Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Lies Of Kenneth Deffeyes

Richard Heinberg speaks of an "oil window" that exists from 7,500 feet to 15,000 feet, below which, Heinberg claims, the hydrocarbon bonds of petroleum begin to break down and turn into natural gas. Every scientist and oil man in the world knows this is a lie. But where does Richard Heinberg get such a ridiculous idea?

None other than Kenneth Deffeyes of Hubbert's Peak fame.

In Beyond Oil: The View From Hubbert's Peak Deffeyes writes:

Burying the sediments, or the oil, deeper than 15,000 feet continues the molecular breaking until the remaining product has only one carbon atom per molecule. That gas, almost pure methane (CH4) is often referred to as "dry" natural gas. The limit of 15,000 feet is the bottom of the oil window. If you are looking for oil, you need organic-rich sediments that have been buried, at some point in their history, into but not deeper than the oil window.
This makes one wonder what kind of drugs Deffeyes is on. Transocean, the world's largest deep water offshore driller, regularly drills oil wells, not natural gas wells, twice as far below the "oil window" claimed by Deffeyes. And they are going deeper looking for oil, not natural gas.

Also see The Many Wrong Predictions of Ken Deffeyes.


Anaconda said...

Deffeyes is in a long line of people who predicted "peak" oil.

This started before Col. Drake drilled the first oil well in Pennsylvania in 1859.

Before the first well was drilled, oil was collected from natural seeps in the ground.

In 1855 an advertisement for Kier's Rock Oil advised consumers to "hurry, before this wonderful product is depleated from Nature's laboratory."

In 1874, Pennsylvania advised the oil would run out.

Then again, in 1900, 1918, 1928, and on and on, shortages were predicted. More recently, shortages were spoken of in the early 1970's. Most of the well-known "peakers" of today: Campbell, Simmons, Heinberg, and Deffeyes came of age during the 1970's.

Notice who doesn't predict peak oil?

The oil industry.

John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co. has said numerous times that "peak" oil is a myth.

Same at Chevron and Exxon-Mobile.

Mr. Hofmeister said unconventional oil development will increase.

Deep oil is considered unconventional in the petroleum industry. Could it be that "unconventional" is the word that will act as a euphemism for abiotic oil? If so, then the oil industry is jumping into searching for abiotic oil with both feet.

Deep water, deep-drilling is in its infancy. How many coastal areas in the world remain unexplored? The answer is an area so large, that "peakers" ignore the question. Or if they do respond to a question about a deep water find, like Mr. Simmons, they'll say, it was lucky, might not pan out, and was "risky" (As if drilling for oil wasn't already risky!).

As for "peak" oil? The peak continually gets pushed off. Most likely, long after, if ever, those mentioned above are dead of old age.

Anaconda said...


Recently, Matt Simmons, an oil analyst, and widely know as a peak oil doomster, was interviewed on CNBC. As to be expected, he continued his gloomy ways, even going so far as to say oil companies were going into liquidation. Meanwhile, John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co. responded, "unconventional oil production will increase." And later stated, "Some day we will peak, but not because we don't have enough oil." A curious statement, but one that was similar to one I had heard before from Mr. Hofmeister. In February, fresh off a 50 city tour, Mr. Hofmeister appeared on C-Span and stated techology would replace the use of oil before oil would run out.

Does John Hofmeister know something the rest of us don't?

Mr. Simmons was challenged about deep oil discoveries, paricularly the Chevron find in the Gulf, but also the Brazil find, 180 miles into deepwater. Simmons was dismissive that deep-earth oil offshore will reverse peak oil production. "The great Brazil find, as best laid out in the February issue of World Oil is a great example of a handful of extremely expensive, rank wildcat wells finding at least traces of hydrocarbons." Interestingly, Simmons went on, "Given the deepwater rig shortage..."

Transocean is placed nicely with oil at around $100 a barrel indefinitely. $100 a barrel will cover the costs of "extremely expensive," exploration costs.

As oil is now a tight market, so is the deepwater rig market.

The writer of the World Oil article, Arthur Berman, contradicted Simmons writing, "The three super-giant oil fields in Brazil's offshore Santos Basin," together could prove to be "the third-largest oil field in the world."

Pretty good for a deepwater "rank wildcat" exploration.

Truth is, there are many areas off the world's coasts where the likelyhood of deep oil resides.

Mr. Simmons is so grudging and niggardly toward deepwater, deep oil, for only one reason: It blows his prediction of peak oil clear out of the water.

Meanwhile, deepwater exploration will be going straight to the bank.

Anaconda said...


Finally, Mr. Simmons was asked about abiotic oil, his response: "Buck Rogers to the 9th degree."

Funny is that a lot of things imagined in futuristic settings have gone on to become common place.

Abiotic oil for Mr. Simmons? Sorry, his whole reputation would be shot to hell.

Not even Buck Rogers could save him.

Anaconda said...

Geotimes online magazine
Feuding Over the Origins of Fossil Fuels
Lisa M. Pinsker, Managing Editor
Affiated with American Geological Institute, October 2005

Presentation given at Origin of Petroleum Conference:
Juvenile Petroleum Pathway: From Fluid Inclusions via Tectonic Pathways to Oil Fields
Alexander A. Kitchka, Russian research scientist, Member of National Academy of Science in the Ukrane, Secretary of the Association of Ukranian Geologists, June 2005

World Net Daily
Finally, an International Conference on Abiotic Oil
Jerome Corsi, November 23, 2005


Jerome Corsi has done yeoman's work on publicizing abiotic oil theory. Devoting countless articles on the subject, he is to be applauded for his efforts. But regrettably his is a lonely voice.

And, being thankful for action, can lead to overlooking the real story, here, and that is how the trade media reported the conference. Mr. Corsi wrote an article on the Origin of Petroleum Conference held back in June 2005. This meeting was a side confernce to the main American Association of Petroleum Geologists conference.

So far, so good.

But the real story is the divide and smother reporting style of the Geotimes. In science, it takes a Herculean effort to change an accepted paradigm. The fossil origin theory of petroleum is such a paradigm.

And science is a clubby community. If you aren't accepted by a peer group, you are nothing. Successful lone wolfs are rare in the scientific community. Iconoclastic scientists are few.

And, this article was designed to discourage readers from considering the abiotic oil theory with an open mind.

Geotimes is the publication of the American Geological Institute.

In science, as in politics, turf battles and ideology are important: The ideology of oil geologists is the fossil origin of petroleum. Any challenge to this orthodoxy is met by the usual tactics: Ignore, attack the idea, attack the messenger, divide the opposition.

And, the Geotimes played true to form.

The Geotimes employed most of these classic strategies to diminish abiotic oil. First, they ignored the most compelling evidence for abiotic oil, and instead opened with a traditional review of accepted science that Geotimes' readers learned back in college or graduate school. Ms. Pinsker duly transmitted fossil theory's assumptions with no rebuttal arguments reported to the readers. A dead giveaway, the article's author didn't feel the need to be objective in her reporting.

Geotimes never did bother to explain that hundreds of Russian scientists from many disciplines: Chemistry, physics, mathematics, and petroleum-geology, worked for 50 years to develop abiotic oil theory, as a national priority for the Soviet state (now Russia and Ukrane), where oil production has skyrocketed to lead the world, out-producing even Saudi Arabia.

Geotimes primed it's readers against abiotic theory advocates by allowing that they were called "lunatic" and "crazy" before the confernce even started. And went on to suggest that abiotic oil proponents were divided and more preoccupied with infighting among themselves, than demonstrating their theory to the wider scientific community.

Geotimes allowed its reportage to veer off from the basics of abiotic oil theory, the real meat of the story, while ignoring presentations like the one given by Mr. Kitchka, one of the co-organizers of the confernce, on the scientific foundations of petroleum formation in the mantel.

Everything about the Geotimes reportage, said to its readers: Abiotic theory doesn't need to be taken seriously.

Why would the Geotimes do this?

They know their readers: Petroleum geologists don't like abiotic theory: There are still no valid criteria for successfully prospecting for oil and gas. In other words, to accept the theory would impair their ability to vouchsafe their professional opinions to the oil industry. Oil geologists would be starting over.

So why critique a three year old story from a trade publication?

This article gives a flavor of what abiotic oil theory is up against, even in a supposedly objective scientific journal. And it illustrates how difficult it is for abiotic theory to get a fair hearing in Western oil geology circles.

Was Mr. Corsi aware of the bias in this Geotimes article? Probably, but he wanted to focus on the positive, that abiotic proponents at least got a hearing.

Mr. Kitchka certainly understood how poorly abiotic theory was treated at the hands of the Geotimes' article. The publication of the article most likely spurred him to communicate with Mr. Corsi, so that a more positive story would reach the public.

It must be noted that there has been no follow up conferences on abiotic oil, and the 2005 conference was held only after two previous conferences on abiotic oil were cancelled for unspecified reasons...

Needless to say, there are forces that aren't interested in this theory gaining any traction in the scientific community or anywhere else for that matter.

Abiotic supporters need to be aggressive, yet faithful to the scientific method, even if its fossil opponents are not.

Sad to say, but for many, an agenda is more important than good science.

Anaconda said...


The Urgency of Delivery of Deepwater Oil,
Presentation at the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Business and Technology Workshop,
Presented by Mathew Simmons, October 14, 2003

Everybody knows Mr. Simmons is a Peak oil guy. Has been for years. Recently he was asked about deepwater oil finds, and responded in dismissive terms, even in reaction to impressive finds in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Brazil.

But that wasn't always the case.

Back in 2003, Mr. Simmons was making the pitch for the same deepwater oil he now dismisses.

Google the reference. You won't find it as a free standing article, rather, the presentation, a power point piece, is linked in an Oil Drum post entitled "We're in Deep Water."

Back then, Mr. Simmons was high on deepwater oil, and spoke of the necessity of getting more deepwater exploration started. And how key this sector was to the oil industry and the American economy. It's a detailed look at the needs and prospects of deepwater oil -- he gives a good overview and is optimistic about the potential.

Too bad, Simmons has done an about-face, kicking dirt at the same sector he promoted five years ago.

So, today, why is Simmons so dismissive of deepwater oil?

Mr. Simmons, like J. Boon Pickens is in the hedge fund business, more than the oil business. True, Mr. Pickens, made his start and fame by founding Mesa oil, but he made his billions as an oil trader and raider, not a successful explorer.

To be fair, Mr. Simmons, has always been on the financial end of the 'patch'. But the point is that these two men don't talk about increasing production: Simmons says it can't be done, and Pickens agrees, while studiously avoiding the topic of new oil exploration plays in his pompous talks around the country, instead talking about his 'wind', oblivious to the irony.

These men are two Old Bulls. Old Bulls aren't interested in what the oil industry did best: Making "something out of nothing."
Taking a dry piece of land or an empty piece of seabed and creating money.

Making something out of nothing is a young man's game. Old men try and run up the price on what they already have. Mr. Pickens has done that well, as has Mr. Simmons, but ultimately the industry has got to get back to its roots -- digging a hole and sprouting oil.

And, contrary to Mr. Simmons and Mr. Pickens, the oil industry is doing just that. Google deepwater exploration or some variant. Deepwater exploration is going on all over the world at breakneck speed. America is getting left behind because of politics, not geological opportunities, capital, or technical expertise.

J. Boon Pickens is right about one thing: It's not in America's interest to ship $600 billion a year overseas for oil when we have young men's opportunities, right here, at home.

Anaconda said...


Perhaps the biggest obsticle to general acceptance of abiotic oil theory is the oil geological community. Geologists have been taught since college and post-graduate school that "fossil" theory is correct. Dusty, old textbooks testify to that reality.

It must be admitted the theory has been good to geologists. It is true that following this theory has led them to discover oil. That is their job. Why rock the boat when the accepted "fossil" theory puts food on the table, and to hold an opposing view could lead to outcast status in the geological community, plus threaten their livelyhood?

It's hard to ask anybody to take that risk.

Truth for it's own sake? Ideally, yes. But in the real world other considerations often come first.

No, the best reason is that abiotic oil theory will help find more crude oil. And, understanding the theory will not interfer with the quest to find 'conventional' oil deposits.
Crude oil under either theory is found in sedimentary deposits. All the additional knowledge will do is help find additional deposits.

It's understood, no one wants to be involved in "wild goose chases." Too many of those will end a career. But, the necessity to find new oil discoveries is paramount. Those new discoveries maybe on the deep ocean floor, or more oil can be found in existing oil regions with more information about the dynamics of those regions.

One rule of thumb of abiotic oil theory is that in regions with giant oil fields:

Where there's oil,
there's more oil.

Remember, initially, off-shore oil exploration was met with scepticism, as was deepwater, deep-drilling, but the necessity to find new discoveries, led to the attempts and it was handsomely rewarded.

Abiotic oil theory can do the same.

Anaconda said...


The "fossil" theory of the origin of petroleum says that oil's first beginnings were in shallow seas, where plankton died and settled to the bottom as organic detritus. These shallow seas were stagnant enough to allow an environment deprived of oxygen to form at the bottom.

Today, this kind of stagnant sea is non-existent. All seas and oceans have currents, some quite strong. Little evidence has been brought forth, supporting this "shallow sea" argument.

Deep oil has been found in underwater "canyons" beneath over 20,000 feet of debris, and even as much as 30,000 feet below the seafloor. How oil got from a shallow sea to the bottom on a sea canyon 34,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico is hard to visualize.

Oil has been discovered beyond the continental shelf, 180 miles off the coast of Brazil, 16,000 feet below the seafloor in over 5,000 feet of water. Again it is hard to visualize this oil migrating from a shallow sea to this great depth.

"Fossil" advocates point to tectonic, plate movements, which shift and stack large bodies of geologic strata from one level of the geologic column to another as the answer to this question.

But is it easier to visualize oil rising from deep below into sea canyons 28,000 to 34,000 feet below the sea level, under thousands of feet of debris, or oil strata shifting to the bottom of a canyon from a shallow sea, high above?

That kind of visualization suggests "fossil" theory, first promulgated in 1757 has outlived it's usefulness.

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