California Governor orders end to fracking by 2024, instructs CARB to analyze pathways to phase out oil-production by 2045
California Governor Gavin Newsom has directed the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management (CalGEM) Division to initiate regulatory action to end the issuance of new permits for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) by January 2024. Additionally, Governor Newsom requested that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) analyze pathways to phase out oil extraction across the state by no later than 2045.
Fracking is the most common type of well stimulation treatment (WST), but it is a relatively uncommon completion technique in California, responsible for about 2% of total in-state oil production. CalGEM will immediately initiate the rulemaking to halt the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.
California’s production of oil has been steadily dropping since 1985. According to the California Energy Commission, California oil represented 34.9% of the input to California refineries in 2020; foreign sources accounted for 47.5%, with Alaskan oil making up the bulk of the remainder.
According to the California Air Resources Board (ARB), the annual crude carbon intensity value for oil supplied to California refineries has risen from from 11.36 gCO2e/MJ in 2012 to 12.52 gCO2e/MJ in 2019.
Foreign sources of crude oil imports to California 2020. Source: California Energy Commission.
In advance of the phase-out of fracking in 2024, CalGEM’s process for reviewing permits for this practice is the most stringent in the country, and includes input from experts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Permit approvals and resulting hydraulic fracturing activity are at the lowest level since the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 4 in 2014 to strengthen regulation of hydraulic fracturing.
CARB will evaluate how to phase out oil extraction by 2045 through the Climate Change scoping plan: the state’s comprehensive, multi-year regulatory and programmatic plan to achieve required reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Inclusion of the target in the Scoping Plan means that phasing out oil extraction becomes a part of California’s blueprint to achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2045.
CARB will evaluate economic, environmental and health benefits and effects of eliminating oil extraction.