US economy and the economy of California."
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US Officials Cut Estimate of Recoverable Monterey Shale Oil By 96%

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  • Good. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @03:09AM (#47063581)

    Maybe we'll have to start paying the actual, non-subsidized price for petroleum.

  • Keystone XL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Prune ( 557140 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @03:10AM (#47063583)
    I wonder if this might change the Obama administration's calculus and their continued delays on the proposed pipeline.
  • by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @03:39AM (#47063669) Homepage Journal
    One more incentive to the US to turn towards renewable energy sources. The USA are lagging way behind western and northern European countries in that respect. Last week e.g. the Dutch railways announced that from next year on, 100% of their operations will run on electric power from renewable sources, mainly wind, bought from a total of 5 north west European countries ( DE, DK, BE, NO, NL ).
  • Wait.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pablo_max ( 626328 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @03:39AM (#47063671)

    Does this mean that we will need to find some other means of energy rather than burning dead dinosaurs? God forbid.

    While this may impact the future economic situation to some degree and CA, it is not like the oil had been extracted and then taken away. The money was never there, it was only the assumption of future money.
    I would also point out that the vast majority CA residents are strongly opposed to shale extraction off the coast of CA.

  • Re:Then/Than (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2014 @04:02AM (#47063765)

    It's because the majority of Americans don't really get taught proper English in school any more, and they pretty much ignore what teaching they do get. But they still get to pass classes and graduate, because it would hurt their feelings to do otherwise.

    I used to work at an outfit where the majority of my co-workers were immigrants, as well as a large proportion of our customers. The worst at English spelling and grammar in both groups by far were the people born and raised in the U.S. I never really knew whether to laugh at that or be depressed by it.

  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SpankiMonki ( 3493987 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @04:27AM (#47063825)

    LOL wut? You must live outside the US.

    This announced change on estimated US (slash) California reserves will have little to no impact on the markets. It certainly might have an impact on the CA economy in the long term - but for the rest of us...not so much.

  • by Bob_Who ( 926234 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:18AM (#47063987) Homepage Journal
    Some of the most beautiful coastline on earth stretches from Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo County. The waters are a National Marine Sanctuary. The Monterey Peninsula, Carmel, Pebble Beach, Big Sur are some of the most appealing destinations in California. The Los Padres National Forest extends into miles and miles of virgin wilderness from Ventana through the Santa Lucia and Coastal Range. The collision of the Pacific and Continental plates creates solid granite mountains rising up out of the pounding surf. East of the spectacular coastline is Steinbeck Country - the Salinas Valley, the salad bowl of America some of the most prosperous farmland on planet earth. It finds its water from the Salinas River which is the longest underground river on earth, as spring water percolates up from the range.

    The idea of fracking here just makes me wanna stop driving. I can't believe this project has been moving forward all of this time with FALSE DATA from the lying scumbag pigs that want money from resources no matter what the long term cost to the planet. This terrain is the result of tectonics for billions of years, and all some folks can appreciate is that the fault line makes it easier to dig, and the bay makes it easier to transport. In a thousand years there will be nothing worth remembering about this era except for the beauty that was spared from human destruction. Every one of us will be dead in a century, why is that momentary presence so arrogant as to exploit everything possible just because we can.

    Life will go on without sucking the Monterey Shale out of the ground so that some people get rich selling old technology to the "free" market. Somehow, I'm sure they can just move along to some renewable energy to sell when the fast easy bucks dry up. Good thing we found out it is already dry here, before they poisoned the golden goose.
  • Re:Wait.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eunuchswear ( 210685 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:56AM (#47064085) Journal

    The energy trap has closed. 40 years ago was the time to act.

    That would only be true if it would take more that 40 years to replace all of a countries electricity generation by nuclear.

    And we know that's not true, it can be done in 26 years.

    (In 1974 France decided that it would transition to nuclear for electricity generation. The first new reactor came online end 1981, the last of 58 came online in 2000).

  • Bubble, bubble... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:10AM (#47064135)

    Perhaps this is a sign that the rumoured Shale bubble is beginning to burst.

  • Re:Wait.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cutterman ( 789191 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:15AM (#47064153)

    The stupidity of ignoring nuclear fission never ceases to amaze me. Fusion is still a long way from practicality, will always expensive and isn't the clean dream - the massive neutron flux just makes even more radioactive waste. The oil & gas are going to run out one day, be it in 5 years or 50. Renewables are unreliable, expensive and the quantities of rare earths required make for horrible mining pollution as well as covering the landscape with ugly windmills and solar collectors.

    High activity nuclear waste is a small volume storage problem and if we hadn't wasted the last 30 years we would have modern fission plant designs far safer than any of the chemical polluting shit we have now.

    Fricken' ridiculous.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:21AM (#47064175) Homepage
    Peak US oil production begat a rampant speculative market, which in turn sends our oil and gas prices soaring and crashing on a yearly basis. This is always quietly dismissed as seasonal demand so as to coddle speculators and assuage the fears of our politicians. Sustained high crude prices and a rapidly diminishing prospect of respectable foreign policy with regard to the oil market during the Bush administration led many oil and gas producers and their lobbyists to declare a diamond in the rough. This shale oil and gas to be captured through fractionation came at a time when to deem it suspect was nihilistic and we all tacitly agreed it must be true for sake of our own collective future. As our war machine contracted and our focus returned somewhat toward domestic policies and act of sustainability it of course became increasingly difficult to ignore what during the past 8 years was a boon of blank checks and exemptions from the federal government to be applied toward the shale moneytrain. Halliburton certainly wouldnt be the first to fess up, and nor should they as theyd worked hard to secure by hook and by crook some of the most lucrative and reprehensible federal exemptions and contracts in recent history. Shale is good, shale is great.

    No. Like an alcoholic stumbling from a hot malt liquor hangover into the nearest gas station we scrambled to find anything to take the hurt away. That we like the rest of the world would have to firm up our collective constitutions and make seriously warranted changes was simply too much. We crawled back into shale oils warm cockle and clutched our crossover SUV for one more year. We looked to the tar sands and their beleaguered machination of destruction and waste as no more than a fine bourbon whiskey we partook of on occasion. Science, like a distant cousin with the bail money for the last bender, is shuffling us along into the rather unpleasant sunlight once again with heavy heart and a morose sigh. We either change or we die, because at this point Science will have existed as much with us as it has without us.
  • Re:Keystone XL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @07:07AM (#47064317)
    Smart people would be investing in nuclear energy, be it fission or fusion, and increasing the throughput of the grid to support fast charging of electric vehicles.
  • by WarpedMind ( 151632 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @07:09AM (#47064327)

    Wonder how much more of a tax break the oil companies will get because of this. My understanding is that they get a write-off as they deplete a reserve. It is sort of like a capital depreciation. I wonder if the reserve estimate will change that calculation resulting in larger tax breaks since they will have a depleted their asset at a faster rate than previously expected.

  • Re:Keystone XL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @07:59AM (#47064573)

    That's currently roughly 12% of world energy production, for roughly 6 billion people, with many in dire poverty and quite low energy consumption.

    I teared up a bit.

    But hey, lets propose solutions that don't exist yet rather than one that's already offset more CO2 contribution than we can hope solar and wind will in the next 10 years. Gathering solar wind? Yeah, lets do that while many are in dire poverty.

    We need realistic and practicable solutions that we can afford. There are plenty of ways to keep the nuclear fuel supply for hundreds of years. By then, maybe we'll have your solar windmill.

  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday May 22, 2014 @08:02AM (#47064593) Homepage Journal

    The luddites think its icky and we can all just use windmills. Don't ask me how they think they'll ever get a jet off the ground using solar, but I don't think they've even thought that far into it.

    This isn't about ludditism. This is about what year is it? We can fly the planes on biofuels, but we should replace all air within a nation with high-speed rail. Which we should fucking have already, because what year is it? We should be running our planes on biofuels already, because what year is it?

    We've had solar panels since the 1970s and they could repay their energy investment in seven years back then. Now it's three. What year is it?

  • Re:Keystone XL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @08:06AM (#47064621)

    So you're saying that you support expensive energy, and further with that creating misery for those who can't afford cheap energy?

    He's saying that "cheap energy" is a delusion - one fostered with temporary geological realities and utter lack of regard for any externalities - and that the sooner you snap out of that delusion, the better for everyone involved.

  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @08:18AM (#47064683) Journal

    By official estimates the Monterey Shale formation makes up 2/3 of the shale reserves in the US and by some estimates 1/3 of all crude reserves in the US

    What about the Green River shale formation which is estimated to have 3 TRILLION barrels of oil? I don't get how that 13.7 billion barrels originally estimated in the Monterey formation comprised 2/3rds of the shale reserves, when we have a 3 TRILLION barrel reserve. By my count, it's around 1/3rd of 1 percent.

  • Re:Keystone XL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @08:31AM (#47064763)

    So you're saying that you support expensive energy, and further with that creating misery for those who can't afford cheap energy?

    If that truly was a concern for the pro-petroleum folks then why do we export so much of our gasoline and keep our domestic price high? FYI, the Keystone XL pipeline goal is to move the crude oil to refineries on the gulf coast for export.

    If we want to take the long view and lower the cost of energy for everyone we need to spend more money toward finding alternative and more abundant sources of energy. This short-term strategy of keeping the status-quo and using the current stock of "cheap energy" does nothing but make petroleum investors rich, further damage the environment, and delay the inevitable to the point where the poor will suffer even more than they supposedly do today.

  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @09:08AM (#47064993)

    I'm not sure why people "favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform" should have any such opinion.

    That is not what "liberal" means in American English. In America, a liberal is what Europeans would call a progressive or a social democrat. What Europeans call a liberal, would be a libertarian in America. In Australian English, "liberal" means conservative.

  • by AndrewBuck ( 1120597 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @09:25AM (#47065159)

    The green river shale is a different kind of thing. The monterray and Bakken shale formations contain actual oil, the Green River formation contains kerogen -- a waxy substance that will turn into oil if you heat it to several hundred degrees for a period of years (yes years).

    The best analogy I have heard to put this into perspective is that the Bakken is something like a rock that has been left soaking in a bucket of oil for a while and the oil has seeped into the pores of the rock. The green river shale is more like a brick that has had candle wax dripped on it. Both contain energy which can be extracted, but one yields oil directly whereas the other is merely a feedstock to make oil.

    The last I had heard, no one has ever made a commercially successfull attempt to convert kerogen into oil. It can be done, just not anything like economically, and the environmental costs of doing so would be massive. Now of course the "free market" folks will say, "well the price will just rise until the kerogen is extractable", and they are right, the price will rise to something like 1000 dollars per barrel, and then we will have lots of that "cheap" green river shale oil available on the market, something like 3 trillion barrels worth.


  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @10:51AM (#47066081)

    That is not what "liberal" means in American English. In America, a liberal is what Europeans would call a progressive or a social democrat.

    While that is technically true, it's mostly just used as a curse word now for those conservatives who have no concept of compromise and do not understand the difference between opinion and fact. It's one of about a dozen words that mainly serve to make these stupid conservatives angry, a list that also includes words like "socialism" and "taxation." Sadly there are few words that actually make them happy, since that generally runs counter to the goal of conservative media with the obvious exception of schadenfreude. Their media go to great lengths to prolong anger and extract pleasure from the misfortune of those they call liberals. For example, they are still talking about the tragedy in Benghazi since, even though it obviously isn't working with swing voters, it keeps their base nice and angry and pliable.

    Or, as Orwell called it, DuckSpeak. Why think about complex issues when you can slap around labels as fast as you can quack them?

    Just get some Big Brother figure to chant the appropriate terms over the visi-screen or whatever.

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