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California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law this weekend a bill that aims to make drilling for oil and gas off the state’s coast unprofitable. CBS reports that the bill, introduced by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, sought to deter oil and gas drillers by banning infrastructure necessary for offshore drilling, including docks, pipelines, and other onshore installations.
The state cannot ban drilling in federal waters, but it can make it more difficult and expensive in line with a policy drive in the state to shift away from fossil fuels.
However, data from the California Energy Commission recently cited by the Daily Caller, revealed that California has not become less reliant on crude oil despite the shift towards renewable energy. In fact, it seems the state refines as much oil today as it did back in 1982, but with one marked difference: 30 years ago, most of the oil California refineries processed came from local fields. Now, more than half comes from abroad—56.66 percent—versus 31 percent local Californian oil in 2017.
What’s more, the biggest foreign source of crude oil for California is Saudi Arabia, accounting for 29 percent of imports, or 98.13 million barrels. Second from the top is Ecuador, accounting for 20 percent of the state’s crude oil imports, and third is Colombia, with 14.16 percent of the total, per the state’s Energy Commission.
California has been praised for its efforts in advancing the climate change fight agenda, but it has so far proven unable to reduce its greenhouse emissions from transportation. Since 2012, the state’s emissions from transportation have been growing, at an annual rate of 1.5 percent, Los Angeles Times’ Severin Borenstein wrote in a recent story about California’s green efforts.
The state government’s climate change plans emphasize reducing oil drilling and processing. Yet as historical data shows this will hardly be enough to reduce oil consumption.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.