Energy: The former Golden State is floating in debt, even as it sits on two-thirds of America's shale oil reserves locked in a formation four times the size of the one that sparked North Dakota's economic boom.
North Dakota is now the largest oil producer in the country after Texas with a monthly oil output of about 20 million barrels. North Dakota's oil boom accounts for 11% of U.S. oil production, and it is the impetus behind the state's $3.8 billion surplus and an unemployment rate of just 3.2%, the lowest in the nation.
California is not running a surplus, but it is sitting on a lot more oil than is contained in the Bakken shale formation North Dakota straddles. Covering 1,750 square miles from southern to central California, the Monterey shale formation has untapped deposits estimated at 15.4 billion barrels, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.
Until recently, the complex geology of the formation has made exploration and extraction prohibitively expensive.
But as with oil from the Bakken shale in North Dakota and natural gas extracted from the Marcellus formation in the Northeast, technological advances have unleashed a bounty of riches, pushing proven reserves upward and smashing the myth of peak oil.
The key technology behind the boom is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which fluids are injected into the porous rock under high pressure to fracture the rock and release the oil or natural gas, which can then be pumped to the surface.
Combined with horizontal drilling, great stores of energy can be released with a minimal footprint.
Extracting oil from the Monterey shale will require companies to engage in more intensive fracking and deeper, horizontal drilling, which has caused groups in environmentally sensitive California to warn of poisoned groundwater and the latest fantasy, the spawning of earthquakes.