Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Monday, Jul. 8, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 8, 2013 – 6:42 am

When the Legislature’s 2013 session began, one of its hottest topics – as indicated by the number of bills – was hydraulic fracturing, a technique to extract oil from shale thousands of feet below the earth’s surface with high-pressure injection of water and chemicals.

“Fracking,” as it’s popularly termed, has ignited an oil boom in other states and California is believed to have the nation’s largest shale oil deposits in the Monterey Shale Formation, a 1,750-square-mile chunk of the state, mostly in the lower San Joaquin Valley.

That region was the site of a major oil boom in the early 20th century and continues to produce. California, in fact, is still the nation’s third-largest oil producer and the U.S. Energy Department estimates that Monterey shale could contain 15-plus billion barrels of oil, two-thirds of the nation’s shale oil reserves.

Simply put, California could see another oil boom of monumental proportions – but that would depend on fracking and other “well stimulation” techniques.

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