It’s young, thick, and structurally and lithologically complex. But the Monterey shale is quickly moving past the science project stage.
It’s not unusual for explorers to chase a prolific onshore play offshore. In the case of the Monterey shale in California, the opposite occurred – companies producing from the shale offshore decided to chase it onshore.
Thus began the exploitation of what is arguably the largest shale play in the US – the Monterey shale.
The Monterey is not an unknown concept. Production from the shale actually began in the Santa Maria Basin in 1900. But its potential as a source rock outshone its reservoir rock potential for decades as companies began developing such mammoth fields that have already produced 38 billion barrels and may hold another 20-30 billion.