The Bureau of Land Management is auctioning off 18,000 acres of oil leases in California Wednesday. The state has one of the largest deposits of shale oil in the country. And it’s attracting new attention because of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing – or fracking. Southern Monterey County is California wine country. Vineyards stretch for 40 miles along the highway here, about two hours south of the Bay Area. But it’s not exactly Napa Valley.
Very deep under the land here is the Monterey formation, which is shale that has oil reserves in it.
California’s shale oil resource is huge – an estimated 15 billion barrels in the Monterey formation. That’s bigger than North Dakota’s oil reserve, where recently there’s been a drilling boom.