Geology, regulations make it tough to unlock California's Monterey shale

|By:, SA News Editor

California's Monterey Shale formation is estimated to hold as much as two-thirds of the recoverable onshore shale oil reserves in the continental U.S., but there's a big catch: It is proving very hard to get.

Monterey holds an estimated 15.4B barrels of recoverable shale oil vs. 3.6B barrels in the Bakken shale, but fracking and other techniques that have worked elsewhere don’t work as well and are more expensive.

On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law tough restrictions on fracking, which immediately drew criticism from the oil industry for being too restrictive and from environmentalists for being short on protections.