Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Abiotic Oil and the BP Gusher

Cushing asks if oil comes from dead things.

It appears that the never ending and expanding gusher in the Gulf is bolstering the abiotic oil theory. That is: oil did not form out of dead plants and animals. Abiotic or abiogenic oil theory holds that hydrocarbons were present at the formation of the earth and were trapped in abundance in its mantle. One may consider that the atmosphere of the gas giant planets contains methane in relatively large quantities. Carbon and hydrogen are  plentiful elements in the solar system and the universe.  Both must have been present in large quantities in and on the Earth at its formation; our kind of life is based on it. Under pressure and heated within the Earth these elements joined as hydrocarbons. Therefore hydrocarbons were present in a relatively pure form on earth before there was carbon-based life. Organic chemicals led to organic life. It is difficult to explain deep wells six and seven miles below the surface of the earth gushing oil at thousands of PSI using the biological hypothesis. So we must begin to accept the possibility that life came from petroleum; not the other way around.

Peak oil theorists tend to get a bit perturbed by abiotic theory. I am in sympathy with their desire to end dependence on oil consumption to power the world for many reasons; but facts are facts. Biogenic oil is looking more and more ridiculous. It seems that the big dirty secret is that there is more oil than can be imagined deep below the surface. I am researching this issue and will post more on it in the future. It is interesting that this theory is quite well accepted in Russia and they are drilling deep wells and selling as much oil as they can. Perhaps they understand that the 'oil is scarce and running out meme' has run its course and they are cashing in as much as possible before we all catch on. Meanwhile I think we can expect abiotic oil theory to become more and more accepted and discussed as BP's oil gusher destroys the Gulf and beyond.

No comments: