Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oil's Big Secret

Actually it's not so secret and I wouldn't call it dirty.

Raymond J. Learsy: Oil's Big Dirty Secret as Producers Rake in Hundreds of Billions.

But wait, suppose, just suppose they are wrong and willfully misleading us. That oil's origins are not, to repeat, not biological, according to the gospel we have been taught to believe. That in effect oil originates from deep carbon deposits dating to the very beginnings of the Earth's formation in quantities vastly greater than commonly thought. The very presence of methane in the solar system is cited as one of the key underpinnings of this theory's seriousness. Then by seepage through the earth's mantle, Abiotic oil becomes in essence a renewing resource migrating toward the Earth's crust until it escapes to the surface (i.e. Canada's tar sands as theorized by some) or trapped by impermeable strata forming petroleum reservoirs.

Much research has been done on Abiotic Theory by a bevy of Russian and Ukranian geologists starting during the Soviet era, most especially by Nikolai Alexandrovich Kurdryavtsev who proposed the modern Abiotic Theory of Petroleum in 1951.

Among Kurdryavtsev's colleagues was Professor V.A. Krayushkin, chair of the Dept. of Petroleum Exploration at the Ukranian Academy of Sciences and leader of the DneiperDonets Basin Exploration project in the Ukraine, an area that has yielded eleven giant oil fields holding at least 65 billion barrels of oil and some 100 billion cubic meters of recoverable gas, comparable to the North Slope of Alaska . The area had previously been designated as having no potential for petroleum production whatsoever. Exploration, according to a paper by Richard Heinberg, was conducted entirely according to the "perspective of the modern Russian Ukranian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins".

Question, how often have you heard of M. King Hubbert and his peak oil theories dating to 1949 and how often have you heard of Kurdryavtsev or Krayushkin? Certainly, for those having some interest in Peak Oil jargon, Hubbert's name comes up endlessly, while Kurdryavtsev and Krayushkin probably never, or rarely if at all. But then again Hubbert was Chief Consultant for Shell Oil's Production Research Division and his theories served their Marketing Department well. His predictions first made in 1949 that the fossil fuel era would be of very short duration made him, with help of the fine hand of oil industry flacks, probably the best known geophysicist of his time.


Quantum_Flux said...

Biogenic origins of oil and peak oil theory are outdated and wrong theories.

Anaconda said...

The comments over at Huffington Post were interesting. Yes, there were a few "Peak" oil comments, but many of the comments were receptive to the idea of Abiotic Oil.

I think a number of progressives are starting to "get it" that "Peak" oil is not their friend or an ally, but rather it's an ugly "tool" of big oil.

Yes, "Peak" oil plays right into the "oil man's" hands.

One commentor was a geology student ernest in her belief that oil comes from organic detritus. Where have we seen that before?

Of course, she stated the usual: so-called biomarkers and carbon isotopes.

But what was of note in her comment was that, while she granted the oil company geologists had financial reason to maintain "fossil" theory to perpetuate the illusion of scarcity, she stated that academic geologists overwhelmingly supported "fossil" theory and had no financial incentive to do so.

I got news:

Where do academics get their grants to go to far-out exotic places to conduct research during the summer and when they are on sabatical?

Some get their grants directly from oil companies in the name of "science," others get their grants from foundations supported by oil companies and some from foundations that are backed by "peak" oil pushers regardless of political affiliation.

Don't believe me.

Who "does" geology and has lots of money to throw around?

This isn't unique to academic geologists.

This goes on in lots of academic fields.

Sound all liberal in the classroom, but in reality take the money from "the man," whoever that "man" happens to be (as long as he's got money to pay for that study) in that particular field then crank out "studies" that just "happen" to support "the man's" point of view.

So, is it any wonder why naive, idealistic students are taught what the "oil" man wants to hear?

No wonder at all.

And by the time the naive, idealistic student gets a whiff of reality... it's too late and the scam pertetuates itself one more academic generation.


But that's the way it is.

john a. bailo said...

Here's a break though for you -- someone over at Grist -- Grist! -- is saying that they were wrong about Peak Oil! I put a link to OiM over there.


Anaconda said...


Apparently, as the word got out on the blogophere that The Huffington Post had an opinion piece regarding Abiotic Oil and subsequent comments, the "Peak" oil pushers and those ildisposed toward Abiotic Theory made their appearance.

(I noted above that many were open to Abiotic Theory, but the tenor slightly changed as, I presume, word got out to the "professional" peak oilers)

It was instructive because it gave me a chance to read their objections.

Many gave no reason at all, other than "it's a myth" or "it's a fantasy" or some other dismissive "one liners."

A couple said, "I'm a geologist." As in "geologists say," so Abiotic Oil must be false.

Some put out the stock answers seen on this website about biomarkers or isotope ratios, which have been thoroughly analyzed and debunked, here, and by J.F. Kenney at Gas Resources.

My suggestion, if any readers are inclined to challenge "Abiotic doubters" on other websites (and I encourage you to do so) is to give short answers.

While linking this website is good, most "doubters" won't go and review this site and some will actually try to discourage others from doing so.

(They aren't so interested in learning new scientific ideas, as they are in validating their already firmly held opinions, and to be honest that is a reflection of human nature.)

All they care about is how they or their answers will look to fellow readers of that particular website: So, all that counts is the discussion "on the screen."

(Frankly, it's the opinions of those who don't ccomment, but are just following the discussion that are most open to persuasion.)

Why short answers?

Because the "reason" has to leap off the screen into the viewer's mind.

And by short answers, what I mean is concise statements of reason and fact that are neutral in tone, but firm in conveying authority.

In an effort to illustrate what I mean. I will provide a few comments I made over at Huffington Post:

(Portions of objections will be provided to give context.)


Anaconda: "Abiotic Oil is supported by solid scientific evidence. hydrogen and carbon combine in the mantle under ultra-high heat and pressure."

Objector: "You still have to believe in the Cool Earth theory of formation..."

Anaconda: "At present, there are more and more scientists that do believe in Earth formation that is not molten. The evidence is strong and persuasive that hydrogen and carbon were not 'outgassed' at the formation of the Earth."

Objector: "...you have to believe in the "Cool Earth" theory of Earth's development. Basically, that says the Earth didn't start out as a molten blob..."

Anaconda: "What scientific evidence do you have that the Earth "start[ed] out as a molten blob." Actually, if you think about it most "material" in space is cold. because space is cold.

The molten blob theory is a pretty big stretch on par to "fossil" theory, where dead plants cook in low heat and pressure. We all know cooking actually breaks down molecules, not builds them up."


Doubter: "As an engineer, my opinion of abiotic oil theory is that it's "hogwash". Yeah, the earth inherited methane (and other carbon compounds) but that's been integrated into the biosphere in the form of life. Oil formed from biological deposits left over from the Cambrian Explosion.

So for us realists, oil is running out and "The Party's Over". Funny you should mention Richard Heinberg. He wrote "The Party's Over": a book that ALL US citizens should read written from the petroleum geologist's perspective that shows we are in serious trouble..."

Anaconda: "As an engineer, you should appreciate the science and there is plenty to support Abiotic Oil. Actually, it's "fossil" theory that doesn't a lot of science to back it up.

"Diagenesis" and "catagenesis" are made-up words to describe a made-up process (the "process" fossil theory claims for the formation of oil from organic detritus). A process that never has been demonstrated in a laboratory experiment, or explained or described by a step-by-step chemical process reduced to mathematically expressed chemical equations constrained by physical and chemical laws. That failure should mean something to an engineer.

Richard Heinberg has stated he wished that oil had never been discovered. That reveals a heck of a bias against oil and for "peak" oil. Heinberg makes his money off of "peak" oil.

Abiotic Oil would put him out of business, so, of course, he argues against it.

Heinberg's statements have been analyzed and found to have many distortions and half-truths."


Anaconda: "The problem with "fossil" theory is that it violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Also known as the law of increasing entropy.

Low potential chemical energy molecules (organic detritus) doesn't trun or "cook" into high potential chemical energy molecules (hydrocarbons) in the low pressure and heat environment of the Earth's crust. There simply isn't enough energy to cause this "transformation."

Time does not matter -- there simply is or isn't enough energy to cause the chemical formation of hydrocarbons, and there isn't enough energy to do so.

On the other hand, the Earth's mantle does supply the energy necessary to cause hydrogen and carbon to combine into hydrocarbon, and the mantle supplies the energy by the ultra-high heat and pressure that is present at mantle depths in the Earth's interior.

The science supporting this proposition is substantial -- the Second Law of Thermodynamics has never been found to be violated, that's why it;s called a law of nature."


Fellow Abiotic oil supporter: "Here's a site for those interested in the abiogenic side of the discussion:


Anaconda: "Thank you for providing the link to the Gas Resources website. This site is provided by Jack F. Kenney, who is the leading abiotic geologist in the Unted states.

The website has original scientific papers authored by Kenney, including a paper published in The Proceedings of the National Acadamy of Sciences (American) where Kenney in a laboratory experiment combined water, iron, and marble in ultra-high heat and pressure consistent with conditions in the Earth's mantle and the results where a suite of hydrocarbons consistent with natural petroleum.

Kenney also explains in detailed scientific terms why crude oil can't be formed from organic detritus, as well as discussing the "proofs" for fossil theory and why they are invalid.

Also, there is an interesting paper detailing the many times when the scientific community rejected a new theory only later to acknowledge the validity of that theory. Geologists several times have rejected a theory only later to acknowledge its validity. Namely, tectonic plate theory and the formation process of the Channeled Scablands of Washington State."

Doubter responding to Gas Resources link: "Here is another- (Provides link to Richard Heinberg article dismissing Abiotic Oil.)

Anaconda: "You have linked an article by Richard Heinberg

Here is a quote from that article written by Mr. Heinberg:

"What if oil were in fact virtually inexhaustible"would this be good news? Not in my view. It is my opinion that the discovery of oil was the greatest tragedy (in terms of its long-term consequences) in human history."

"...greatest tragedy in human history..."

Can a person who makes the above statement be trusted to be objective about a theory that strikes at the very core of his "pet" theory of peak oil?"


Doubter: "Carbon from biotic sources has a distinct isotope signature. So far, there's no sign that any oil is abiotic and no explanation as to why oil always has an isotope profile consistent with biologic origin, complete with entrained fossils...

...people think there's lots of cheap oil immediately available, because people like you tell them it's so. It's actually the other way around. Oil companies don't want people to know how little oil there is because if they knew, we'd have the poltical support to get the heck off the stuff."

Anaconda: "Actually, isotopic ratios are not a reliable indicator and this has been demonstrated by scientific experiment. As carbon travels trough terrestrial medium 13C is stripped out from the oil by the reaction with the rock medium.

The carbon nucleus has two stable isotopes, 12C and 13C. The overwhelmingly most abundance stable isotope of carbon is 12C, which possesses six protons and six neutrons; 13C possesses an extra neutron. The validity of such assertions were tested, independently by Colombo, Gazzarini, and Gonfiantini in Italy and by Galimov in Russia.

Both sets of workers established that the carbon isotope ratios cannot be used reliably to determine the origin of the carbon compound tested.

No, it's the exact opposite -- if consumers knew how much oil was really available, consumers would never put up with the high price and oil buyers on the world market would know just how plentiful oil is, and therefore not pay the high price -- most oil averages under $30 a barrel to "lift" from the well head."


(Biomarkers objection can also be answered in a short concise response.)

(A couple of my 'biomarker' comments never got posted???)

Model answer: "Biomarkers are really biocontaminates that oil picks up when it travels upward through the sedimentary layers (oil is an excellent solvent). In fact, oil from the bedrock has no biomarkers and oil trapped in reservoirs has biomarkers from all the sedimentary levels below it."

I hope this has been helpful.

Anaconda said...

Attention: The Huffington Post has another Abiotic Oil forum with excerpts from J.F. Kenney's Gas Resources.

The "Peak" oil pushers are on the ropes.

Please, go over there and comment.

Thank you.