OK it’s time for the Wizard of NAA to take on the politically correct once again. The questions this time are “where does oil come from?” and “are we running out?” Let’s begin.
WHAT ARE FOSSIL FUELS?
The term “fossil fuels” was originally created by John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company to depict something that was rare and valuable. The name stuck like candy corn on a hot day. It was visually and intellectually appealing and no one really challenged the imagery until recently. See below for oil company sign showing this myth.
Every kid in America has been told that oil comes from Dinosaurs and other ancient fauna and flora which were kept under pressure and heat for tens of millions of years. The implied story here is that once the oil is gone, it is gone forever just like Brontosaurus … wait … Apatosaurus … wait … the B word is back.
Even the DOE (Department of Energy) had this to say:
“Contrary to what many people believe, fossil fuels are not the remains of dead dinosaurs. In fact, most of the fossil fuels we find today were formed millions of years before the first dinosaurs. Fossil fuels were formed from plants and animals that lived 300 million years ago in primordial swamps and oceans.”
Ok they deleted the dinosaur part of the myth and then said oil was even older … 300 million years old. Well I am happy to say that right here on the NAA verion of the old Gong Show the DOE gets buzzed for their dubious answer and that they will be leaving with some lovely parting giftys. So if not supered heated T-rexes and really really old trees, then what is oil?
THE RUSSIANS HAVE A NEW THEORY
The very questions of “what is oil?” and “are we running out?” were asked by the Ruskies back in the 1960’s. The answers they came up with were surprising and eventually led toRussia becoming the number one producer of oil in the world. Yes, even ahead of Saudi Arabia. I note that fracking and horizontal drilling have put the US in the mix for number ONE, but those techniques were not the big discovery that Russia made.
What the Russians discovered (and nobody else believes) is that oil is continually created using non-biological processes. They call this abiotic oil (meaning no biology) and it flies completely in the face of all we have learned about the nature of fossil fuels. Most of the world belives that fossil fuels are the ancient remnants of extinct flora and fauna that have been are subjected to heat and pressure over millions of years and then captured in vast fields just waiting to be discovered. Such fuels are described as limited and nearly exhausted … the very kind of thing we cannot count on for future energy use. But is this view correct?
The truth at least according to the Russians, appears to be very different from the western view on the creation of oil (as is the Russian view on Climate change where the Russians fear cooling more than warming.) For you see, any substance containing hydrogen and carbon that can be subducted deep into the earth can be converted to oil … abiotic oil. Thus, even plankton (certain kinds) which the oceans create by the billions of tons might form the basis of future oil. If this is true, then oil is being continuously created deep within the earth and then forced towards the surface by Earth’s centrifugal force. It is the relatively small quantity of oil that gets to retrievable depths that we call reserves and it is from this batch that we get most of the Earth’s oil today. But if the Russians are right, known oil reserves may well be just a tiny fraction of what is. It could be that the world is divided into easy to get to shallow oil and hard to get to deep oil.
The Saudis are blessed with huge quantities of shallow or easily obtainable oil and they can sell it at almost any price and make a profit. It is how they have been able to manipulate world prices by temporarily lowering prices when a competitor gets a new technology up to speed. If fracking for example needs a price of $50 or $60 per barrell to be economically viable, the Saudis just temporarily lower the price to $45 and viola you have chaos in the fracking world and the capital markets.
As mentioned, the Russian discoveries have not depended on geological luck, but rather have made the astounding discovery that oil can be found deep within the Earth (from a place with no dead creatures or plants) We are talking about wells that are 40,000 feet deep or even deeper. They would argue they are pumping from the source and not from spin filled pockets near the surface. If oil is truly created deep within the Earth, you would expect to see some wells “refilling.” The fact is this exact phenomonom has been observed. (See Here for a discussion). In addition abiotic oil has been created in a lab. (See Here for a discussion)
To see a video on abiotic oil, see below:
SO THE QUESTION IS: ARE WE RUNNING OUT OF OIL?
Here are some interesting quotes about running out of oil”
“The limit of production in this country (the United States) is being reached, and although new fields undoubtedly await discovery, the yearly (oil) output must inevitably decline, because the maintenance of output each year necessitates the drilling of an increasing number of wells.
“Such an increase becomes impossible after a certain point is reached, not only because of a lack of acreage to be drilled, but because of the great number of wells that will ultimately have to be drilled.”
Alas, this is not some current proclamation, but was written in 1919 by Carl Beal at the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Again and again, we hear that we have reached peak oil, but then we somehow break all records for oil production and reserves keep going up. In 1980 for example PROVEN RESERVES were 683 Billion Barrels. By 2011, after pumping hundreds of billions of barrels, PROVEN RESERVES had risen to 1.65 trillion.
The reason for this is that oil discoveries are not just a matter of luck. They are the product of human ingenuity and the application of capital. They very might well also be a function of the fact that oil is a renewable resource.
This is one of the great scientific ideas that is dripping in politics. If you are on the warmest side of the great climate debate or you are an environmentalist who desperately wants us to reach “peak oil”, then you will feel one way. If you are a person who sees CO2 as a benefit not a harm to the planet and sees low cost energy as the surest way to bring the poor out of poverty, you will have different view. The wizard thinks the science on this is still unresolved. My guess is that oil is being currently created. The question is at what volume. If it is being created at a rate of say 1% of our current needs, then it is not so much of a story and the concept of limited oil is true (although “peak oil” may be far in the future.) On the other hand, if oil is being created at an annual rate thousands of times our current usage, then this is a profound discovery that will fundamentally change how we view black gold.
BUT, if you have been listening to the Wizard of NAA, the world should switch to Thorium as it the most promising answer to our energy demands … it is clean, efficient and is essentially limitless. Oh and by the way, it has a zero carbon footprint … if you like that sort of thing.