Friday, July 31, 2009

Fossil Fuel Without The Fossils



The New York Times: Fossil Fuels Without the Fossils? New Research Says It's Possible .

A theory long on the fringes of petroleum science gained some support from new research this week, but it is probably not enough to launch the concept into the mainstream.
No evidence is enough.

10 comments:

Anaconda said...

Well, it's good to see that this experiment has gotten wide-spread attention, including the New York Times, but the usual suspects are out there spreading misinformation:

"I don't think anybody in the research field doubts that methane could be formed this way," said Wayne Ahr, a petroleum geologist at Texas A&M University. "The problem is if it existed in commercial quantities, it seems someone would have found it by now."

Barry Katz, a geochemist at Chevron Corp., agreed.

"I don't disagree with the idea," Katz said. "I disagree with the idea of commercial quantities. There's no question that it's coming out of the system. However, it's not coming out in commercial quantities."

And while the oil and gas industry is not necessarily looking for hydrocarbons in the same rocks that mantle-derived methane and ethane would have formed in, the resource has not been encountered on a commercial scale during any petroleum exploration or scientific drilling in other rock types, Katz said."

This is an out-right lie.

Plain and simple.

The oil industry is looking for oil in sedimentary basins (oil TRAPPING geological structures) above deep faults where the oil rises up from.

As readers of the website know, there is no scientifically verified process for low chemical energy potential molecules (biological detritus) to convert to high chemical energy potential molecues (oil), and the second law of thermodynamics prevents such process from taking place in the low pressure and temperature shallow crust.

Both oil industry experts quoted, above, speak of a lack of commercial quantities, but that's just BS, as ALL oil is abiotic in origin.

Also, if this process happens, which it does, then what is the physical limitation for abiotic oil formation from primordial chemical compounds not to be wide-spread and robust?

"One can, then, conceive the production, by purely mineral means, of all natural hydrocarbons. The intervention of heat, of water, and of alkaline metals - lastly, the tendency of hydrocarbons to unite together to form the more condensed material - suffice to account for the formation of these curious compounds. Moreover, this formation will be continuous because the reactions which started it are renewed incessantly." -- Marcellin Berthelot, chemist, 1866

Marcellin Berthelot "is considered as one of the greatest chemists of all time."

"The fundamental conception that underlay all Berthelot's chemical work was that all chemical phenomena depend on the action of physical forces which can be determined and measured."

Sadly, the powers that be in the oil industry didn't want to hear that.

"When he began his active career it was generally believed that, although some instances of the synthetic production of organic substances had been observed, on the whole organic chemistry remained an analytical science and could not become a constructive one, because the formation of the substances with which it deals required the intervention of vital activity in some shape. To this attitude he offered uncompromising opposition, and by the synthetic production of numerous hydrocarbons, natural fats, sugars and other bodies he proved that organic compounds can be formed by ordinary methods of chemical manipulation and obey the same principles as inorganic substances, thus exhibiting the "creative character in virtue of which chemistry actually realizes the abstract conceptions of its theories and classifications-- a prerogative so far possessed neither by the natural nor by the historical sciences." (see Wikipedia article linked, above, under Berthelot's name.

To this day, in spite of the vast majority of the evidence oil geologists still cling to this "vitalism", which has been proved false over and over.

Jeffery Keown said...

The gas hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Baikal(sp?), and under the north pole are certainly "commercial quanities."

Anaconda said...

@ Jeffery Keown:

You are right to point out those deposits, although, currently those deposits aren't being commercially tapped.

And you are right to focus on the "commercial quanities" assertions because that is the current fall-back position of the oil industry: There simply is too much evidence to deny that oil is formed by abiotic means from primordial mineral compounds.

So, instead, the public stance of oil geologists is to state the lack of "commercial quantities".

This assertion achieves two goals: First, it assumes that all current oil supplies are derived by the "fossil" theory without challenge, which avoids the proposition and overwhelming supporting scientific evidence that ALL oil is abiotic in origin because it avoids the embarrassing fact that no quantified chemical process has been identified that produces "fossil" derived petroleum whether in the laboratory or in the field.

So-called "diagenesis" and "catagenesis", the supposed two-step process of "fossil" theory oil formation is only a vague qualitative description with zero supporting scientific evidence it actually happens. It is simply ASSUMED it happens.

As there is no direct scientific evidence for the "fossil" theory, oil geologists at best are only left with indirect inferences it happens, and all those inferences have been credibly falsified.

In public statements such as in the New York Times article, oil geologist spokesmen never want to respond to this direct challenge of the "fossil" theory.

(And they rarely have to because of the reporter's limited knowledge and space limitations of the story, and the fact that reporters rarely go into the interview prepared to challenge the oil industry spokesmen's scientific basis for his opinion.)

Second, by asserting there are no "commercial quantities", oil industry spokemen avoid discussion of where oil is being found right now, in places like the ultra-deep water, ultra-deep below the bottom of the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Brazil, off the West African coast, and other places.

Granted, a knowledgable reporter could ask the right questions in a sit-down interview, but these reporters rarely have the factual preparation needed for the right kind of questions, and, rather, the reporters mostly "lap-up" whatever the spokesmen have to say without follow up questions.

Indeed, these statements by the oil spokesmen are usually just like the ones in the New York Times story, short and parrot the oil industry party-line without having to respond to contradicting scientific evidence.

How many times have you read a lengthy sit-down interview of an oil geologist with a well informed and prepared jounalist who is ready to challenge the oil geologist about the basic scientific premise supporting "fossil" theory?

Anaconda said...

A couple of post script comments:

A follow up comment to the following passage from the previous comment:

"Second, by asserting there are no "commercial quantities", oil industry spokemen avoid discussion of where oil is being found right now, in places like the ultra-deep water, ultra-deep below the bottom of the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Brazil, off the West African coast, and other places."

And, how oil located in these ultra-deep water, ultra-deep below the seafloor subsalt, high temperature, and high pressure oil deposits specifically contradict the so-called "oil window" corollary of the "fossil" theory and how, in fact, these oil formations specifically support the Abiotic Oil theory.

And a follow up comment to the following passage from the previous comment:

"How many times have you read a lengthy sit-down interview of an oil geologist with a well informed and prepared jounalist who is ready to challenge the oil geologist about the basic scientific premise supporting "fossil" theory?"

Rather, what you read in the discussions of Abiotic Oil theory on the internet by those that want to dismiss Abiotic Oil theory are monologues by oil geologists or their supporters, which use all the strategies and tactics available to avoid answering the hard scientific facts and evidence, such as strawman arguments, avoiding the best evidence of Abiotic Oil theory, and misstating the scientific evidence and even going into personal attacks.

Jeffery Keown said...

The oil industry is corrupt, I do not believe that can be questioned. Keeping a rare thing scarce is the quickest path to wealth.

This assumes that the scientists working with the oil companies are one of two things:

Complacent, and therefore lying.

Ignorant, and therefore un-scientific.

Either way, these oil geologists suck as scientists.

Anaconda said...

@ Jeffrey Keown:

I can't disagree with your statement, I'll just simply add that group-think is a very powerful dynamic, much stronger than most of us understand (and most people follow, and once following a person or idea are loath to change "horses" or ideas), and that there are undoubtedly oil geologists in the industry who do know the "score" (probably those working on the Ultra-deep water, ultra-deep drilling).

(However, even with the "deep" oil, there is a public stance that the oil is derived by the "fossil" theory.)

But one thing I'm pretty sure about: There is no general discussion among oil geologists within the industry about where oil originates from and constant re-enforcement by various protocols within the industry suggesting the "fossil" theory.

I can't read minds, and while it may not seem like it from my comments, I don't like to think whole swaths of people are dishonest.

And, yes, there are oil geologists within the "community" and oil industry that openly subscribe to Abiotic Oil theory like Martin Hovland, who works for Statoil of Norway (which by the way does a lot of deep, offshore oil drilling).

And others like Stanley Keith.

Partial professional bio:
"...[Stanley Keith] He co-founded MagmaChem Exploration in 1983 for mineral exploration, working on numerous exploration and research projects for both mineral and energy exploration companies. Currently he is a founding researcher with Sonoita Geoscience Research, an industry-supported consortium that applies hydrothermal and economic geological theory and techniques to petroleum exploration."

"...an industry-supported consortium..."

Also, by the way, Keith and Hovland have collaborated on an abiotic oil theory.

So that suggests the oil industry knows about his work and takes it seriously enough to support his work.

I don't know how much these oil geologists are listened to by other oil geologists in the industry.

I'll acknowledge that considering the state of the scientific evidence -- it is all a bit mysterious to me as to what is subscribed to in the industry and why -- and I've immersed myself in the science.

Imagine what it is like for somebody who isn't immersed in the science and has always been led to believe oil is a "fossil" fuel.

So, I understand the resistence in the general population to the idea of Abiotic Oil theory.

I remember when I first heard of this idea, it was mind boggling to think oil is formed by abiotic chemical processes from primordial chemical elements within the Earth.

But now that I have immersed myself in the scientific evidence, it is inescapable that oil is abiotic.

OilIsMastery said...

Jeffery,

"The oil industry is corrupt ...

This assumes that the scientists working with the oil companies are one of two things:

Complacent, and therefore lying.

Ignorant, and therefore un-scientific.

Either way, these oil geologists suck as scientists."

How is it possible for mainstream scientists to be wrong?

I thought you believe mainstream scientists are infallible.

OilIsMastery said...

Anyway Jeffery,

Excellent post. I do believe it's your most logical thus far.

maximumdisorder said...

Hey all...love this blog.

Just wanted to point out that the New York Times has a special relationship to the oil industry. Exec Editor William Keller is the son of the late George Keller, the last chairman of The Standard Oil Company.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/17/BA6413K39T.DTL

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