Monday, June 30, 2008

Petrobras Could Be Worth $90 - Barron's

Petrobras could rise 25 percent - Barron's

NEW YORK, June 29 (Reuters) - Shares of Petrobras(PBR) could rise another 25 percent if the Brazilian oil company's recently discovered offshore wells become as profitable as some expect, financial weekly Barron's reported.

The state-controlled company may be sitting on top of what may be the largest oil field find in the Western Hemisphere in 30 years, the newspaper said in its June 30 edition.

The company's U.S. listed shares, which closed at $69.23 on Friday, could rise as high as $90 within a year, Barron's said. (Reporting by Emily Chasan; Editing by Braden Reddall)
Brazil Oil Reserves Will at Least Triple, Lula Says

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Brazil will at least triple its oil reserves by exploring a new offshore area that includes the Western Hemisphere's largest discovery since 1976.

``This is very promising for Brazil,'' Lula, 62, said in a Bloomberg Television interview today at the presidential palace in Brasilia. ``We have to take advantage of this oil to develop the country.''

A tripling of proved reserves from 12.6 billion barrels would move Brazil into the world's top 10 nations in oil supplies, according to estimates from London-based BP Plc.
Also see AAPG Hedberg Conference: Hydrocarbon Habitat of Volcanic Rifted Passive Margins.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Serpentine Plugs

The pink area in the map above shows Travis Volcanic Mounds aka "Serpentine Plugs": GCAGS Transactions Volume 32 (1982)

Since their discovery in 1915, hydrocarbon traps in and around "serpentine plugs" have produced about 47 million barrels of oil, and have significant potential for additional small discoveries. Production is from isolated reservoirs within mounds of altered volcanic tuff and associated shoal-water carbonates. A review of the more than 200 volcanic centers and intrusive bodies of South and Central Texas has led to development of stratigraphic and seismic models useful in exploration and production.

The so-called serpentine plugs are largely tuff mounds formed by accumulation of volcanic ash (altered to palagonite) on the seafloor around a submarine volcanic vent. Volcanic activity peaked during deposition of the chalk and marl of the upper Austin and lower Taylor Groups (about 80 million years ago). After their eruption, the tuff mounds localized the deposition of shoal-water carbonates with good porosity and permeability. Low-permeability, organic-rich marine shale and marl of the Taylor Group capped the carbonates, serving as both a hydrocarbon source and a stratigraphic seal. Compactional draping of overlying San Miguel and Olmos sands, with minor offset faulting, created important additional traps in South Texas.

Central Texas volcanic centers are highly aligned along strike-oriented regional faults and fractures of the Balcones and Luling systems. The magmas in both Central and South Texas were ultramafic and alkaline, suggesting that partial melting occurred at depths of about 40 miles (60 kilometers). The magma rose rapidly to the surface, probably in an extensional stress regime controlled by pre-Tertiary Balcones-Luling faults.

The palagonite tuff of a typical productive volcanic center has low seismic velocity and is encased in high-velocity carbonates. The strong velocity contrast, coupled with the distinctive shape of the tuff mass, yields a characteristic seismic pattern. Modern seismic techniques, together with stratigraphic data, allow accurate delineation of buried tuff mounds and prediction of productive carbonate facies.

A Texas based company has leases on a magnetic anomaly in central Texas that appears to be a Travis volcanic mound, and thus a potential undiscovered oil field. Travis mounds are ancient volcanoes that erupted during the Late Cretaceous (70 to 80 million years ago) and formed mounds on the shallow sea floor. The mounds were partially eroded and then covered with younger sediments. The mounds in central Texas are generally referred to as “Travis volcanic mounds” for the surface exposure of one of these mounds in Travis County. The mounds are commonly called “serpentine plugs” because the mineral serpentine commonly occurs in the mounds. Some of the minerals that occur in these mounds are magnetic, hence the magnetic anomalies over these mounds. The mounds have formed structurally high areas in the subsurface that provide traps for oil and gas.

Thirty-eight oil fields in central Texas are associated with Travis volcanic mounds. These fields range in size from 3000 barrels to 11,500,000 barrels of oil recovered, and occur at depths between 900 feet and 1800 feet. Some wells in the mound fields have produced as much as 5000 BOPD (barrels of oil per day) initially, but the initial production of most wells was between 25 BOPD and 100 BOPD. Most of the better wells were located near fractures that are prevalent in the mounds. Most of the oil fields that are associated with Travis volcanic mounds were discovered in the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s, although six fields were discovered between 1913 and 1929 and three fields were discovered between 1964 and 1977. Over half of the fields are still active including some of the early discoveries. Some of the first oil fields found on the Travis volcanic mounds were discovered by farmers drilling water wells.

Oil is found in at least four different geologic settings in the mounds. Much of the oil occurs in porous areas within the generally altered volcanic igneous rocks that form the mounds. Some oil is found in sedimentary rocks (sandstones and limestones) within the mounds, some oil occurs in sedimentary rocks that overlie the mounds, and some oil is trapped in sedimentary rocks that pinch out on the flanks of the mounds. Thus there are non-productive areas within the confines of the fields associated with the mounds. This prospect appears to cover about 300 acres.

The magnetic anomaly associated with this prospect is comparable to the anomalies associated with one million to three million barrel fields, although the size and intensity of magnetic anomalies is sometimes misleading. Most of the magnetic anomalies that occur in the area are associated with Travis volcanic mounds. The other magnetic anomalies have not been drilled but are believed to be Travis volcanic mounds. A geochemical survey acquired recently found significant (anomalous) concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons in the soil over the prospect. This suggests minute leakage from an accumulation of hydrocarbons at depth. Additionally, the operator has acquired satellite data that suggest the presence of soil within the prospect that has been altered mineralogically. This condition has been observed in soils over known oil and gas fields. All of these data together suggest a fairly high probability that a commercial accumulation of hydrocarbons (likely oil) exists under the prospect.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Harness Volcano Power

Harness volcano power, energy experts say

Volcanoes and hot springs could supply up to 25 per cent of America's power needs, energy experts have said.

As fuel prices soar, Alaskan officials announced the exploration of the state's volcanoes, saying they could be exploited to provide energy for thousands of homes.

Companies are being invited to lease the rights to explore geothermal resources beneath Mount Spurr, a snowcapped 11,070-foot volcano that most recently erupted in 1992 showering much of Anchorage with volcanic ash.

The state Division of Oil and Gas hopes the lease sale, due to go ahead in August, will be the first of many. It is also considering allowing exploration of the 4,134-foot Augustine Volcano, 171 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The move echoes a trend underway across much of the US as fuel prices, worries about dependence on foreign oil and climate change trigger a surge in geothermal projects, particularly in the West and along the Gulf Coast.

According to experts, America is only just waking up to the ancient power source lying beneath dozens of states that has the potential to supply as much as 25 percent of the nation's energy needs.
If they only knew: US volcano may hold key to UK oil reserves

An extinct volcano in the US may hold the key to extending the life of North Sea oilfields and squeezing an extra 17pc of untapped reserves out of them.

Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, is visiting the site near Jackson City in Mississippi to see how carbon dioxide is extracted deep underground before being piped 60 miles to force out oil from an old field.

With an estimated 25bn barrels of oil equivalent left to exploit in the North Sea, Mr Wicks said it would be increasingly challenging and would need innovative technologies to tap the remaining reserves.

He added: "This project uses pressurised carbon dioxide which could also be captured from industrial plants so it would mean a plus for the environment too."

Denbury Resources, the biggest oil and gas operator in the state, has successfully exploited carbon injection techniques in Mississippi and elsewhere to recover significant quantities of reserves from mature reservoirs, and it believes the technology can be successfully developed in the North Sea.
Arctic Volcanoes Found Active at Unprecedented Depths

Buried under thick ice and frigid water, volcanic explosions are shaking the Arctic Ocean floor at depths previously thought impossible, according to a new study.

Using robot-operated submarines, researchers have found deposits of glassy rock—evidence of eruptions—scattered over more than 5 square miles (15 square kilometers) of the seabed.

Explosive volcanic eruptions were not thought to be possible at depths below the critical pressure for steam formation, or 2 miles (3,000 meters). The deposits, however, were found at seafloor depths greater than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers).

"This kind of implosive seismicity is rare anywhere on Earth," said study author Robert Sohn, a geophysicist at the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The study appears today in the Journal Nature.
And just as we have suspected all along: volcanoes: the advantages

New evidence has also emerged that volcanic areas can be prime petroleum sources. Geothermal systems can also serve an important part in petroleum generation, migration, and entrapment. Many oil-bearing seafloor sediments have been found near hydrothermal vents at midocean ridges. Shell Oil Company also found much oil in volcanic regions in Nevada in 1954, leading to the discovery that volcanic ignimbrites are excellent storage spots for oil pools.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Volcanic Trace Metals

Volcano ‘pollution’ solves mercury mystery

Scientists from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have discovered how volatile metals from volcanoes end up in polar ice cores.

‘It has always been a mystery how trace metals, like mercury, with a volcanic signature find their way into polar ice in regions without nearby evidence of volcanic activity,’ said Dr David Pyle of Oxford University’s Department of Earth Sciences who led the research team with colleague Dr Tamsin Mather. ‘These traces only appear as a faint ‘background signal’ in ice cores but up until now it has still been difficult to explain.’

The team sampled the fumes of two volcanoes; Mount Etna in Sicily and Masaya in Nicaragua. They pumped gases from the edges of the volcanic craters across some gold-plated sand, to measure the volatile metal mercury, and through very fine filters, to capture fume particles. They discovered that the gases at both volcanoes contain high levels of mercury vapour, and that the fume is also very rich in tiny particles, as small as 10-20 nanometres in size.

‘This is exciting and important since we didn’t know that volcanoes were a natural source of particles as small as this,’ said Dr Rob Martin of the University of Cambridge. ‘The existence of these particles is potentially very important for the climate system – they may control how clouds form, and how much solar energy reaches the Earth’s surface. ...

'That one vent of one volcano can produce 7 tonnes of mercury a year is astounding,’ said Oxford’s Dr Melanie Witt, ‘that’s considerably more than total industrial emissions of mercury from the UK – recorded at about 5.5 tonnes in 2000. It confirms our suspicions that volcanoes are an important part of the global mercury cycle: what we need to understand next is where this mercury ends up and what effects it may have on the environment.’
To the average sedimentary geologist the most basic scientific phenomena are absolute mysteries. Competent volcanologists have realized the scientific importance of volcanoes since 1804.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Asian Automobiles

Slightly off topic but automobiles are related to petroleum. UBS had a research report this morning "UBS High Yield Automotive Quarterly: Shock Waves Shake Detroit To It's Core."

Pat McCarthy, formerly of CRT, writes the following:

Extremely difficult to call the bottom for the Big3 and its Suppliers: While it seems like a "perfect storm" hits Detroit every 10 years or so, the one the industry is heading into now could end up being the most severe in history when all is said and done. ...

GM financing is widely anticipated by the market: We believe GM needs to raise upwards of $10 billion via new bank debt, a convertible bond issuance and possibly private equity in order to bolster it's liquidity to weather this storm and fund it's restructuring efforts. If GM accomplishes this in a relatively efficient manner, we think the market will breathe easier and we might see some support for automotive companies in the equity and credit markets. Conversely, a poor execution, with poor pricing, highly restrictive terms and a possible shortfall versus its targeted fundraising may very well reprice the sector wider.
It was with this report in mind that I stumbled upon a comment by a peak oil proponent that in ten years there will be 6 times as many automobiles in Asia as there are today. Since that is so obviously bullish for auto parts manufacturers I asked him where he got that statistic from.

Number of cars in China to rise seven-fold by 2020

Beijing - China is expected to have 140 million automobiles plying its roads by 2020, seven times more than now, fueling demand for transportation infrastructure and services, state media said Friday.

Li Xinghua, deputy director of the Communication Ministry's Comprehensive Planning Department, predicted that China's auto population would eventually reach around 250 million, or about 150 cars per 1 000 people.

Government statistics show that China produced a record four million autos in 2003, when the number of private cars grew by 80 percent thanks to the country's strong economic advance and growing middle class.

It is estimated that this year's production will top five million units, making China the world's third-largest auto manufacturer after the United States and Japan.

That demand has been coupled with the unveiling of ambitious expansion plans by both international and domestic auto players. ...

Statistics from the ministry show that China has already built a 30 000-kilometre network of highways, the second longest in the world.

Market analysts cited by Xinhua said China was in the launch phase of another round of economic growth and the rapid development of the auto industry would be a major driving force.
So how do I play it? Long HAYZ. $300 million market cap; $800 million enterprise value; $200 million ebitda. 15% revenue growth. Only 14% of those sales are to the Big3. Wheels aren't going away. Short GM as a hedge and peel it off when they issue the convert.

For a more speculative pure play on China I'm looking at TXICF.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Transocean Signs Billion Dollar Petrobras Deal

Newbuild Drillship to Have a 10-Year Drilling Contract With an Optional 10-Year Extension

HOUSTON, June 23, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Transocean Inc. (NYSE:RIG) today announced that its subsidiaries have reached an agreement with subsidiaries of Petrobras and Mitsui to acquire a newbuild ultra-deepwater drillship under a capital lease contract. In conjunction with the capital lease contract, subsidiaries of Petrobras and Transocean have entered into a 10-year drilling contract covering worldwide operations with an option by Petrobras to extend the term of the drilling contract by up to an additional 10 years.

The capital lease contract has a 20-year term, after which Transocean will have the right and obligation to acquire the drillship for $1. Total capital costs to be incurred by Petrobras and Mitsui for the construction of the drillship are estimated to be $750 million, including $65 million of capitalized interest.

The 10-year drilling contract is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2009 following shipyard construction, sea trials, mobilization and customer acceptance. The drilling contract commencement is contingent on vendor performance and other factors. At least 12 months prior to the expiration of the initial 10-year term, Petrobras may elect to extend the term of the drilling contract by up to an additional 10 years at a mutually agreed operating dayrate which would then apply to the extension period.

Contract revenues over the initial 10-year contract term are estimated to be $1.68 billion, including monthly bonuses which could be as high as 12 percent of dayrate revenue each month. Estimated contract revenues are before taxes, which will be paid by Transocean and fully reimbursed by Petrobras. Additionally if the rig is operating in a jurisdiction where the company has a valid dual activity patent, an additional 5 percent royalty would be paid to Transocean. Estimated contract revenues represent the maximum amount of revenue that may be earned in the firm 10-year contract period, excluding revenues for reimbursed taxes, royalties, mobilization, demobilization and cost escalation.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Methane Zit

From Clastic Detritus: Sea-Floor Sunday #22: A actively-growing mound on the sea floor (Hat tip: Anaconda)

A paper came out in Marine Geology last month (v. 250, p. 258-275) about a methane-seeping, actively-growing sea-floor mound in Santa Monica Basin (offshore Los Angeles, CA).

It’s like a zit on the sea floor!!
Here is the abstract: Association among active seafloor deformation, mound formation, and gas hydrate growth and accumulation within the seafloor of the Santa Monica Basin, offshore California.

Continuous streams of methane gas bubbles emanate from the crest of the northeastern mound, and extensive methane-derived authigenic carbonate pavements and chemosynthetic communities mantle the mound surface.

Plentiful New Oil

Excellent article at Seeking Alpha by Jason Schwarz: The 'Peak Oil' Myth: New Oil Is Plentiful

The data is becoming conclusive that peak oil is a myth. High oil prices (USO) (OIL) are doing their job as oil exploration is flush with new finds:

1. An offshore find by Brazilian state oil company Petrobras (PBR) in partnership with BG Group (BRGYY.PK) and Repsol-YPF may be the world's biggest discovery in 30 years, the head of the National Petroleum Agency said. A deep-water exploration area could contain as much as 33 billion barrels of oil, an amount that would nearly triple Brazil's reserves and make the offshore bloc the world's third-largest known oil reserve. "This would lay to rest some of the peak oil pronouncements that we were out of oil, that we weren't going to find any more and that we have to change our way of life," said Roger Read, an energy analyst and managing director at New York-based investment bank Natixis Bleichroeder Inc.

2. A trio of oil companies led by Chevron Corp. (CVX) has tapped a petroleum pool deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico that could boost U.S. reserves by more than 50 percent. A test well indicates it could be the biggest new domestic oil discovery since Alaska's Prudhoe Bay a generation ago. Chevron estimated the 300-square-mile region where its test well sits could hold up to 15 billion barrels of oil and natural gas

3. Kosmos Energy says its oil field at West Cape Three Points is the largest discovery in deep water West Africa and potentially the largest single field discovery in the region.

4. A new oil discovery has been made by Statoil (STO) in the Ragnarrock prospect near the Sleipner area in the North Sea. "It is encouraging that Statoil has made an oil discovery in a little-explored exploration model that is close to our North Sea infrastructure," says Frode Fasteland, acting exploration manager for the North Sea.

5. Shell (RDS.A) is currently analyzing and evaluating the well data of their own find in the Gulf of mexico to determine next steps. This find is rumored to be capable of producing 100 billion barrels. Operating in ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Perdido spar will float on the surface in nearly 8,000 ft of water and is capable of producing as much as 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.


The peak oil theory is a money making scam put out by the speculators looking for high commodity returns in a challenging market environment. Most of the above mentioned finds have occurred in the last two years alone. I didn't even mention the untapped Alaskan oil fields or the recent Danish and Australian finds. In the long term, crude prices will find stability at historic norms because there is no supply problem. How much longer will investors ignore these new oil finds?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Transocean Doubles Day Rate To BP

Transocean in 5-yr, $1.06 bln rig contract renewal

HOUSTON, June 19 (Reuters) - Transocean Inc (RIG), the world's largest offshore contract driller, said on Thursday a contract has been renewed for one of its ultra-deepwater rigs that may be worth as much as $1.06 billion.

The rig will be contracted at a rate of about $581,000 per day, more than double its prior daily rate of $208,000.

Stevie Long NOV

Hefty Hedge Fund SAC Finds Winners in the Energy Sector

Elsewhere during Q1, SAC was adding to stakes in oilfield service provider National-Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV)

Goldman Upgrades SLB, RIG, & HAL

Better late than never I guess: U.S. Stock Futures Rise on AIG, Oil-Service Recommendations

Schlumberger Ltd., Transocean Inc. and Halliburton Co. climbed after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised oil service companies to ``attractive'' from ``neutral'' on prospects for higher earnings.
Ahead of the Bell: Goldman upgrades oil services

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Goldman Sachs analyst upgraded the oilfield services sector to "Attractive" from "Neutral" Thursday, predicting strong profit growth due to greater drilling activity and high oil prices.

Analyst Charles Minervino expects earnings to grow in the double digits through 2011 as high oil prices lead to more rapid rig construction, and both drilling activity and the rates oil companies pay for drilling will increase.

Minervino raised price targets throughout the sector, and said deep water drillers Transocean Inc., Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. and Pride International Inc. will be paid higher rates. He also favors land services that do a significant amount of business in North America, including Halliburton Co., Nabors Industries Ltd. and Helmerich & Payne Inc.

He added that Schlumberger Ltd. will also benefit from higher spending and increased rig counts.

Oil prices ticked down Thursday morning, but reports indicated that a militant group attacked an oil installation in Nigeria.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Democrats For Oil Dependence

Democrats reject Bush's call to lift ban on offshore oil drilling

WASHINGTON - With gasoline topping $4 a gallon, President Bush urged Congress on Wednesday to lift its long-standing ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, saying the United States needs to increase its energy production. Democrats quickly rejected the idea.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Russia Is Biggest Oil Producer - IEA

The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep abiotic petroleum origin has allowed Russia (9.5 mbpd) to surpass Saudi Arabia (9.2 mbpd) as the world's biggest oil producer: Russia is world's biggest oil producer, above Saudi.

In contrast, the absurd idea that hydrocarbons miraculously evolve from biological organisms in blatant violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics caused American production to peak. In the absense of seismic data, the success rate of American and British petroleum geologists using the biogenic theory has been an absolute failure, 1 sucessful oilwell for every 28 dry holes.

Friday, June 13, 2008

McMoRan, Druckenmiller Seek To Break Well Record

Druckenmiller gets it: McMoRan, Druckenmiller Seek to Break Well Record.

June 12 (Bloomberg) -- McMoRan Exploration Co. and an energy firm backed by hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller plan to extend a Gulf of Mexico well abandoned last year by Exxon Mobil Corp. to 35,000 feet (10,670 meters), which would surpass the record held by Chevron Corp.

McMoRan reached a depth of 31,943 feet at its South Timbalier Block 168 No. 1 well, formerly known as Blackbeard, the company said today in a statement. That was 1,876 feet deeper than Exxon drilled before it gave up on the natural-gas project in 2006 and handed control to McMoRan last year.

New Orleans-based McMoRan intends to ask the U.S. Minerals Management Service for permission to deepen the well to 35,000 feet, which would break the record set by Chevron and its partners in 2005 at Knotty Head, which plunged to 34,189 feet below the sea surface, the deepest well ever bored.

At such depths, pipes and drill bits can disintegrate or collapse because of high pressure and temperatures that approach 600 degrees Fahrenheit (316 Celsius).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Volcanic Methane

Kilauea Hawaii, molten olivine causing methane flares. Hawaii is known for it's active volcanism, pillow lava, and olivine pools.

Of course, Hawaii is not the only place that has volcanic methane: Scientists Discover Possible Titan Volcano.

A recent flyby of Saturn's hazy moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft has revealed evidence of a possible volcano, which could be a source of methane in Titan's atmosphere.

Images taken in infrared light show a circular feature roughly 30 kilometers (19 miles) in diameter that does not resemble any features seen on Saturn's other icy moons. Scientists interpret the feature as an "ice volcano," a dome formed by upwelling icy plumes that release methane into Titan's atmosphere. The findings appear in the June 9 issue of Nature.

"Before Cassini-Huygens, the most widely accepted explanation for the presence of methane in Titan's atmosphere was the presence of a methane-rich hydrocarbon ocean," said Dr. Christophe Sotin, distinguished visiting scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

"The suite of instruments onboard Cassini and the observations at the Huygens landing site reveal that a global ocean is not present," said Sotin, a team member of the Cassini visual and infrared mapping spectrometer instrument and professor at the Université de Nantes, France.

"Interpreting this feature as a cryovolcano provides an alternative explanation for the presence of methane in Titan's atmosphere. Such an interpretation is supported by models of Titan's evolution," Sotin said.
Titan's volcano may release methane.

A team of European and US scientists, using Cassini-Huygens data, have found that Saturn’s smoggy moon Titan may have volcanoes that release methane into the atmosphere.

These findings may lead scientists to revise the theories that methane in Titan’s atmosphere is mainly due to the presence of a methane-rich hydrocarbon ocean.

Infrared images taken by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) on board the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini orbiter, show a bright, 30-kilometre-wide structure. This structure, imaged during the first Titan fly-by on 26 October 2004 from a distance of 1200 kilometres, could be interpreted as a volcanic dome formed by upwelling plumes of icy material that rose to the planet's surface. While melting, the icy material contaminated by hydrocarbons would release methane gas.
Titan’s surface organics surpass oil reserves on Earth.

Saturn’s orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to new Cassini data. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.

The new findings from the study led by Ralph Lorenz, Cassini radar team member from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, USA, are reported in the 29 January 2008 issue of the Geophysical Research Letters.
Here is absolutely amazing video of the Huygens Probe landing on Titan featuring "methane rain" and "a type of hydrocarbon mixture that has never been produced in the laboratory."

Scientists have known hydrocarbons have a volcanic origin since the time of Von Humboldt (1804).

BBC On Titan's Cryo-Volcanoes.

Efficient Cause of Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons are formed when the iron in olivine (in Earth's case magmatic peridotite) combines with mantle hydrogen (or sea water) and lithospheric carbon. For alkanes higher than methane extreme pressures are required.

The evolution of multicomponent systems at high pressures: VI. The thermodynamic stability of the hydrogen–carbon system: The genesis of hydrocarbons and the origin of petroleum.

The high-pressure genesis of petroleum hydrocarbons has been demonstrated using only the reagents solid iron oxide, FeO, and marble, CaCO3, 99.9% pure and wet with triple-distilled water.

Submarine Solfataric Outgassing Volcanism

Dr. Erik Klemetti at Eruptions has a great post about underwater volcanism caught on camera: Underwater volcanism caught in action.

This is an exciting discovery - to catch an undersea volcano in action - because we don’t know much about what happens in large, underwater explosive eruptions.
Not just any ol' ordinary volcanism - submarine solfataric outgassing volcanism.

The place is called "Brimstone Pit."

Underwater Volcano Eruption Caught on Camera.

June 12, 2008 -- More than 1,800 feet beneath the Pacific Ocean, the eruptions of an undersea volcano have revealed themselves on film, including the ejection of glowing red lava and the sounds of exploding gases.

"It's the first place where we've been able to observe an active volcanic eruption underwater," said Bill Chadwick of the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, who led the group that observed the volcano with a remotely operated vehicle.

"Even though we think about 75 percent of the world's volcanic activity happens underwater in the ocean basins, it's a lot harder to see and detect."

The team identified the site after scanning the water in the region with an instrument that detects hydrothermal plumes -- water columns that bear the signature of volcanic activity below.

"This site had really unusual chemistry, so that's what put it high on our priority list when we went back to do the dives," Chadwick said. ...

"It's lots of gas and not much lava," said Chadwick. "The gas is the main thing driving these eruptions."

The team made the recordings in April 2006 at a place called Brimstone Pit, about 60 miles north of Guam at a subduction zone, where one tectonic plate plunges beneath another. They recently published their results online in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
Apparently this is the third time they've been there. The first time was in 2006.

"We found this big pit with rocks and molten sulfur flying out. And we were sitting at the edge of this pit."

Pulsating plumes of opaque yellowish ash containing droplets of sulfur started surging out of a feature called Brimstone Pit, close to the summit of a volcano named NW Rota-1, 60 miles northwest of the island of Rota in the North Pacific Ocean, at 1,820 feet below the water surface.
This is an avalanche of evidence. Methane gas by any chance? LOL. Nah, couldn't be, it's probably just some other type of explosive gas associated with sulfur and volcanoes...;)

Also see: Solid Hydrocarbons Found In Pillow Lava.

1.2 Trillion Barrels Of Oil Reserves

1,238 Billion Barrels of Oil Reserves

"We're not running out of hydrocarbons,” insists Tony Hayward, the boss of BP, one of the world’s biggest oil firms. To back up this view, he cites various comforting figures from the latest edition of the firm’s “Statistical Review of World Energy," released today.

Enough oil has already been discovered around the world, Hayward says, to maintain consumption at current levels for another 42 years. As he put it, humanity has guzzled through 1 trillion barrels, but has its next trillion already lined up, and could probably unearth a third trillion if it really applied itself.
It's more like >225 trillion barrels of proven reserves.

Titan's Surface Organics Surpass Oil Reserves on Earth.

Saturn's orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to new data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.
Transocean should change it's name to Transpace and start developing our natural resources.

Indonesian Oil

By popular demand...=)

1996: Indonesia - Oil

Throughout the archipelago there were sixty known basins with oil potential; only thirty-six basins had been explored and only fourteen were producing.
Yosef Ardi, 2006: Chevron In Indonesia: A Wakeup Call.

rarely we check whether these guys are honest enough in their commitment to boost the country's oil output. Chevron's operations deserved huge attention since the company is the largest oil producer in Indonesia, producing 478,000 barrels per day, roughly half of the country's total output, from it's wells across Riau province. It operates three blocks (Duri-Minas, Siak, and MFK) in Riau and Kisaran block in North Sumatra. Chevron's Indonesia oil operation contributes net earning of US$392 million in the first half of 2006, according to the company's report to NYSE. Gas operations gave net earning of US$596 million in the same period to make total Indonesian contribution of US$988 million to Chevron's net income (US$8.35 billion). For the whole year, Chevron Indonesia's operations would contribute up to US$2 billion net earnings for Chevron. It's HUGE! It's just too huge to say Indonesia's investment climate is not competitive compared to other countries. Where else Chevron could make such a chunk of profit?

Chevron in Indonesia

Chevron has positioned itself as Indonesia's top oil and gas producer thanks to our world class technology and expertise. ...

During these operations, a new technology for deepwater exploration called controlled source electromagnetic survey was conducted for the first time in Indonesia.
2007: Chevron: Indonesia Fact Sheet.

Chevron's total daily production averaged 503,000 barrels of liquids per day in 2007, making us the country's largest oil producer.
Feb 2008: Chevron Indonesia crude oil output set to drop

Despite an expected decline in Chevron's output, Indonesia's overall oil output, including condensates and crude oil, should rise by 10 percent to 1.05 million bpd, up from an average of 954,300 bpd in 2007, Warnika said.

The expected increase should come from a number of oil fields, including those operated by ConocoPhillips (COP), BP Plc (BP) and Indonesia state energy firm PT Pertamina, he said.
May 28th 2008: Indonesia to Pull Out of OPEC

Purnomo said the decision to leave OPEC was made by the cabinet of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who said this month that the country needed to concentrate on increasing production.
May 29th 2008: Chevron May Pump Gas From Indonesia's Deep Sea Areas

May 29 (Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, may start pumping natural gas from Indonesia's deep-sea areas by 2016, boosting exports as Asian buyers pay near-record prices for the cleaner-burning fuel.

Fields in the Ganal block off Borneo island could produce ``close to'' 1 billion cubic feet a day at their peak, Steve Green, head Chevron's Indonesian and Philippine operations, said in Jakarta. That's 13 percent of current output in Indonesia, the world's third-largest liquefied natural gas exporter.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hydrocarbon Outgassing Causes Mud Volcano

A hydrocarbon drilling accident caused the fastest growing mud volcano in world history to form. As if we needed anymore evidence for the association of hydrocarbons and volcanoes: Drilling caused Indonesian mud volcano - report

WASHINGTON, June 9 (Reuters) - Drilling of a gas exploration well, and not an earthquake, set off a volcano that has been spewing boiling mud for two years and has displaced more than 50,000 people on the Indonesian island of Java, experts said on Monday.

Records kept by oil and gas company Lapindo Brantas during the drilling of a gas exploration well called Banjar-Panji-1 show specific incidents that could have triggered the disaster, the international team of experts said. ...

"We show that the day before the mud volcano started, there was a huge 'kick' in the well, which is an influx of fluid and gas into the wellbore," Davies said in a statement.

"We show that after the kick, the pressure in the well went beyond a critical level. This resulted in the leakage of the fluid from the well and the rock formations to the surface -- a so-called underground blowout. This fluid picked up mud during its ascent, and Lusi was born."

The team of British, American, Indonesian and Australian scientists, writing in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, said this pressurized fluid fractured the surrounding rock. Mud spurted out of cracks instead of the wellhead.

"There is not a hope on Earth they are going to stop it now," said the University of California Berkeley's Michael Manga, who worked on the study.

"You can plug up a hole, but if you try to plug a crack, stuff just flows around the plug, or the crack gets bigger. The well now has no effect on the erupting mud, it was just the trigger that initiated it."
Also see here: Indonesia finds flammable gas near mud volcano: official.

JAKARTA (AFP) — Indonesians living near a devastating "mud volcano" that has spewed sludge for nearly two years now have another problem to contend with -- flammable gas.

Highly concentrated methane is pouring into nearby residential areas, a government official told AFP Wednesday, as worried locals said they were afraid to cook at home in case they caused an explosion.

The Abiotic Checklist

Jonathan Clarke's Abiotic Checklist

Biogenic Myth #1)
1) The almost universal association of petroleum with sedimentary rocks.
Laughable. This claim is so far removed from reality one need not consider any false claim of biogenic theory other than this one in order to understand it's falsehood. See here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Biogenic Myth #2, #3, and #3.1[LOL])
2) The close link between petroleum reservoirs and source rocks as shown by biomarkers (the source rocks contain the same organic markers as the petroleum, essentially chemically fingerprinting the two)

3) The consistent variation of biomarkers in petroleum in accordance with the history of life on earth (biomarkers indicative of land plants are found only in Devonian and younger rocks, that formed by marine plankton only in Neoproterozoic and younger rocks, the oldest oils containing only biomarkers of bacteria).

3)The close link between the biomarkers in source rock and depositional environment (source rocks containing biomarkers of land plants are found only in terrestrial and shallow marine sediments, those indicating marine conditions only in marine sediments, those from hypersaline lakes containing only bacterial biomarkers).
There are no biomarkers. All of the so-called biomarkers have been demonstrated to be abiotic. See here: Lack of C13 Isotope Proves Nothing. Also see Comment on Mantle Hydrocarbons. And The Inorganic Geochemistry of Oil.

Biogenic Myth #4)
4) Progressive destruction of oil when heated to over 100 degrees (precluding formation and/or migration at high temperatures as implied by the abiogenic postulate).
Ridiculous. See here: Brazil Oil Trapped By 500 Degree Heat.

Biogenic Myth #5)
5) The generation of petroleum from kerogen on heating in the laboratory (complete with biomarkers), as suggested by the biogenic theory.
The hydrocarbons in "kerogen" are inorganic. See Myths #3, 3.1, and here: The Inorganic Geochemisty of Oil.

Biogenic Myth #6)
6) The strong enrichment in C12 of petroleum indicative of biological fractionation (no inorganic process can cause anything like the fractionation of light carbon that is seen in petroleum).
See here: Lack of C13 Isotope Proves Nothing. Also see Comment on Mantle Hydrocarbons.

Biogenic Myth #7)
7) The location of petroleum reservoirs down the hydraulic gradient from the source rocks in many cases (those which are not are in areas where there is clear evidence of post migration tectonism).
We see blow outs not blowdowns. Petroleum has been observed deeper than water yet oil is lighter than water. "Remember no biological molecule can exist at the temperature higher than the critical temperature of water, strictly the critical temperature of salt water (there's not much difference) and the critical temperature of salt water is reached at a depth of about 3 kilometers [or] 5 kilometers depending on whether you are in a continental environment or marine environment." -- JF Kenney

Biogenic Myth #8)
8) The almost complete absence of significant petroleum occurrences in igneous and metamorphic rocks.
Laughable. See Myth #1.

The Biogenic theory, was what Karl Popper would call, a good scientific theory: it made definite predictions, which could be tested by observation, and possibly falsified. Unfortunately for the theory, they were falsified.

Lack Of C13 Isotope Proves Nothing

The key claim for the theory of biogenic petroleum origin is that low concentrations of the C13 isotope are proof of biogenic origin because photosynthesis preferentially selects C12 over C13.

See Richard Heinberg's The Abiotic Oil Controversy.

Geologists trace the source of the carbon in hydrocarbons through analysis of its isotopic balance. Natural carbon is nearly all isotope 12, with 1.11 percent being isotope 13. Organic material, however, usually contains less C-13, because photosynthesis in plants preferentially selects C-12 over C-13. Oil and natural gas typically show a C-12 to C-13 ratio similar to that of the biological materials from which they are ASSUMED [Emphasis added] to have originated. The C-12 to C-13 ratio is a generally observed property of petroleum and is predicted by the biotic theory; it is not merely an occasional aberration.
Also see Ugo Bardi & Dale Allen Pfeiffer's No Free Lunch.

The isotopic ratios of a substance (particularly the ratio of carbon and hydrogen isotopes) provide us with a profile of the substance, a sort of isotopic fingerprint which indicates how the substance was generated. Most naturally occurring carbon is isotope C-12, with a small percentage of C-13 (1.11%) and a trace of radioactive isotope C-14. Organic matter, however, has a lower ratio of C-13 because photosynthesis preferentially concentrates C-12. Hydrocarbon reserves reflect their organic origin in their C-12/C-13 ratio.
This all comes from the biogenic geologist Barbara Sherwood Lollar's paper: Abiogenic formation of alkanes in the Earth's crust as a minor source for global hydrocarbon reservoirs.

Here, using carbon and hydrogen isotope analyses of abiogenic methane and higher hydrocarbons in crystalline rocks of the Canadian shield, we show a clear distinction between abiogenic and thermogenic hydrocarbons.
Given the fact that geologists know nothing of the universe we live in and given the fact that these individuals are factually challenged I was highly suspicious of this claim. What I discovered is that a lack of C13 isotope proves nothing: Hydrocarbons in Hydrothermal Vent Fluids.

We did, however, observe anomalous amounts of m/z 31 (13C12CH6aq) (relative to that predicted from natural [biogenic] carbon abundances)
How are biogenic theorists going to explain this so-called anomaly?

Is methane the first direct sign of extra-terrestrial life?

The C-12 to C-13 ratio of methane alone is not always proof of life. For example, the "Lost City" hydrothermal vent field in the Atlantic Ocean did not show a clear isotope signature, says James Kasting, professor of earth and mineral science at Penn State University.

"The methane is not that strongly fractionated, but they still think it might be biological," says Kasting. "At Lost City, you can't figure out if it's biological or not by the isotopes. How are we going to figure that out on Mars?"
Carbon stars which are totally deficient in C13 have been observed: The Abundance Ratio of C12 and C13 in Carbon Stars.

Two hydrogen deficient carbon stars HD13716 and HD182040 show no trace of C13N features.
Needless to say, there is no photosynthesis occuring on those stars. And the authors conclude with the following:

The above results revealed that C12/C13 ratio in carbon stars shows a wide range of variety.
John Valley, Geology professor at the University of Wisconsin also admits lack of C13 proves nothing.

High C-12 to C-13 ratios, he says, "when present in sufficient quantity, are very strong evidence of organic activity, although I don't use the word 'proof.'"
So there you have it: lack of C13 proves, you guessed it, absolutely nothing.

Abiogenic hydrocarbons with low C13 content have also been observed in Japan so the "scientists" conclude they must be a mix of biogenic and abiogenic hydrocarbons.

The isotope composition of methane and the relationship between methane/ethane ratio and δ13C-value of methane suggest that these light hydrocarbon gases are mixtures of thermogenic and abiogenic components. The abiogenic hydrocarbon may be attributed to magmatic hydrocarbon gases equilibrated with carbon dioxide at fO2 defined by the fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffer (FMQ)
The reality is that in 2007 ICP-MS showed that all oil has inorganic geochemistry: The Inorganic Geochemistry of Oil.

Of course the final nail in the coffin would have to be this gem from Giardini and Melton (1991): EVIDENCE THAT STABLE CARBON ISOTOPES ARE NOT A RELIABLE CRITERION FOR DISTINGUISHING BIOGENIC FROM NON-BIOGENIC PETROLEUM

The isotopic abundance of presumably-pristine primordial carbon has been determined by analyzing carbon dioxide entrapped in a 8.65 carat natural diamond of African origin. The results were 12C = 98.9275% and13C = 1.0725%, which giveδ13C = -35.2‰/00. This value is well within the range used to assign a biogenic origin to carbon-containing compounds, i.e., more negative than -18.0‰/00. Similar negative values have been reported for some natural diamonds and carbon-bearing meteorites. It is concluded, therefore, that stable carbon isotopes can be an unreliable criterion for assigning a biogenic origin to petroleum.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Methane Clouds Signal Earthquake

May 12th 2008: a 7.8 earthquake occurred in Wenchuan, Sichuan province, west China.

This is more evidence of the strong correlation between the mantle, fault lines, seismic activity, earthquakes, and hydrocarbons.

Sichuan is China's largest natural gas basin.

See Eugene Coste's Rock Disturbances Theory of Petroleum Emanations

Thomas Gold of course mentions this in Chapter 8 of the Deep Hot Biosphere: Rethinking Earthquakes.

Gold suggests that movement of primordial hydrocarbons also may be responsible for earthquakes that occur away from fault lines, and that release of methane and other light hydrocarbons is a prelude to an earthquake.
Also see Zhonghao Shou Earthquake Clouds And Short Term Prediction.

(3) Gas emission: Sulphureous gas emitted before the Haicheng earthquake [7], and so did carbon- dioxide before the Tangshan earthquake [9, 10].

(4) Earth-flash: At 19:36 of February 4, 1975, one minute or more before the quake, the No. 31 express train of Dalian-Beijing was approaching the Tang-Wang-Shan station near Haicheng. "Very bright purplish red flashes suddenly glittered in the dark sky before the train.

Solid Hydrocarbons Found In Pillow Lava

Basalt and andesite are the two most common igneous rocks of volcanic and magmatic origin. When a submarine volcano erupts underwater or flows into the sea, it forms basalt and andesite pillow lava.

In Mitov, Czech Republic, "solid bitumin," i.e. hydrocarbons, have been directly observed in pillow lava. This can leave no doubt, save in the mind (or lack thereof) of the most dogmatic biogenic fundamentalist, that hydrocarbons have a volcanic origin. However a biogenic origin is assumed without any evidence whatsoever based upon prejudice, ignorance, and a lack of education. Evidence for fullerenes in solid bitumen from pillow lavas of Proterozoic age from Mítov.

Andesitic pillow lavas containing biogenic, solid bitumen (SB) are a constituent of a Neoproterozoic volcanosedimentary sequence (Teplá-Barrandian unit, Bohemian Massif) in the Mítov area of the Czech Republic.
How can molten igneous Proterozoic pillow lava contain biogenic hydrocarbons? What evidence is there that the bitumin is biogenic? They just ASSUME it's biogenic because it's a hydrocarbon. Wouldn't the lava melt the bitumin if it were biogenic?

Fullerenes (C60) were observed in the "bitumin." Fullerenes have also been observed in Shungite which is elemental igneous carbon.

Unearthing Buckyballs.

When Buseck and Tsipursky told Hettich that the rock had come from Russia and not a meteorite, he was somewhat surprised. "In the laboratory," says Hettich, "fullerenes are created in an atmosphere of inert gases, like helium, because common diatomic gases, like nitrogen and oxygen inhibit fullerene growth. This is why fullerenes are not found in ordinary soot, like that in household fireplaces. It seemed more likely to find naturally occurring fullerenes in meteorites, where interaction with these gases would be less of a problem."
It should be obvious that the geological source of helium for fullerene generation is in the mantle.

More recently, C60 and C70 have also been found in a sample of glassy rock from the mountains of Colorado. Known as a fulgurite, this type of rock structure is formed when lightning strikes the ground.
Maybe life started when lightning struck a mud puddle after all although this has yet to be repeated in laboratory experiments.

Busek, Tsipursky, and Hettich speculated in a 1992 paper that lightning strikes could provide conditions that are favorable for the formation of buckyballs.

The shungite fullerenes are notable not only for their earthly origin, but also because they may have been formed as solids--most laboratory-created fullerenes are grown in the gas phase. "This is the first example of solid-phase fullerene growth," says Hettich, "It has raised a lot of questions about how the rock was formed, how old it is, and how its composition may have changed over time. Because the shungite sample may be volcanic in origin, you can imagine conditions, like those in a volcano, that would be hot enough to form fullerenes and, at the same time, have little or no oxygen or nitrogen present. But right now, no one is sure exactly how these fullerenes were produced."

"This kind of discovery raises more questions than it answers," says Hettich, "but that's not necessarily a bad thing."--Jim Pearce
Thomas Gold On Geologists, Oil,& Volcanoes.

What led you to think the liquids holding open these pores might be hydrocarbons left over from the Earth's creation?
Probably reading Arthur Holmes, who had written so many things that were egocentric expressions of opinion. He was the great father of geology - and still is - but I found his work quite shocking.

Shocking in what way?
Whenever he discussed some facts that were inconvenient, he would say that they should not be taken seriously, that it was purely due to chance. He far exceeded his information with the opinions that were mixed in - statements like, "Oil is not found in association with coal except accidentally, and not found in volcanic areas except accidentally." Look at the arc of Indonesia, from Burma to New Guinea: It's far more earthquakey than any other place we know. It makes lots of small, deep earthquakes, it's along exactly that belt that you have volcanoes - and you have petroleum along the whole of the line. "Never found in association with volcanoes except accidentally" - that's a hell of an accident.
Petroleum and Tectonic Map of Southeast Asia. The relationship of the hydrocarbon deposits to the geological area in whole, independent of geological age and rock type, is easily seen. A common chemical signature links these oils of diverse geological, but close geographical location. The relationship of the deposits to both mountain and volcano formation zones indicates upwelling hydrocarbons as the primary driving force for such diverse geological phenomena.

Myth: Oil Can Only Be Found In Marine Sediments

While it's certainly true hydrocarbons CAN be found in marine sediments, to suggest that they ONLY can be found in marine sediments is to live in a cocoon of unreality.

When in 1942 Wallace E. Pratt wrote, "We have learned that oil is a normal constituent of marine sedimentary rocks all over the world," he was absolutely right. What he didn't say, and what he should have said though, is "we have learned that oil is a constituent of all 3 classes of rocks (igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary) and across all strata (from archean to quaternary) all over the world."

"The concentration of source rocks in these several stratigraphic intervals demonstrates uneven distribution of source rocks in time...." -- Klemme & Ulmishek, 1999

"Petroleum, natural gas and bituminous fields or deposits cannot be regarded as anything else but the products of solfotaric volcanic emanations condensed and held in their passage upward in the porous tanks of all ages of the crust of the earth from the Archaean rocks to the Quaternary. Nothing is so simple and therefore nothing so natural as this origin, and we shall see that it can be abundantly proven." -- Eugene Coste, 1903
In other words, oil is a magmatic xenolith (so to speak) brought to the surface by subaerial eruptions, namely upper mantle plumes.

How else can one explain the sulfur content in crude oil? Sulfur is an abiotic element and therefore no more biogenic than oxygen. Although sulfate-reducing bacteria such as salmonella and archaeoglobus leave behind hydrogen sulfide as a byproduct, this type of metabolism is called dissimilatory, since sulfur is not incorporated - assimilated - into any organic compounds."

Orthogneiss: Inorganic Carbon

This is orthogneiss. Eoarchean orthogneiss from the Isua greenstone belt in Greenland was presumably formed before (3.8 Ga) all life on planet Earth. By definition, orthogneiss is NOT a sedimentary rock. Orthogneiss is a metamorphic rock which comes from the igneous (volcanic) rock granite. It contains bands of black graphite which is pure carbon. This igneous carbon is the inorganic mantle source of carbon found in hydrocarbons.

"We will consider it quite sufficient to recall that chemists of high standing in the scientific world, such as Berthelot and Mendeljeff, have long ago (1866 and 1877 respectively) suggested very probable forms such as carbides under which carbon could exist in the interior fluid magma, and probable reactions under which hydrocarbon compounds could have been generated." -- Eugene Coste, 1903

Tar In The Crater Of Sulfatara

A clip of the tar pits in the center of the crater of Solfatara.

Sulfatara literally means sulfur tar. Brimstone and fire. Needless to say, there are no sedimentary source rocks, no oil window, and no cyanobacteria living in the crater of Sulfatara.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Oil Is Older Than Cyanobacteria

Oil is older than cyanobacteria. Oil is > 3.46 Billion years old.

The most ancient evidence comes from the Warrawoona Group (>3.46 Ga), where hydrocarbon droplets were apparently formed
Cyanobacteria is only 3.45 Billion years old.

'Oldest ever' fossils found ...

They found some 3.45 billion-year-old dolomite in the Pilbara range in North West Australia. After etching it with acid they found the fossils using an electron microscope.

It is believed that the fossils are of a cyanobacteria - an organism that still forms thick mats in warm shallow seas today.
This suggests oil is older than any living organism.

But scientists at Oxford University reject the claim of 3.4 billion year old cyanobacteria: Questioning the evidence for Earth's oldest fossils.

Earth Sciences Department, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PR, UK.

Structures resembling remarkably preserved bacterial and cyanobacterial microfossils from about 3,465-million-year-old Apex cherts of the Warrawoona Group in Western Australia currently provide the oldest morphological evidence for life on Earth and have been taken to support an early beginning for oxygen-producing photosynthesis. Eleven species of filamentous prokaryote, distinguished by shape and geometry, have been put forward as meeting the criteria required of authentic Archaean microfossils, and contrast with other microfossils dismissed as either unreliable or unreproducible. These structures are nearly a billion years older than putative cyanobacterial biomarkers, genomic arguments for cyanobacteria, an oxygenic atmosphere and any comparably diverse suite of microfossils. Here we report new research on the type and re-collected material, involving mapping, optical and electron microscopy, digital image analysis, micro-Raman spectroscopy and other geochemical techniques. We reinterpret the purported microfossil-like structure as secondary artefacts formed from amorphous graphite within multiple generations of metalliferous hydrothermal vein chert and volcanic glass. Although there is no support for primary biological morphology, a Fischer--Tropsch-type synthesis of carbon compounds and carbon isotopic fractionation is inferred for one of the oldest known hydrothermal systems on Earth.
Fischer-Tropsch-type synthesis of carbon compounds. Read it and weep.

Furthermore, cyanobacteria are hydrocarbon destroyers not hydrocarbon generators.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cyanobacteria Feed On Crude Oil

Cyanobacteria (aka blue green algae), the alleged source of petroleum according to biogenic theory, feeds on crude oil. In other words, far from generating crude oil (and precisely the opposite), it destroys it.

Utilization of hydrocarbons by cyanobacteria from microbial mats on oily coasts of the Gulf.

Several pieces of evidence indicate that Microcoleus chthonoplastes and Phormidium corium, the predominant cyanobacteria in microbial mats on crude oil polluting the Arabian Gulf coasts, contribute to oil degradation by consuming individual n-alkanes. Both cyanobacteria grew phototrophically better in the presence of crude oil or individual n-alkanes than in their absence, indicating that hydrocarbons may have been utilized. This result was true when growth was measured in terms of dry biomass, as well as in terms of the content of biliprotein, the accessory pigment characteristic of cyanobacteria. The phototrophic biomass production by P. corium was directly proportional to the concentration of n-nonadecane (C19) in the medium
Enviromentalists in the Middle East and elsewhere use cyanobacteria to clean up oil spills.

When polluted gulf areas are left alone, extensive mats of blue-green algae appear on the oil layers (Al-Hasan et al., 1992). The mats are only associated with the oiled areas and the oil-free areas are free of the cyanobacterial mats. The microbial mats appear to be the only living things in the area. The microorganisms are both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic. Included in the mats is an organothophic bacteria which is capable of utilizing crude oil as a sole source of carbon and energy (Al-Hasan et al., 1992). It is believed that cyanobacteria can at most initiate the biodegradation of hydrocarbons in oil by oxidizing them only to the corresponding alcohols (Al-Hasan et al., 1994). Bacteria, yeast and fungi can then consume hydrocarbons by initially oxidizing then to alcohols, aldehydes, and finally to fatty acids, then degrading them further by beta oxidation to acetyl coenzyme A which can be used for the production of cell material and energy (Al-Hasan et al., 1994).
Cyanobacteria are hydrocarbon destroyers not hydrocarbon generators.

Oil: At Least 3.2 Billion Years Old

Ancient oil points to 'cradle of life'

Australian scientists have discovered the world's oldest oil in rocks that date back 3.2 billion years.

The find suggests that oil-forming micro-organisms were widespread very early in the Earth's history.

The researchers say that oil-forming bacteria may have been among the earliest inhabitants of our planet and that the sulphur-springs that formed the rocks studied by the researchers may have been the "cradle of life on Earth". ...

The scientists are now looking for molecular fossils that might be present in the oil.

Dr Birger Rasmussen, of the University of Western Australia, and Dr Roger Buick, of the University of Sydney, have published details of their work in the journal Geology.
3.2 billion year old oil has been found in Archean rock which predates the vast majority of marine sediments. According to Wikipedia, and we all know how worthless that can be, "the majority of Archean rocks which exist are metamorphic and igneous rocks. ... The question of whether or not plate tectonic activity existed in the Archean is an active area of modern geoscientific research."

Oxygen: The Other Fossil Fuel

While arguing with some biologists about the origin of petroleum the question was asked, "what happened to all the carbon in the atmosphere?" (before the Paleoproterozoic era). As everyone knows, during photosynthesis CO2 is converted into O2. This would seem to suggest that oxygen is also biogenic in origin. However oxygen is the third most common element in the universe and any chemist or astronomer would balk at the idea oxygen is biogenic in origin. If oxygen is biogenic in origin, how can it be an element?

I'm beginning to suspect that the way one approaches the answer has something to do with the different lenses and semantic differences through which the scientists of different fields of study view the universe.

A biologist or geologist is going to say oxygen has a biogenic origin.

A chemist or astronomer is going to say oxygen has an abiotic origin.

The same is true of hydrocarbon compounds. Wallace E. Pratt writes:

...hydrogen and carbon and hydrocarbons abound throughout the universe, apparently, and certainly within our own solar system where they are known to make up the atmospheres and perhaps the outer layers of the major planets, yet, in the opinion of practically every petroleum geologist living today, all the petroleum we have found in the earth is the product of former life on earth. It is of organic origin, not of cosmic origin as the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus must be.

Another facet of this anomaly is the circumstance that among our most eminent scientists outside the petroleum industry the theory of organic origin is commonly rejected and a cosmic or inorganic theory is embraced -- Dr. Urey, the Nobel Prize winner, for example, and the eminent British atronomer-physicist, Fred Hoyle. Can these outstanding scientists be so wrong and yet so sure of themselves? Either way, the situation is disturbing to a scientist if to noone else.
Wallace E. Pratt, Letter to Dott, October 23, 1964.

Biologists and geologists seem to have what Charlie Munger calls "Man With A Hammer Syndrome." To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To biologists and geologists, all things on Earth including oxygen are biogenic.

Let us recall our Aristotle: hydrocarbons have 4 causes: material, formal, efficient, and final. And let us remind biologists and geologists not to forget the material cause, namely elemental chemistry. Hydrocarbons, like O2, are, after all, compounds comprised of abiotic chemical elements.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Terrorist Dictators Keep Production Artificially Low

Running on empty? Fears over oil supply move into the mainstream

King Abdullah, the country’s ruler, put it more bluntly: "I keep no secret from you that, when there were some new finds, I told them, 'No, leave it in the ground, with grace from God, our children need it'."
Isn't that sweet? It's for the children. So they can blow us up.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wallace E. Pratt On Denial

"Experience has invalidated other firm beliefs of those days. We thought that the sedimentary section in Kansas was profoundly thick. We would probably have guessed that the vertical distance to the crystalline floor under central Kansas was nearly equal to the horizontal distance to the crystalline core of the Rocky Mountains. When in 1915, the driller of a "wild-cat" well reported granite at a depth of 1100 feet, or so, right in the middle of the state, we were not only skeptical; we were indignant. We denied that the well had granite; and when the driller under our own supervision, bailed out of the well fragments of beautiful pink granite, we charged that he had planted the granite in there himself!"-- Wallace E. Pratt, Vice President of Standard Oil, Oil In The Earth, 1942, on being confronted with empirical data which annihilates biogenic origin.
We see the same type of denial, extreme irrationality, and human misjudgement from so-called "scientists" who claim that the abiomarkers in oil, namely molecular diamondoids, have a biogenic origin, even though diamonds can only be formed in the mantle. It's similar to Mothers who are told their soldier sons have died in Iraq but still believe they are alive.

This is what Munger calls bias from consistency and commitment tendency. See: 24 Standard Causes of Human Misjudgement.

"It doesn't just catch ordinary mortals. It catches the Deans of Physics. According to Max Planck the really innovative important new physics was never really accepted by the old guard. Instead a new guard came along that was less brainwashed by it's previous conclusions. And if Max Planck's crowd had this consistency and commitment tendency that kept their old conclusions in tact in spite of disconfirming evidence you can imagine what the crowd that you and I are part of behaves like."
"Natural petroleum has no connection with biological matter." -- Kenney, Krayushkin, Plotnikova

Monday, June 2, 2008

Varco Keeps Things Pumping

Zacks: Varco Keeps Things A-Pumpin'

We maintain our Buy recommendation on National-Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) since the drilling equipment manufacturer retains its strength thanks to its strong leverage in the oilfield cycle. Peak-cycle commodity prices and capital outlays for exploration and production activities should keep the company's demand in robust health for the next few years.

New orders worth $2 billion in the first quarter have brought the company's total backlog to a record $9.9 billion, which highlights the company's strong earnings visibility going forward. It also reported better-than-expected first-quarter results.

To add to that, deepwater lease awards, discoveries in Brazil and the growing search for oil into new frontiers have significantly increased the demand for technologically advanced rigs, which the company is in a position to supply. The demands for supplying parts to its installed rigs should help drive earnings momentum in the near-to-medium term. The recent acquisition of Grant Prideco (NYSE: GRP) has further consolidated the company's position.

This has resulted in the company enjoying a very strong cyclical leverage. We raise our price objective to $100 from $85 before. This reflects 2009 P/E and EV/EBITDA multiples of 20.9x and 4.5x, respectively, both well within historical trading ranges. We believe that the company's strong late-cycle leverage and its dominant market share position justify the valuation premium.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

It's A Myth The World Is Running Out

Irwin Stelzer: It’s a myth that the world’s oil is running out (Hat tip: stretched)

Another myth: we are running out of oil. According to WorldPublic, “majorities in 15 of the 16 nations surveyed around the world think that oil is running out . . . only 22% on average believe that ‘enough oil will be found so that it can remain a primary source of energy for the foreseeable future’ ”. Those majorities who think we are running out of oil include 85% of the British and 76% of the American citizens polled. Luckily, they are wrong.

Production of oil is being constrained by several forces, none of them due to God’s failure to put enough of the black gold under our feet. Several countries that are important sources of supply are in political turmoil, and unable to bring to market the oil they are capable of producing. Think Nigeria, where security problems have shut down about 20% of the nation’s capacity of 2.5m barrels a day and discouraged new investment, and Iraq, where political paralysis and terrorists have kept production at less than half its potential.

Other countries will not develop the reserves of oil known to lie under their territories.

Russia has made it clear that foreigners who invest in its oil industry might be playing a game with Vladimir Putin known as heads I win, tails you lose. Find nothing and you lose your money; find substantial reserves and the state squeezes you until your shareholders’ pips squeak. Only companies at least 51% owned by Russians – read FOPs, Friends of Putin – are allowed to look for oil in the new, difficult areas in which it is to be found. Little surprise that oil output dropped in the first quarter of this year.

Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, wants to revive Petroleos de Mexico (Pemex), the world’s third-largest oil producer, by contracting with foreign companies to introduce modern methods of extracting more from existing fields and finding new ones. But legislation is stalled by left-wingers who have seized and are sleeping at podiums in both houses of congress.

Saudi Arabia’s royal family has announced that it will not expand capacity. Abdallah Jum’ah, chief executive of the kingdom’s oil company, said high prices didn’t mean the world needs more oil because such market signals were “imperfect”, and energy minister Ali al-Naimi has announced that there are no plans to embark on a new round of expansion. The oil is there, but with current production yielding about $120 a barrel, there is no incentive to find more, especially since new production might drive down prices as demand from the slowing American economy falls.

Venezuela’s oil industry can only be described as a mess. President Hugo Chavez’s cronies are inadequate substitutes for the technicians they have replaced, so production is falling, while foreign investors are reluctant to trust hundreds of millions in exploration dollars to a regime that treats contracts as the first step in a negotiation.

In America, Congress alternates between calls for “energy independence” and refusals to allow drilling in what it considers environmentally sensitive areas in Alaska and offshore California and Florida.

There’s more, but you get the idea. There is a lot of oil out there to be found and produced, not even including the vast reserves in Canada’s tar sands. We might have reached the age of peak panic about oil supplies, but not of peak oil. ...

These $100+ prices have led to a massive flow of wealth, and hence power, from consuming to producing countries. If oil were still $20 or even $40 a barrel Russia would not have the wherewithal to revert to its bullying foreign policy, and America’s banks would not be going hats-in-hand to Arab capitals in search of new capital.

Borrowing Language From Hawking

The Biogenic theory, was what Karl Popper would call, a good scientific theory: it made definite predictions, which could be tested by observation, and possibly falsified. Unfortunately for the theory, they were falsified.

To Anaconda (Since You're The Only One Reading)


I've been editing Wikipedia.. Specifically the entries for petroleum (biogenic theory) (I added Kenney link), fossil fuel (I added Lomonosov to correctly show biogenic theory is the older theory), abiogenic petroleum origin (I added Von Humboldt and links to Sadtler and Becker), and white tiger oil field (I said it's not the only field in granite).

But now I'm thinking it was a mistake. I think I want to write a book or a PhD thesis on abiogenic petroleum origin and by editing wikipedia I'm essentially popularizing my own hard work which I may eventually be compensated for (even though all credit is due to Dott, Krayushkin, and Kenney)

Anyway, I'm sure you'll notice the changes I made and links to Sadtler (1897), Becker (1909), and Kenney/Krayushkin/Plotnikova (2001).