Industry Article: California Dreamin': The Monterey Shale

The largest US oil shale play presents a unique challenges

California Dreamin’: The Monterey Shale
Publication: Hart Energy Playbook
Publication Date: 01/01/2012

California has always been America’s land of dreams and opportunities, and when it comes to unconventional plays, the Monterey Shale is true to form. With several hundred billion barrels of oil estimated in place and a conservative estimate of 15 Bbbl of recoverable oil – two-thirds of the country’s total shale reserves – the Monterey is luring exploration much like the state’s Gold Rush did in the 1800s, and with similar “feast or famine” results. Recently, Jeffrey Little, the Schlumberger principal petrophysicist for Data & Consulting Services was interviewed. He states that the Monterey differs from other unconventional reservoirs in North America in that the complications of the lithology are tremendous. The different phases of quartz or diatomite require careful and precise technologies and some considerable patience in order to get a handle on what you are dealing with. The Monterey group is a fairly complex mixture of depositional source material and requires a few additional measurements just to be able to characterize the mineralogy in any particular area.

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