Policy Documents

Powering California: The Monterey Shale & California’s Economic Future

University of Southern California –
March 14, 2013


The Monterey Shale Formation in California contains vast reserves of oil. This study presents a preliminary examination of one important aspect of developing the resource – the economic impact on the state’s economy. Working from a model created by economists from the University of Southern California (USC) Price School of Public Policy and informed by and applied to a development scenario formulated by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the study concluded: “the prudent development of the Monterey Shale could add hundreds of thousands of new jobs to California over the next decade while stimulating economic growth and generating significant new state and local tax revenues.”Reaching the oil locked within the shale requires advanced oil-extraction technologies, including advanced geophysical monitoring technologies, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the latter of which may pose as yet undefined environmental risks. Moreover, development will place large demands on local physical and social infrastructure.The study was funded in part by a grant from the Western States Petroleum Association but was conducted by an independent USC research team. The study also drew upon USC resources for on-going research of various aspects of shale-oil development.