Thursday, September 18, 2008

Powdered Methane



Powdered Methane Could Help Harness Energy Source.

Sept. 16, 2008 -- Most people know methane as a component of natural gas. But chemists in the U.K. have developed a way to create a solid form of the gas that looks like granulated sugar and can be stored and poured.

Methane could power the world. Two methane hydrate deposits off the coast of South Carolina reportedly hold enough natural gas to power the United States for a hundred years. Other estimates say that worldwide methane deposits contain more energy than coal, oil and all other fossil fuels combined [LOL...there are other so-called "fossil" fuels that we don't know about?].

"There is a huge amount of energy in these resources," said Cooper. "The question is how much of that material can we recover."

Most of that methane is locked inside ice crystals in the Arctic or at the bottom of the ocean, where the pressure is high, the temperature is low, or both, which makes extracting those deposits difficult. ...

Easily trapping gases like CO2, methane and hydrogen could be useful, but first it has to be economical, said both Cooper and outside experts who are cautious about its expense.

Michael Max, who uses hydrates for desalination at Marine Desalination Systems, echoes Cooper.

"It's an interesting result," said Max. "But we don't see how this could be developed commercially."

Max points to Mitsui Group technology that mechanically presses methane hydrate into pea-sized pebbles, making them more stable for transportation and use. However it's stored and transported, finding a cheaper way to gather, store and transport methane and other gasses may eventually help use alternative natural resources.

"The economics of this are far from obvious," said Cooper. "This is a preliminary result and we have to think hard about the costs involved."

12 comments:

Anaconda said...

2007 EUROPEAN AAPG CONFERENCE HEARS ABIOTIC OIL PRESENTATIONS

The oil industry by way of the geologists that work in the industry heard alot about Abiotic oil last November in Athens Greece.

The program included a number of Abiotic Oil presentations. and according to "sources" at the conference this had a lasting effect: "In the coming 10 to 15 years, basins with 3,000 to 4,000 m of water will become the most active area for exploration and exploitation (personal communications with many oil company staff at the AAPG European Conference, November 2007)."

Even before this AAPG conference interest and large capital expenditures were planned for deepwater oil exploration according to Offshore magzine: Global deepwater expenditure to exceed $108 billion through 2012.

Brazil's offshore oil deposits have earned a lot of attention, again, offshore magazine published a recent article: Pre-salt discoveries continue in Brazil.

Here is another forcast of deepwater captial expenditures.

Annual expenditures on deepwater oil exploration are expected to reach $25 billion by 2012.

Could these capital expenditures foretell large new oil & gas discoveries?

The oil industry is surely betting on that result.

What geological theories provide the basis for this large capital investment?

Theories:

Keith and Swan in 2003 postulated a "mega theory" of tectonic formation they suggested would lead to large oil & gas discoveries.

This theory highlights the interconnectedness of the ocean basin tectonics and continental tectonics in what the authors call a mega shear pattern.

Please also see OIM side-bar for diagrams that accompanied original article which help conceptualize the interconnected shear pattern postulated: Tectonic Oil & Continental Rifts, Cracks In The World (Rasmussen, 2003)

And just recently, Keith and Swan teamed up with Martin Hovland to publish this new "mega theory," called Serpentosphere, which suggests that serpentization happens on a global scale at almost all points of the compass.

Martin Hovland has developed several theories tying together salt domes, mudvolcanoes, and asphalt vocanoes.

Hovland's theory of supercritical water provides the physical catalyst and hydrogen element for serpentization.

Supercritical water dissolves minerals which promotes the chemical reactions of serpentization.

Martin Hovland is associated with Norway's Statoil, which is deeply involved in North Sea oil exploration and is active off Norway's coast in deepwater.

This "mega theory" is partially based on this: Keith, S.B. and Swan, M.M., Peridotites, Serpentinization, and Hydrocarbons: Abstracts with programs AAPG Annual Meeting Houston, Texas April 9-12, 2006.

Abstract:

Peridotites, Serpentinization, and Hydrocarbons

Stanley B. Keith and Monte M. Swan
MagmaChem, L.L.C, Sonoita, AZ

"Serpentinization of peridotites by oceanic or metamorphic sourced brines under strongly reduced conditions and temperatures of 200-500 C produces hydrocarbon-rich, chloride and/or bicarbonate metal-bearing brines. Serpentinization is common on the ocean floor along fracture zones (Lost City), beneath conventional petroleum in rifts due to sedimentary burial (Gulf of Mexico) or thrust loading (Roan Trough), and at the top of flat subducting oceanic crust (Eocene beneath UT, CO, WY). Peridotites exhibit high-gravity, low-magnetic signatures. Serpentinized peridotites exhibit high-magnetic, low-gravity signatures. Volume expansion during serpentinization of up to 8X causes diapiric doming and induces expulsion of hydrocarbon-stable brines. There are 2 major types of peridotites: 1) magnesian dunitic peridotite with low V/Ni, high Au-Mg-Cu-Cr-Na/K, up to1400 ppm C (lithosphere source 51-130 km), 2) quartz alkalic aluminum-spinel peridotite with high V/Ni, high S-Mo-Ti-Al-Mn-Fe-U-K/Na up to 800 ppm C (athenosphere source 360-420 km). If hydrogen-stable (mainly thermogenic methane) peridotite-sourced brines rise into shelf carbonate sequence, they may form magnesian or quartz alkalic hydrothermal dolomite (HTD) and thermogenic gas. If the brines breech the hydrosphere they may produce "white smokers" (tuffa vent mounds/pinnacle reefs) along faults and enrich shales with exhalative metal and hydrocarbon. Petroleum condensate typically forms in reservoirs between the HTD zone and seep sites at the top of the lithosphere. Type I kerogen in black shale vents from Mg peridotite-sourced brines whereas Type II kerogen in black shale vents from quartz alkalic peridotite-sourced brines. Correspondingly hydrocarbon chemistry divides oil and gas into 2 major types: 1) magnesian sweet, low-sulfur paraffinic-naphtheric, 2) quartz alkalic sour, high-sulfur aromatic asphaltic. Geochemical markers that tie oil and gas to specific peridotite hydrothermal sources include nano-particle native metals and diamonds, and V-Ni porphyrins."

Which built on Keith's Hydrothermal Hydrocarbons.

Which is in addition to this seperate serpentiztion and oil formation abstract from French authors: Abiogenic Petroleum Generated by Serpentinization of Oceanic Mantellic Rocks.

Finally, in the most provacative theory, yet, we come full circle in this comment:

"One of the greatest achievements of the NCGT group in the last 11 years is the establishment of a strong case for the
ubiquitous presence of ancient, continental rocks under the present-day oceanic areas and its implications for the real
composition of the so-called oceanic crust and for global tectonics.

Many articles in past issues of the NCGT Newsletter have documented indisputable hard evidence against the oversimplified plate tectonic model of the oceanic crust (which is said to be basaltic and gabbroic, to have formed at the mid-oceanic ridges and to have moved to its present position through seafloor spreading), and have argued for the presence of continental rocks in the deep oceans, the most outstanding paper being by Vasiliev and Yano (no. 43, 2007). They showed an impressive crustal section of the Mid-Pacific Ridge at the junction of the Heezen Fracture Zone, and the widespread presence of ancient, continental rocks in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. In addition, we have repeatedly shown that Proterozoic structures on continents continue into the ocean floor (South America and Pacific/Atlantic Oceans; around Australian continent; NW Pacific; Indian Ocean), and we have presented seismic data indicating that the oceanic crust consists of folded and block-faulted basin-filling sedimentary rocks at its top section (some of them possibly Proterozoic to Lower Paleozoic in age – offshore Sumatra, NW Pacific, etc.). Furthermore, the global shear strain pattern discussed by De Kalb (no. 44, 2007) indicates that a uniform crust must have covered the Earth’s surface in Precambrian time. We can now say that the so-called oceanic crust is primarily continental crust which has been locally altered or
metamorphosed in interaction with the upper mantle.

Another important fact brought forward by our contributors is that the present deep oceans were formed in Jurassic to Paleogene time – before that, most of the present oceans had been subaerially exposed and formed paleolands. Mesozoic-Cenozoic basins of great economic interest are well developed in some areas of the deep oceans, mainly near the present continental margins.

The new picture – that continental “oceanic” crust (or sunken continents) underlies the Mesozoic-Cenozoic basins and basalts – is a great gift for the oil industry. They now have positive scientific grounds for exploring deep-sea sedimentary basins. Currently, hydrocarbons are produced in 1,800 m of water off Brazil and exploration is progressing in much deeper waters worldwide (John and MacFarlan, Offshore, October, 2007, for example). In the coming 10 to 15 years, basins with 3,000 to 4,000 m of water will become the most active area for exploration and exploitation (personal communications with many oil company staff at the AAPG European Conference, November 2007). We are very proud of what our members have achieved."

Are these theories or some combination of tectonic theories related to oil & gas deposits on the ocean floor responsible for why countries are scrambling to establish territorial claims to deepwater ocean areas off their coasts and colonies?

So are the oil industry and certain nations on the same page?

What does all this add up to?

"Peak" oil?

Fat chance.

Abitotic oil?

You make the call.

OilIsMastery said...

Anaconda I love you. You rock. As always, thanks for sharing...=)

Anaconda said...

POSTSCRIPT ON MY PREVIOUS COMMENT

Are the theories presented in my previous comment universally accepted in the scientific community? Of course not. The last theory presented is so contraversial that one budding geologist "warned" against even associating with the theory or the people who proposed it.

It was a "dangerous" idea.

This seems against the spirit of open scientific inquiry.

But his admonition did spur this writer to research continent and seafloor formation on Google.

It turns out there are many theories that attempt to refine or add to Plate Tectonic, Continental Drift theory or even challenge the basic concept as the above outlined theory does.

21st century man is fatally flawed with hubris if he thinks his knowledge of the Earth is the "final word" on scientific understanding.

Yet, many geologists take this absolutist position. Their growth of understanding will be stunted as a result of this attitude.

Fortunately other geologists will take an open-minded approach and see how the evidence shakes out over time.

The true scientific admonition: Follow the evidence wherever it leads; there are no sacred cows in science.

Over time, some theories will prove to have more scientific evidence supporting them while others will have less.

What is all the rage today, may be on the "outs" tomorrow.

Science ossified in dogma and constricting authority will diminish mankind's future understanding.

There are no such things as "dangerous" ideas in science.

The only dangerous idea in science is that an idea is beyond challenge and reasonable scientific scrutiny.

OilIsMastery said...

"The history of science demonstrates, however, that the scientific truths of yesterday are often viewed as misconceptions, and, conversely, that ideas rejected in the past may now be considered true. History is littered with the discarded beliefs of yesteryear, and the present is populated by epistemic resurrections. This realization leads to the central problem of the history and philosophy of science: How are we to evaluate contemporary science's claims to truth given the perishability of past scientific knowledge? ...If the truths of today are the falsehoods of tomorrow, what does this say about the nature of scientific truth?" -- Naomi Oreskes, 1999, The Rejection of Continental Drift

Anaconda said...

SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT FOR A BASIC CONTENTION: SERPENTIZATION RESULTS IN ABIOTIC HYDROCARBON FORMATION

The scientific postulate that serpentization produces hydrocarbons is basic to the Abiotic Oil debate.

Therefore, it's encumbent to present as much basic science that supports the serpentization concept as possible.

There is basic science which supports the idea.

Laboratory testing has confirmed that serpentization does produce hydrocarbons. See, also, here.

A previous Oil Is Mastery post noted that a seminar was being presented on the laboratory results showing abiotic hydrocarbon formation from sepentization.

Scientific research, entiltled: Ophiolite diapir geodynamics and oil-gas formation in forearc paleozone, has been carried out regarding hydrocarbon formation in the area of Sakhalin Island where Exxon has drilled the deepest oil well, 37,000 feet deep.

A short passage: "Magmatism evolution is traced from abyssal facies (lherzolite, gabbronorite) to hypabyssal (sheet dike series of diabase and gabbro-diabase, plagiogranite intrusions) and further to effusive underwater facies (spilite, quartz keratophyre). Ophiolite associations are noted for the following: 1) early serpentization (antigorite) of dunite-harzburgite complex at considerable depth of 40 - 50 km in the mantle; 2) bimetasomatic layers varions temperatures between ophiolite rocks and early serpentinite; 3) synchronism of serpentinite rise and dike packets injection; 4) injection of ophiolite blocks in marginal volcanogenic-sedimentary complexes formed by autokinetic flows."

Further: "Fluidal super pressure provided the diapir rise, overlying layers rupture and methane homologies formation like ethane, propane, butane, pentane, hexane and others by reaction 2CH4C2H6+H2. In increased temperature (T>350°C) and with catalytic activity of finely dispersed serpentine and iron-nickel compounds (taenite, pentlandite), these interacting hydrocarbons formed all group components of oil, such as normal alkane, isoalkane, naphthene, and aromatic hydrocarbons according to experimental synthesis of natural hydrocarbons [Ione, 2003]. High seismic mobility of forearc paleozones was beneficial for serpentinite layers breaking, the rise of hydrocarbon extrusions and intrusions, and hydrocarbon migration by faults to near strike-slip fault basin at the final stage of ophiolite formation."

On an entirely different tract, meteorites have been found to have hydrocarbons and the chemical building blocks, "...the minerals olivine and serpentine are characteristic," which the serpentization process of hydrocarbon formation requires.

This does not mean to invalidate the deep mantle work of J.F. Kenney.

Even the serpentization processes seem to identify different catalysts, resulting in hydrocarbons with different trace elements present and different compositions of hydrocarbons: From gas condensates and light crude oil to heavy atomic weight hydrocarbons such as asphalt.

Hydrogen and carbon have such a high chemical affinity for each other based on their respective atomic structures and electron configurations that more than one pathway likely exists for hydrogen and carbon's thermal-molecular bonding.

Anaconda said...

WHY IS "SHEARING" SO IMPORTANT TO ABIOTIC OIL FORMATION?

In several of the preceeding "mega theories" shearing columns of chemical elements or minerals were mentioned.

Why is this important?

Because it provides the physical "mixing" which spurs the chemical reactions of Abiotic hydrocarbon formation.

Also supercritical water is important in this shearing process because it dissolves minerals, thus increasing the chemical mixing, acting as a physical catalyst. Also, the water provides a source of hydrogen for the process.

Why are the oceans and offshore oil exploration & production seen as the future of the oil industry?

Because the geologic record of oil deposits, even on land, seems to be tied to episodes where what is on land today was underwater yesterday.

The prime example is the Middle East oil fields, which the geologic evidence suggests were fomer continental margins and even today have access to water for oil generation.

anak-betawi said...

Anaconda. I take serious offence in your comment that many geologists take an absolutist position and think our present knowledge of the Earth is the "final word" on scientific understanding. I do not know of any geologists with this attitude, and if there were, I doubt they would last very long in the highly innovative world of the modern oil industry. Take this from a real exploration geologist. Sure there is plenty of oil left, but peak oil is a simple economic truth, not a vaguely defined concept. Oil (and gas, and coal, and uranium) are all finite resources, for the simple fact it takes the planet longer to create them than it takes us to exploit them. If we use them continuously, we will at some point use them up. This is indisputable, but clouds the real question, which is whether discovery trends and production infrastructure can keep up with continuously increasing demand. If not, and in the case of conventional oil, recent decades have indicated not, then bingo, we have a supply constriction and the commodity price will skyrocket. Whether that point is now, within the next ten years or the next thirty years is moot. Sure there is plenty of oil left out there - way less than half of all conventional PRODUCIBLE oil on the planet has been produced, which leaves an awful lot. The fact is that the easy oil has mostly been discovered. Finding costs are escalating dramatically as exploration steps out into deeper and deeper water - it costs $100MM to drill a well in 3000m of water - which means a higher and higher oil price is required to keep such projects economic. Many if not all of the ultra-deep water Gulf of Mexico developments become uneconomic below about $60/bbl oil - watch those projects get put on hold if the economic downturn is prolonged much longer. Unconventional oil resources (tar sands, syncrude, oil from coal) are all much more expensive to produce than conventional resources. This creates a feedback mechanism - how badly do we really need $100 oil? $200 oil? At some point the price of oil will make other forms of energy more attractive, and we will use less oil, whether we want to or not. Simple economics.

Now to address a few of your geological gems. Basins with 3000-4000m of water will NEVER be the most active area for oil exploration and exploitation, because of high cost and limited prospectivity. It is true that ultra-deep water (>1500m WD) is prospective in some parts of the world (Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, West Africa), and that activity has recently stepped up. That is because it is the last frontier, and those areas have certain desirable geological characteristics, namely thick sedimentary basins which extend out onto oceanic crust. These basins are not present in all deep oceans, so drilling activity will not push further and further out ad infinitum. The capex figures you mention for DW expenditure may be correct (I don't know) but the geological theories you expound are by no means the basis for such expenditure. Are you nuts? Would you spend that kind of money in your industry on the basis of untested 'off the wall' theories? Only tried and tested geological science could possibly be the basis for committing even a hundredth part of such expenditure. Now I haven't actually read the Hovland/Keith and Swan (2003) material you paraphrase, but it seems that you are using their observations that hydrocarbons are being generated by serpentinisation processes and being exhaled through fumaroles on the sea floor to infer that those hydrocarbons are from an abiogenic source. Nothing could be further than the truth. The Type I and Type II kerogen held within black shales proximal to the hydrothermal vents is derived from marine phytoplankton, deposited in normal marine shales. It is simply that the high temperature regime responsible for generating hydrocarbons comes much closer to the surface in the region of mid-oceanic ridges and their associated fumaroles, hence near-surface organic matter that would normally be too cold, and therefore immature for hydrocarbon generation in the deep ocean basins, is locally cooked sufficiently to release (minor) amounts of oil and/or gas-condensate. Abiogenic petroleum generation is an entirely unrelated concept, involving hydrogenation of free carbon (graphite, diamond etc) at extreme pressures and temperatures in the presence of certain catalysts and supercritical water. The abiogenic generation theory is not the part rejected by conventional industry geologists - far from it. Hydrocarbons can be seen anywhere we point a spectrograph in the heavens, and it is probably not all biogenic (though there are some that think it may be!) The problem is focussing the abiogenic petroleum and migrating it into traps that are porous and permeable enough to produce from, and shallow enough to reach with the drill bit. With few exceptions, porosity and permeability of reservoirs decreases with depth, and there is a point in any sedimentary basin, below which it is pointless to explore, because hydrocarbons at such depths will be unproduceable at commercial rates. No adequate focussing or migration mechanism into viable traps (and I mean drillable reservoirs with adequate poroperm - they need not necessarily be shallow) has been proposed, nor has indisputably abiogenic petroleum been discovered in sufficient quantities in conventional plays to be worth considering as an alternative source of oil, and I will bet my house that it never will be.

Now I'll address this comment. "Another important fact brought forward by our contributors is that the present deep oceans were formed in Jurassic to Paleogene time – before that, most of the present oceans had been subaerially exposed and formed paleolands. Mesozoic-Cenozoic basins of great economic interest are well developed in some areas of the deep oceans, mainly near the present continental margins. The new picture – that continental “oceanic” crust (or sunken continents) underlies the Mesozoic-Cenozoic basins and basalts – is a great gift for the oil industry. They now have positive scientific grounds for exploring deep-sea sedimentary basins. "

You seem to be misinterpreting these statements to imply that there is petroleum potential in many or all deep oceans, because they will be underlain by continental crust. This is simply not the case. Let me address this point in detail: "...present deep oceans were formed in Jurassic to Paleogene time – before that, most of the present oceans had been subaerially exposed and formed paleolands". The first part of the sentence is correct - most extant deep oceans were formed in the late Mesozoic to earliest Tertiary time because of the breakup of Pangaea, and ongoing fragmentation of its two major halves, Laurasia and Gondwanaland, however the second part of the sentence - "most of the present oceans had been subaerially exposed and formed paleolands" - does not mean what you seem to infer it means. The crust forming the deep oceans DID NOT ACTUALLY EXIST prior to this time - it was formed by basaltic and gabbroic intrusives and extrusives accreting over millions of years at the active margins of the new plates - the mid oceanic ridges. This process can be seen at the surface today in Iceland - a northern extension of the mid-Atlantic ridge. Only the present day surface location of the deep ocean basins was palaeoland. The actual palaeolands (continental crust) that existed at the location of the ocean basins have drifted thousands of miles from where they were back in the late Mesozoic/Early Tertiary. They did not subside and were not over-ridden by basaltic lava - they still exist at the surface - look at the match between the present day coastlines of West Africa and South America. They were rifted apart with, new oceanic crust forming in between. Continental drift is a FACT supported by hundreds of different streams of evidence, not some half baked theory that can be easily dismissed. Sure it took some time to become main stream science, but that's the nature of scientific enquiry. Consequently the deep ocean basins consisting of new oceanic crust DO NOT contain sediments capable of sourcing oil and gas - they contain igneous rocks with zero hydrocarbon potential, zero drillable structures, zero reservoir porosity and zero exploration possiblities! The ultra-deep water discoveries in the GoM, Brazil, West Africa etc that you mention were made in sedimentary basins that overlie (i.e. are younger than) the oceanic crust. These have prograded out from continental margins by deposition of sediment washed off land through vast drainage systems. We are already exploring pretty much at the extreme outer limit of these sedimentary aprons, and will not step out further onto oceanic crust, for the simple reason that there are no sedimentary basins out there, just basalt with a thin veneer (few hundred metres at most) of bathyal ooze sitting on the top. This means there is no petroleum system (source rock, migration path, trap, reservoir, seal), so no potential for hydrocarbons. This has been demonstrated by hundreds of DSDP (deep sea drilling project) wells drilled in all of the worlds ocean basins over the past thirty years, in conjunction with regional deep focus seismic surveys.
Nuff said.
Anak-betawi

Anaconda said...

anak-betawi:

Thank you for taking the time to present your thoughts on the subject. This website needs more comments from oil geologists.

My knowledge is limited, and I'm sure, according to most oil geologists almost non-existent.

But I'll take a crack at responding to your comment.

anak-betawi states: "I take serious offence in your comment that many geologists take an absolutist position and think our present knowledge of the Earth is the "final word" on scientific understanding. I do not know of any geologists with this attitude, and if there were, I doubt they would last very long in the highly innovative world of the modern oil industry. Take this from a real exploration geologist."

Well, I'm glad to hear you say there is no "final word".

But then you go on to rely in your comment on the conventional wisdom that is publically spouted in the oil industry, so it seems like you contradict yourself.

Anak-betawi states: "Sure there is plenty of oil left, but peak oil is a simple economic truth, not a vaguely defined concept. Oil (and gas, and coal, and uranium) are all finite resources, for the simple fact it takes the planet longer to create them than it takes us to exploit them. If we use them continuously, we will at some point use them up. This is indisputable, but clouds the real question, which is whether discovery trends and production infrastructure can keep up with continuously increasing demand."

I must strongly disagree with your statement, "peak oil is a simple economic truth," in fact, in terms of "economic truth" that is the least compelling argument for "Peak" oil because the supply/demand differential equals price equation forces commodity supply into balance with demand, i.e., higher prices cause demand destruction until the commodity supply equals demand.

No, the best argument for "Peak" oil is the geological limits argument.

And the timing is important: Over 30 years is beyond the economic horizon of man. What do I mean? Beyond the economic horizon and prices, today, aren't impacted by shortages 30 years from now.

It's simply too speculative to be factored into today's price.

Assuming, only for this discussion, you are right, that "we will at some point use them [hydrocarbons] up." Then the obvious question becomes what is the likely timing for "Peak" oil?

No one knows.

Certainly, whether oil is abiotic has a huge impact on that question.

There is a huge difference between "Peak" oil already happened, as some "doomers" state, "Peak" 30 years from now, or over 60 years from now.

To dismiss the timing is failing to seriously address the question.

I agree with your last thought in the above quote: "...but clouds the real question, which is whether discovery trends and production infrastructure can keep up with continuously increasing demand."

It depends on how rapid the increase in demand is, doesn't it?

Higher oil prices spur more investment, which increases the supply.

I have seen nothing that suggests demand outstrips supply when market signals are heeded.

(Yes, there have been screams of "Peak" oil, and that was a large part of last Summer's run-up in prices, but actual shortages -- didn't happen, not even close.)

You watch the oil industry, I'm sure. There have been new investments all over the place. Both in production infrastructure and distribution infrastructure.

When there are bucks to be made, somebody will take advantage of that opportunity.

anak-betawi says, "supply constriction and the commodity price will skyrocket."

Yes, that undoubtedly is true.

But, oil supply was never "constricted" in the sense of the word's usage you intend.

At best, oil supplies lagged because of the late 1990's oil bust, which slowed investment, even choking it off in certain situations.

There has never been an oil "restriction" because of geological, physical limits.

Never!

The real question is getting the balance right on a price level that sustains investment over the long-term, yet doesn't choke off economic growth in the short-term.

That has been the "devil" in the oil business, not geological, physical limits.

And maybe, just maybe, if "Peak" oil wasn't used as a price "instrument", then that elusive balance between long-term investment and short-term economic growth could be found to produce long-term investment and long-term economic growth, one and at the same time.

Anak-betawi states: "Whether that point is now, within the next ten years or the next thirty years is moot."

Bullshit!

Of course, it matters when it happens.

Now, I'm starting to doubt you. Any informed 'oil man' would never make such a non-sensical statement.

That sounds like a peaker posing as an oil geologist.

anak-betawi says, "way less than half of all conventional PRODUCIBLE oil on the planet has been produced..." How do you know that?

Actually, it's another statement that unless substantiated with some authority, makes me doubtful because the International Energy Agency (IEA) states there is 1.2 trillion barrels of proven reserves, and so far in the oil age, industrial society has used slightly more than a trillion barrels of oil.

Not to mentions the IEA figures are extremely conservative.

anak-betawi states: "The fact is that the easy oil has mostly been discovered."

Mostly true, but it's not clear how thoroughly, the Middle East has been explored, or, should I say, been developed."

Probably, both.

anak-betawi states: "Finding costs are escalating dramatically as exploration steps out into deeper and deeper water - it costs $100MM to drill a well in 3000m of water - which means a higher and higher oil price is required to keep such projects economic. Many if not all of the ultra-deep water Gulf of Mexico developments become uneconomic below about $60/bbl oil -"

Agreed. I have written numerous times of the expense of ultra-deepwater, ultra-deep drilling.

Achieving the price balance that allows that unquestioned abiotic oil to be produced is key.

anak-betawi says, "how badly do we really need $100 oil? $200 oil?

No honest 'oil man' would EVER make that statement. I start to doubt you are an oil geologist.

An honest 'oil man' would say, "whatever the market will bear."

$100 a barrel oil won't stop economic growth. $200 a barrel oil likely would stop economic growth.

$70 to $90 a barrel oil promotes long-term world economic growth and spurs capital investment in oil exploration & development.

anak-betawi states: "[ultra-deepwater, ultra-deep drilling is invested in] because it is the last frontier..."

Agreed!

anak-betawi states: "The capex figures you mention for DW expenditure may be correct (I don't know) but the geological theories you expound are by no means the basis for such expenditure. Are you nuts? Would you spend that kind of money in your industry on the basis of untested 'off the wall' theories? Only tried and tested geological science could possibly be the basis for committing even a hundredth part of such expenditure."

"Are you nuts?"

No.

You make my point! The oil industry wouldn't make the huge expenditures if they didn't think oil was down there.

Abiotic Oil theory, whether you like it or not, is accepted theory in the oil industry at the highest levels, demonstrated by the investment in subsalt oil because abiotic oil is the only explanation for oil at that depth.

Here is a specific issue that should be discussed in detail.

Subsalt oil is abiotic.

(All oil is abiotic, but that's another discussion.)

Obviously, the oil industry doesn't invest in "'off the wall' theories?"

Abiotic Oil theory is well documented as the Oil Is Mastery website testifies.

You betray your own assumptions.

And betray your own implied belief that "fossil" theory oil geologists have found the "final word".

Do you see the contradiction with how you start your comment and the rest of your statement.

Your comment confirms my arguments.

anak-betawi states: "Now I haven't actually read the Hovland/Keith and Swan (2003) material you paraphrase..."

I don't just paraphrase Hovland/Keith and Swan (2003). I link their papers, if not all on this thread, then through-out the website.

anak-betawi: "...but it seems that you are using their observations that hydrocarbons are being generated by serpentinisation processes and being exhaled through fumaroles on the sea floor to infer that those hydrocarbons are from an abiogenic source. Nothing could be further than the truth."

Yes, I do use their papers for the Abiotic Oil theory argument, as Keith, Hovand, and Swan do themselves.

You need to read their papers, anak-betawi.

Anak-betawi says, "Nothing could be further than the truth. The Type I and Type II kerogen held within black shales proximal to the hydrothermal vents is derived from marine phytoplankton, deposited in normal marine shales."

Kerogen, or at least the heavy atomic weight hydrocarbon C215H330, which is the 'active' ingredient doesn't come from organic detritus.

No, anak-betawi, you offer nothing, but assumptions.

Heavy atomic weight hydrocarbons, such as C215H330 aren't the product of organic detritus.

That's the problem with oil geologists, they carry their assumptions over, but never prove their assumptions.

You state your case unconscious of all the assumptions in your argument.

As example, anak-betawi states: "It is simply that the high temperature regime responsible for generating hydrocarbons comes much closer to the surface in the region of mid-oceanic ridges and their associated fumaroles, hence near-surface organic matter that would normally be too cold, and therefore immature for hydrocarbon generation in the deep ocean basins, is locally cooked sufficiently to release (minor) amounts of oil and/or gas-condensate."

Complete assumption. There is no scientific foundation for the above statement. It's word pictures that sound plausible. And in a nut shell, that's all "fossil" theory really is -- a bunch of assumptions.

anak-betawi states: "The problem is focussing the abiogenic petroleum and migrating it into traps that are porous and permeable enough to produce from, and shallow enough to reach with the drill bit. With few exceptions, porosity and permeability of reservoirs decreases with depth, and there is a point in any sedimentary basin, below which it is pointless to explore, because hydrocarbons at such depths will be unproduceable at commercial rates."

Ultra-deepwater, ultra-deep drilling capital investment and oil discoveries demonstrate the falsity of your statement.

anak-betawi states: "...nor has indisputably abiogenic petroleum been discovered in sufficient quantities in conventional plays to be worth considering as an alternative source of oil, and I will bet my house that it never will be."

All oil is abiotic. I've seen no 'convincing' scientific proof that any oil is "fossil" derived.


anak-betawi quotes my comment: "Now I'll address this comment. "Another important fact brought forward by our contributors is that the present deep oceans were formed in Jurassic to Paleogene time – before that, most of the present oceans had been subaerially exposed and formed paleolands. Mesozoic-Cenozoic basins of great economic interest are well developed in some areas of the deep oceans, mainly near the present continental margins. The new picture – that continental “oceanic” crust (or sunken continents) underlies the Mesozoic-Cenozoic basins and basalts – is a great gift for the oil industry. They now have positive scientific grounds for exploring deep-sea sedimentary basins."

This is not my comment, but one I included in my comment, but made by others.

I'll stand corrected and agree that the quote I presented has inaccuracies.

anal-betawi states: "They were rifted apart with, new oceanic crust forming in between. Continental drift is a FACT supported by hundreds of different streams of evidence, not some half baked theory that can be easily dismissed. Sure it took some time to become main stream science, but that's the nature of scientific enquiry."

Agreed, whether you subscribe to Expanding Earth theory or Tectonic Plate, Continental Drift theory, the African coast and the South American coast rifted apart.

anak-betawi states: "Consequently the deep ocean basins consisting of new oceanic crust DO NOT contain sediments capable of sourcing oil and gas - they contain igneous rocks with zero hydrocarbon potential, zero drillable structures, zero reservoir porosity and zero exploration possiblities!"

Possibly true, also possibly not.

We don't know at this time.

It could be that tectonic salt acts as a trapping structure, in addition to deepwater's pressure and a thin sediment structure providing the rest of the "structure" needed to form oil reservoirs. There simply hasn't been enough scientific investigation to know if this is true or not.

anak-betawi states: "The ultra-deep water discoveries in the GoM, Brazil, West Africa etc that you mention were made in sedimentary basins that overlie (i.e. are younger than) the oceanic crust. These have prograded out from continental margins by deposition of sediment washed off land through vast drainage systems."

Good description. Too bad you don't follow it out to its logical conclusion that the oil in those formations is abiotic.

In conclusion, thank you for the comment.

Anaconda said...

CORRECTION:

anak-betawi says, "way less than half of all conventional PRODUCIBLE oil on the planet has been produced..." How do you know that?

I misunderstood the import of anak-betawi's statement, my response is accordingly in error. I stand corrected.

Anaconda said...

anak-betawi and other readers:

I have re-posted my response with the correction and several additions for clarity on the latest Oil Is Mastery post, Secular Acceleration of the Moon as Evidence for Earth Expansion, November 11, 2008.

I have also added an "in a nutshell" summary of my response to anak-betawi's comment as a postscript.

Please link up to my revised response and summary.

Anaconda said...

ADDITIONAL RESPONSE TO ANAK-BETAWI

Editorial note: It's difficult to fully respond to a long comment like anak-betawi's in one sitting; this is a follow up to cover points I failed to address in my first response.

The scientific method is a tough taskmaster for both sides of any debate.

The abiotic oil debate is no exception.

Anak-betawi states: "The capex figures you mention for DW expenditure may be correct (I don't know) but the geological theories [Abiotic Oil theory] you expound are by no means the basis for such expenditure."

What theory is the oil industry using?

Of course, anak-betawi, would say the oil industry uses "fossil" theory.

But the problem is that "fossil" theory fails to predict oil deposits at the subsalt level in the stratigraphical column.

"Fossil" theory predicts oil in sedimentary deposits, but subsalt oil deposits are BELOW the sedimentary level in most plays off the coast of Brazil.

The sedimentary layer rests on top of the salt layer. And with a salt layer several thousand feet thick with low permeability there is no way for the oil to supposedly get "forced" down to the subsalt stratigraphic level from sedimentary layers.

The only place for the oil to come from is BELOW the subsalt region, travelling up into the subsalt deposits, as a result of oil's natural buoyancy, which explains the ultra-high temperatures (and ultra-high pressure) recorded in most Brazilian subsalt oil plays.

anak-betawi states: "Now I haven't actually read the Hovland/Keith and Swan (2003) material you paraphrase, but it seems that you are using their observations that hydrocarbons are being generated by serpentinisation processes and being exhaled through fumaroles on the sea floor to infer that those hydrocarbons are from an abiogenic source. Nothing could be further than the truth."

Specifically, "...but it seems that you are using their observations...to INFER that those hydrocarbons are from an abiogenic source. Nothing could be further than the truth."

I infer nothing.

The authors directly and unequivocally state the hydrocarbons are abiotic, and if anak-betawi had read the papers he would've known that.

(It's hard to take somebody seriously when they won't take the time to read the papers they're commenting on, particularly when the papers are reprinted in full or linked for immediate availability.)

anak-betawi's mistake was to assume no oil geologist would claim petroluem's origin is abiotic.

anak-betawi's assumption was flat-out wrong.

anak-betawi states: "The Type I and Type II kerogen held within black shales proximal to the hydrothermal vents is derived from marine phytoplankton, deposited in normal marine shales."

Keith and Swan in their paper titled, Peridotites, Serpentinization, and Hydrocarbons, state:

"Type I kerogen in black shale vents from Mg peridotite-sourced brines whereas Type II kerogen in black shale vents from quartz alkalic peridotite-sourced brines. Correspondingly hydrocarbon chemistry divides oil and gas into 2 major types: 1) magnesian sweet, low-sulfur paraffinic-naphtheric, 2) quartz alkalic sour, high-sulfur aromatic asphaltic. Geochemical markers that tie oil and gas to specific peridotite hydrothermal sources include nano-particle native metals and diamonds, and V-Ni porphyrins."

Specifically, "Type I kerogen in black shale vents from Mg peridotite-sourced brines whereas Type II kerogen in black shale vents from quartz alkalic peridotite-sourced brines."

It's quite clear from the above quoted passages that Keith and Swan are referring to ABIOTIC processes. Nowhere in the paper are there any references to "marine phytoplankton" that were "deposited in normal marine shales."

(Please note that the above linked Keith and Swan paper was reproduced in full in my original comment, no linking was required to read the text.)

And the other papers linked make clear they are referring to abiotic generation of hydrocarbons.

Again, anak-betawi's mistake can be traced back to his preconceived assumptions.

But there is another more serious mistake made in anak-betawi's statement:

"The Type I and Type II kerogen held within black shales proximal to the hydrothermal vents is derived from marine phytoplankton, deposited in normal marine shales."

He goes on to state:

"It is simply that the high temperature regime responsible for generating hydrocarbons comes much closer to the surface in the region of mid-oceanic ridges and their associated fumaroles, hence near-surface organic matter that would normally be too cold, and therefore immature for hydrocarbon generation in the deep ocean basins, is locally cooked sufficiently to release (minor) amounts of oil and/or gas-condensate."

anak-betawi's statement fails to take into account the required conditions claimed for "fossil" theory.

First, "fossil" theory is claimed to be a two-step process. So-called diagnesis, the initial step, is where organic detritus is converted to high atomic weight, heavy hydrocarbon, C215H330, under conditions of sedimentary pressure and temperature for an unknown length of geologic time, but theorized to be at a bare minimum tens of thousands of years. The second step is so-called catagenesis where heavy hydrocarbons, C215H330, "crack" into lighter hydrocarbons.

Second, the sedimentary conditions for "fossil" theory to operate DO NOT exist near the mid-ocean ridges.

The "pressure over an unknown geologic time" required to convert organic detritus to C215H330, as claimed by "fossil" theory, doesn't exist near mid-ocean ridges, nor is there any evidence that organic detritus even builds up in the open ocean near mid-ocean ridges in a manner that meets the requirements stated by "fossil" theory.

After all, "fossil" theory claims oil forms in stagnant shallow seas, not the open ocean with currents, a deep water column, and as anak-betawi stated, little sediment.

What anak-betawi does in his comment is skip over the so-called diagenesis step and assumes the existence heavy hydrocarbons, C215H330.

When a stated oil geologist mistates his own professed theory that raises red flags.

Which brings up this point:

There are no laboratory experiments, none, that validate the claim that organic detritus converts to heavy hydrocarbons, C215H330, in the geologic conditons claimed and necessitated by "fossil" theory.

On the other hand, as my original comment demonstrated there are multiple laboratory experiments that validate abiotic oil theory. Both the catalytic, serpentization type process and the mantle processes demonstrated by J.F. Kenney's experimental work with ultra-high pressure and temperature (mantle conditions) repeated and confirmed by others.

So, what will it be? "Fossil" theory that has never been confirmed in laboratory experiments or Abiotic Oil theory that has been repeatedly confirmed in laboratory experiments?

Interestingly enough, anak-betawi goes on to state:

"Abiogenic petroleum generation is an entirely unrelated concept, involving hydrogenation of free carbon (graphite, diamond etc) at extreme pressures and temperatures in the presence of certain catalysts and supercritical water. The abiogenic generation theory is not the part rejected by conventional industry geologists - far from it."

In essence, anak-betawi admits abiotic oil theory processes exist. But denies any commercial amount of this "abiogenic generation" travels into geologic oil trapping structures.

Reflected in anak-betawi's statement: "The problem is focussing the abiogenic petroleum and migrating it into traps that are porous and permeable enough to produce from, and shallow enough to reach with the drill bit."

This defies common sense: There is "abiogenic generation" of hydrocarbons, but none of it ever travels into porous sedimentary structures in commercial quantities?

But anak-betawi has an additional problem, by admitting "abiogenic generation" exists then the door is open to robust abiotic oil generation because there is no limiting factor identified for these processes, and the materials and conditions needed for abiotic oil formation are plentiful in the deep crust and shallow mantle.

anak-betawi goes on:

"With few exceptions, porosity and permeability of reservoirs decreases with depth, and there is a point in any sedimentary basin, below which it is pointless to explore, because hydrocarbons at such depths will be unproduceable at commercial rates."

Petroleum is lighter than water, oil is very buoyant relative to it's geological environment of rocks and minerals. Oil is also very plastic in relation to the other minerals in geologic stratum, it will squeeze through and cracks available. Oil's natural tendecy is to rise in the stratigraphic column.

Yet, anak-betawi's statement assumes that the pressure in the stratigraphic column "somehow" prevents "abiogenic" oil from rising into oil trapping reservoirs. But just the opposite is true -- oil's natural buoyancy forces it to the surface.

Anak-betawi states: "No adequate focussing or migration mechanism into viable traps...has been proposed...[for "abiogenic" oil.]"

anak-betawi's statement is completely false.

"Source faults" and fissures and cracks act as conduits for abiotic oil to travel upward due to its natural buoyancy.

Seismic activity is constantly providing conduits for oil's upward travel.

This is the common sense result once abiotic oil has been generated by processes acknowledged by anak-betawi to exist.

anak-betawi's last gambit is to say, "...nor has indisputably abiogenic petroleum been discovered in sufficient quantities..."

Obviously, oil geologists of anak-betawi's ilk will always dispute abiotic oil's origin, so saying, "indisputably" really has no meaning.

The crucial points are these: Oil has been found at depths, conditions, and locations, "fossil" theory can't explain (subsalt oil); evidence that "fossil" theory claims as proof for oil's origin doesn't hold up under close scrutiny; and evidence supporting oil's abiotic origin abounds, both from the laboratory and field observations, while never an experiment has validated the so-called diagenesis process.

anak-betawi's statements don't hold up.

Nuff said.
Anaconda

Nathalie Uy said...

Work until your idols become your rivals. Have a good day and have time to open my site.
imarksweb.net. God Bless :)