Natural petroleum seeps release equivalent of eight to 80 Exxon Valdez oil spills

Public release date: 13-May-2009 (from EurekAlert)

Contact: Stephanie Murphy
media@whoi.edu
508-289-3340
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Natural petroleum seeps release equivalent of eight to 80 Exxon Valdez oil spills

Study off Santa Barbara is first to quantify oil in sediments

Bubble of oil oozing from the ocean floor. (Credit: David Valentine)

Bubble of oil oozing from the ocean floor. (Credit: David Valentine)

A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is the first to quantify the amount of oil residue in seafloor sediments that result from natural petroleum seeps off Santa Barbara, California.

The new study shows the oil content of sediments is highest closest to the seeps and tails off with distance, creating an oil fallout shadow. It estimates the amount of oil in the sediments down current from the seeps to be the equivalent of approximately 8-80 Exxon Valdez oil spills.

The paper is being published in the May 15 issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

“Farwell developed and mapped out our plan for collecting sediment samples from the ocean floor,” said WHOI marine chemist Chris Reddy, referring to lead author Chris Farwell, at the time an undergraduate working with UCSB’s Dave Valentine. “After conducting the analysis of the samples, we were able to make some spectacular findings.”

There is an oil spill everyday at Coal Oil Point (COP), the natural seeps off Santa Barbara, California, where 20-25 tons of oil have leaked from the seafloor each day for the last several hundred thousand years.

Earlier research by Reddy and Valentine at the site found that microbes were capable of degrading a significant portion of the oil molecules as they traveled from the reservoir to the ocean bottom and that once the oil floated to sea surface, about 10 percent of the molecules evaporated within minutes.

“One of the natural questions is: What happens to all of this oil?” Valentine said. “So much oil seeps up and floats on the sea surface. It’s something we’ve long wondered. We know some of it will come ashore as tar balls, but it doesn’t stick around. And then there are the massive slicks. You can see them, sometimes extending 20 miles from the seeps. But what really is the ultimate fate?”

Based on their previous research, Valentine and Reddy surmised that the oil was sinking “because this oil is heavy to begin with,” Valentine said. “It’s a good bet that it ends up in the sediments because it’s not ending up on land. It’s not dissolving in ocean water, so it’s almost certain that it is ending up in the sediments.”

To conduct their sampling, the team used the research vessel Atlantis, the 274-foot ship that serves as the support vessel for the Alvin submersible.

“We were conducting research at the seeps using Alvin during the summer of 2007,” recalls Reddy. “One night during that two-week cruise, after the day’s Alvin dive was complete and its crew prepared the sub for the next day’s dive, Captain AD Colburn guided the Atlantis on an all-night sediment sampling campaign. It was no easy task for the crew of the Atlantis. We were operating at night, awfully close to land with a big ship where hazards are frequent. I tip my hat to Captain Colburn, his crew, and the shipboard technician for making this sampling effort so seamless.”

The research team sampled 16 locations in a 90 km2 (35 square mile) grid starting 4 km west of the active seeps. Sample stations were arranged in five longitudinal transects with three water depths (40, 60, and 80 m) for each transect, with one additional comparison sample obtained from within the seep field.

To be certain that the oil they measured in the sediments came from the natural seeps, Farwell worked in Reddy’s lab at WHOI using a comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatograph (GC×GC), that allowed them to identify specific compounds in the oil, which can differ depending on where the oil originates.

“The instrument reveals distinct biomarkers or chemical fossils — like bones for an archeologist — present in the oil. These fossils were a perfect match for the oil from the reservoir, the oil collected leaking into the ocean bottom, oil on the sea surface, and oil back in the sediment. We could say with confidence that the oil we found in the sediments was genetically connected to the oil reservoir and not from an accidental spill or runoff from land.”

The oil that remained in the sediments represents what was not removed by “weathering” — dissolving into the water, evaporating into the air, or being degraded by microbes. Next steps for this research team involve investigating why microbes consume most, but not all, of the compounds in the oil.

“Nature does an amazing job acting on this oil but somehow the microbes stopped eating, leaving a small fraction of the compounds in the sediments,” said Reddy. “Why this happens is still a mystery, but we are getting closer.”

###

Support for this research came from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Seaver Institute.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization in Falmouth, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the oceans’ role in the changing global environment.

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145 Responses to Natural petroleum seeps release equivalent of eight to 80 Exxon Valdez oil spills

  1. David Ball says:

    The next thing you know, ol’ Jed’s a millionaire, ….

  2. H.R. says:

    Seems to me we should “drill there (Santa Barbara), drill now.”

    Kills two birds with one stone, eh? We’d get domestic oil and clean up a stretch of west coast shoreline. Won’t happen, though. It makes too much sense. Can’t have any of that now, can we?

  3. Myron Mesecke says:

    Would allowing more west coast drilling reduce the underground pressures that force this oil to seep out? Would it actually be better for the local marine environment to have offshore oil drilling there? The drilling rigs also make great artificial reefs. Wouldn’t it be ironic for some California greenies to suggest getting the oil out in order to stop the natural oil spills?

  4. Kazinski says:

    You might fix your headline, its not “equivalent” to 8 – 80 Exxon Valdez spills because it was deposited over tens of thousands of years. So the deposits might be equivalent, but the seeps are not. That said one of the joys of Coal Tar beach north of UCSB was always getting out the mineral oil and cleaning the tar splotches off when you got home.

    REPLY: It is not “my” headline, but in fact the one that came with it from the press release. Click on the word “EurekAlert” to see the original. The same statement is also in the body of the PR as “It estimates the amount of oil in the sediments down current from the seeps to be the equivalent of approximately 8-80 Exxon Valdez oil spills.” – Anthony

  5. Roger Sowell says:

    I am surprised that this is regarded as news, as it has been well-known (but hushed up by MSM) for many decades that natural oil seeps release far more oil into the oceans than any oil tanker spill.

    I attended a seminar on this as a young chemical engineer in 1978. It was old news at the time.

  6. Basil says:

    H.R. (08:09:57) :

    You beat me to it. If nature is going to be dumping all this oil into the ocean on its own, why not collect it and use it for domestic petroleum supply? Or, if the AGW crowd cannot abide that, how about putting it into the strategic petroleum reserve?

  7. Mike Bryant says:

    Well, I can’t believe that all that nasty stuff is seeping into California’s water. There really is only one solution. These areas MUST be sealed off. Billy Mays could probably handle the problem with SuperPutty… (j/k)

  8. Craig Fram Belvidere says:

    And???

    Oil is a naturally occuring substance. It has always moved from the ground to the water and some major oil field discoveries were made by following an oil sheen on water, for instance the fields around Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela.

    SInce oil is naturally occurring, continually occurring and contains carbon there are microbes that have evolved to eat it. They clean up after us and after natural processes. But since oil rigs are ugly and oil companies are evil, there are good potential oil resources that wll not be tapped in our life times.

  9. JohnB says:

    The healine says that the seeps “release” the equivalent of 8-80 Exxon Valdez oil spills. But, over what period of time? Daily?

    The article seems not to address “releases,” but rather what the sediment “contains.” So, if the period of time is eons, it seems like a non-story trying to get traction with an inflamatory headline.

  10. crosspatch says:

    There are even larger seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. In the early 1900′s the beaches were covered with tar. Offshore drilling has reduced the seepage somewhat. New drilling off the coast would further reduce seepage and result in a cleaner environment.

    There are even seeps on land in that area. In fact, in very hot days you can sometimes find oil running down the ditch along the side of the road. There is much more natural seepage than human caused spillage. Coal Oil Point leaks more oil in one month than spilled from human operations over the entire decade of the 1990′s.

  11. CodeTech says:

    Nah, can’t drill and get this oil, otherwise someone will just get the oil eating microbes declared as an endangered species. After all, only human interference can possibly be bad, right? Think of the poor microbes!

  12. Anaconda says:

    Don’t kid yourself, as long as oil has been in the Earth’s crust (millions of years?) there have been oil seeps. It’s as natural as a mother breast feeding her child.

    (If the oil has been seeping for millions of years how come it never runs out? Could it be that oil isn’t a product of squashed plants and algae?)

    The oil industry has made amazing technological advances in recent years in off shore drilling techniques.

    Believe it or not environmental groups have encouraged drilling off Santa Barbara.

    Why?

    To reduce the amount of oil going into the environment by reducing the pressure in the faults where the oil seeps.

    Talk about a WIN/WIN situation — More domestic oil for America, less oil in the marine environoment, and, yes, more tax revenue for cash strapped coastal states and the federal government, and jobs, too. Don’t forget those jobs in today’s economy.

    Off shore oil drilling — Good for America — Good for the Environment.

    That’s a winning proposition!

  13. Eric says:

    JohnB: The article says, “There is an oil spill everyday at Coal Oil Point (COP), the natural seeps off Santa Barbara, California, where 20-25 tons of oil have leaked from the seafloor each day for the last several hundred thousand years.”

  14. John W. says:

    JohnB (08:32:52) :

    The healine says that the seeps “release” the equivalent of 8-80 Exxon Valdez oil spills. But, over what period of time? Daily?

    From the article:

    “…where 20-25 tons of oil have leaked from the seafloor each day for the last several hundred thousand years.”

  15. Kojiro Vance says:

    The answer to whether drilling would stop the oil seeps is a “maybe”. Depends on whether there are commercial quantities of oil in the formations.

    We had the same problem in the Gulf of Mexico until near shore drilling eliminated. I remember as a kid trying to swim on the beaches near Freeport, TX. Naturally occuring oil balls would wash on shore. After drilling we don’t have that problem.

    In the early years of oil exploration, drillers would look for naturally occuring seeps and then drill behind them.

  16. J.Hansford says:

    JohnB…. I don’t think you read it properly…. It says that it has been leaking about 20 to 25 tons of oil every DAY for hundreds of thousands of years.

    That’s a lot of oil….

  17. Mike Bryant says:

    “The article seems not to address “releases,” but rather what the sediment “contains.” So, if the period of time is eons, it seems like a non-story trying to get traction with an inflamatory headline.”

    When oil is seeping out onto our beaches or exists in the sediments, I would not call that a “non-story”. Newspaper people always write attention-grabbing headlines. In the body of the article:

    “It, (the study) estimates the amount of oil in the sediments down current from the seeps to be the equivalent of approximately 8-80 Exxon Valdez oil spills.”

    So that is the amount of oil that exists “in the sediments” currently. That amount does NOT include all the oil that has seeped in the past or that is currently seeping out.

  18. crosspatch says:

    Because of drilling restrictions, the oil industry DOES actually attempt to recover oil from some of the more active seeps. They have structures they place on the sea floor over active seeps that are sort of like an inverted funnel that collect the oil and gas. They don’t collect as much oil as a well would, though.

    The parents of a friend of mine grew up in Santa Barbara in the 1920′s and 1930′s. They said the beaches there were constantly covered with oil and the sea air smelled like kerosene. Once drilling started off the coast, the amount of beach oiling reduced considerably to the point where you could actually walk barefoot on the sand. Before that, nobody walked barefoot and the beach, to hear them tell it. Their mother would make them get the oil off their skin with turpentine before they went in the house whenever they got home from the beach and it would ruin a pair of shoes.

    With modern drilling techniques such as directional drilling, they wouldn’t need as many rigs as in the past when wells serviced by the current platforms were drilled. One platform could service many wells drilled in different directions. Allowing new drilling might result in more oil from FEWER platforms and less environmental damage.

    But I wonder if we could also extract more oil offshore from land-based wells using directional drilling technology.

  19. Jeff in Seattle says:

    The article says 20 to 25 tons of oil a day,, The 55 gallon drum of oil (not crude oil of course) I just purchased weighs 440 pounds that is ~4.5 drums per ton,, thats ~90 to ~114 drums a day, which if my math is right that would be would be ~4950 to ~6270 gallons (US) per day. the weight my be off a little since I do not know how much the drum weighs empty, but I can pick it up by myself with out a problem. Not sure if a barrel of crude oil is 55 or 50 gallons. Just my observation.

  20. John Galt says:

    Isn’t some of the oil consumed by bacteria?

    REPLY: Yes, see this this from the same researchers. – Anthony

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080930135303.htm

  21. D. King says:

    With our current budget crises here in California, I don’t
    think we have the money to clean up this huge oil
    problem! Besides, what could we possibly do with
    all that oil? Does anyone know what our biggest import
    is in California?………Stupid!

  22. Clark says:

    Yes, but oil from the sea floor is NATURAL, why oil from a tanker or pipeline is artificial and tainted by human sin.

  23. dhogaza says:

    “…where 20-25 tons of oil have leaked from the seafloor each day for the last several hundred thousand years.”

    Compared to about 38,000 tons spilled by the Exxon Valdez, or about 0.07% as much per day.

    (using 10.8 million gallons @ 7 lbs/gallon)

    REPLY: Its the UCSB/Woods hole numbers from their own PR, go complain to them. – Anthony

  24. Jason says:

    Anthony, a new bit of news you may want to cover:
    http://deepseanews.com/2009/05/deep-ocean-conveyor-belt-reconsidered/

    REPLY: Done, thanks – A

  25. Dodgy Geezer says:

    Do you think Greenpeace could collect enough money from street corner collections and ‘save the whale’ sales to fund the building of an environment de-oiling device? I envisage something like a large platform (painted green, of course) with a probing device which could reach down into Gia’s sediments and gently suck up this awful puss….

    It would cost a lot of money and use state-of-the-art technology to capture the pollutant and ship it off to a refinery treatment works, where it will purified, and then shipped out to everyday motorists travelling communities, to be eventually recycled into the CO2 plant food and clear, clear water that it came from….

  26. JohnH says:

    What surprises me is that the study was conducted at all. Very politically incorrect. Was there an ulterior motive? Will Arnold use this study to press his request that the legislature allow offshore drilling?

  27. press says:

    John, all of the oil is rendered down by bacteria as is any carbohydrate.

  28. press says:

    Saying that as happened with the discovery of oil in the first place (natural seeps) is this area one of those banned for drilling in the US?

  29. Mike Bryant says:

    “dhogaza (09:18:58) :
    “…where 20-25 tons of oil have leaked from the seafloor each day for the last several hundred thousand years.” ”

    Wow… that’s about an Exxon Valdez every five years for the last several thousand years and continuing!!!

    It’s funny then that:

    “It, (the study) estimates the amount of oil in the sediments down current from the seeps to be the equivalent of approximately 8-80 Exxon Valdez oil spills.”

    Since only abot 8-80 Exxon Valdez oil spills remains in the sediment, that means that alot of the oil is missing. The bacteria have been very busy and it appears that dilution really IS the solution to this pollution, I mean, natural seepage.

  30. hareynolds says:

    A word from the oilpatch:

    Seawater has a specific gravity of ~1.03.
    Crude oil density (that is, specific gravity) is measured on the “API Gravity” scale.
    API Gravity of 10 = 1.0 Specific Gravity (fresh water)
    Api Gravity 10.3 (therefore) = 1.03 Specific Gravity (sea water)

    Since most of these “seeps” SINK in seawater, they are <10.3 API Gravity, which is HEAVY OIL, actually officially “bitumen”, i.e. the skinny cousin of TAR.

    Fact 1: Heavy (low gravity) oil is NOT nearly as valuable as the lighter oils (e.g Bonny Light, WTI, etc). Just ask Hugo Chavez what he’s getting for his average barrel; it’s typically about 70% of the “[light] oil price” you read in the paper.

    Fact 2: It IS possible to drill for bitumen, as Shell Canada is doing in the Athabasca tar sands in Northern Alberta, but it iscomplex and VERY expensive. Breakeven off CA would likely be $50-60 per barrel WTI, as a guess. IF you were even allowed to get a permit in the first place. Frankly, no oil company would bother to ask due to what’s politely called “sovereign risk”, which is to say that CA is the Land of Fruits and Nuts.

    Fact 3: Various “Capping” schemes (involving large steel caps over the seeps, in which seeps could be collected and pumped to shore) have been proposed over the years, but frankly NOTHING substantial ever gets built in CA anymore, so that’s a dead issue.

    In this case, the recent advent of reliable, subsea multiphase pumps would actually now make this a practical project (albeit a GOVERNMENT project, because private capital won’t touch it). In any case, the energy derived from such a project would likely be HALF as expensive (say, equivalent ot $80 per barrel light crude) and infinitely more reliable than wind or solar as (a) heavy oil is still loaded with calories! and (b) you can still burn heavy oil products on a windless night, for example.

  31. Anaconda says:

    Kojiro Vance (08:49:39) :

    “The answer to whether drilling would stop the oil seeps is a “maybe”. Depends on whether there are commercial quantities of oil in the formations. ”

    There has been commercial quantities of oil off Santa Barbara for 40 years at least. After the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill a moratorium was soon imposed, so these wells have been continuously pumping oil for 40 years and still haven’t depleted.

    (Wonder why?)

    (Now, there has been some fudging because these platforms originally had one or two wellheads each, but with advanced technology, as a previous commenter pointed out, these platforms, now, have multiple wells. One platform has over 50 wells connected to it, and all have multiple wellheads.

    Oil companies don’t invest unless they think oil will be produced.

    Conceivably (no one knows), with full exploration & production California could be a net oil exporter.

    The luddites, and that’s what many if not most of the AGW activists are, make no mistake about that, don’t want to see American oil production increased.

    But for the rest of us, if the environment is improved and the economy is stimulated — that’s a good thing.

  32. Peter Plail says:

    What’s up with this research – it isn’t predicting the end of the world or requiring massive investment in a solution?

    Maybe it’s just that they are the good, old-fashioned sorts of scientists!

  33. Kazinski says:

    About 25 years ago, a evil oil company deployed a large underwater tent like contraption over one of the oil seeps off of Isla Vista in order to capture some oil and mostly natural gas that was bubbling up from one of the seeps. As I recall they negotiated a deal for some pollution trade offs with the state to make it feasible.

    I don’t know if it’s still in operation or not. There was a study done in the the 80′s that determined based on air samples that 86% of the non-methane hydrocarbons pollution over the Santa Barbara Channel was from the seeps and not from human sources.
    http://www.mms.gov/omm/Pacific/enviro/seeps-coal-oil-pt.pdf

  34. hareynolds says:

    Jeff in Seattle (09:06:03) said :

    The article says 20 to 25 tons of oil a day,, The 55 gallon drum of oil (not crude oil of course) I just purchased weighs 440 pounds that is ~4.5 drums per ton,, thats ~90 to ~114 drums a day, which if my math is right that would be would be ~4950 to ~6270 gallons (US) per day. the weight my be off a little since I do not know how much the drum weighs empty, but I can pick it up by myself with out a problem. Not sure if a barrel of crude oil is 55 or 50 gallons. Just my observation.

    UNLESS Seattle uses a different barrel than the American Petroleum Institute (I wouldn’t put it past y’all to have your own “avoir du cooler than you” system; see Frugal Seattle in last weeks NY Times Magazine), an API Barrel is 42 barrels.

    Assume that the SG of this oil is just slightly greater than 1.03 (sea water).
    A pint’s a pound the world around (OK too much time in Brit locals, I confess)
    So 1 gallon fresh water is ~8 pounds. 8 * 1.03 = ~8.25 lbs minimum.

    42 gallons * 8.25 ppg = 346.5 lbs minimum

    There you have it, close enough for government work.

  35. Brian in Alaska says:

    A barrel of crude is 42 gallons. I just watched a big grizzly walk right by our ugly oil facility a few minutes ago. But, that’s nature for you.

  36. Dave Middleton says:

    One of the TV AGW “nightmare” programs (it might have been one of Brokaw’s) featured a marine biologist off the coat of Santa Barbara (IIRC) bemoaning the bubbles of methane that global warming was releasing from the sea floor…It was a natural gas seep on the sea floor that the bubbles were coming from.

    Gas seeps are all over the place in the Gulf of Mexico…We have to avoid them when positioning drilling rigs and platforms. In the deepwater, we have to avoid them because little chemosynthetic critters like to live around them.

    Offshore California is also rife with gas seeps…

    http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/research/projects/oilandgasseep.html

  37. Adam from Kansas says:

    Can’t fix this problem if this has been going on well before people even started drilling for oil.

    I like the Billy Mays reference, seal them with MightyPutty unless the increased pressure pops the seal off or it finds a new place to seep O.o

  38. AnonyMoose says:

    Many oil deposits have been found by tracing the source of seeps. Pumping oil out of oil fields reduces the pressure and does reduce the amount seeping out from the field.

    One of the more famous seeps, the La Brea Tar Pits, also is associated with an oil field.

  39. Anaconda says:

    A little History.

    Before there were movies and Hollywood starlets (okay they both got up and running about the same time), there was oil in California. The pioneers noted land based oil seeps with the first coverd wagons.

    See a map of both on shore and off shore oil & gas seeps.

    http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/seeps/where.html

    In fact a major component of early 20th century California’s wealth and economic power came from the burgeoning oil industry.

    New wealth was created.

    There is a reason why classic songs pass the test of time: They still make men’s skin tingle — and get the girls to dance.

    Oil can do the same for California — it’s a classic that never goes out of style.

  40. Johnny Honda says:

    Do you remember the Shell oil rig “scandal”? The Europeans beneath you for sure.
    Shell wanted to sink a small oil platform into the Northsea. Result was a MASSIVE protest of Greenpeace against that. Shell and others said, this amount of oil (there were a few tons of oil left in the platform) spills into the sea naturally within one hour (or so).

    Did anyone listen? No! Shell was boycotted in Europe, everone said “To Hell with Shell” and stupid things like that.

  41. Myron Mesecke says:

    Maybe instead of Billy Mays and MightyPutty we need the Shamwow guy to soak up the oil.

  42. dhogaza says:

    Its the UCSB/Woods hole numbers from their own PR, go complain to them. – Anthony

    My post contained nothing other than arithmetic, no complaint.

  43. Jack Simmons says:

    Kazinski (08:19:43) :

    You might fix your headline, its not “equivalent” to 8 – 80 Exxon Valdez spills because it was deposited over tens of thousands of years. So the deposits might be equivalent, but the seeps are not. That said one of the joys of Coal Tar beach north of UCSB was always getting out the mineral oil and cleaning the tar splotches off when you got home.

    Exxon Valdez dumped 10.8 million gallons of oil, equivalent to 350,000 barrels of oil. There are 7 barrels per ton, so approximately 50,000 tons spilled by Valdez.

    These seeps are putting out 25 tons per day, so you would get the equivalent of a Valdez every 2,000 days.

    See http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_barrels_of_oil_from_one_ton_of_oil

    and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill

  44. WUWT tumbled down another windmill!. It is good to know that also good oil will never end as long as nature processes organics.

  45. Michael D Smith says:

    8 to 80 seems low to me. Here are where the fun facts lead:

    Exxon Valdez released 10.8 million gallons
    Seeps: 20-25 tons per day (using 20)
    California crude density: .915
    Seeps kg/day = 18144kg = 19830 liters/day = 5238 gallons/day
    Days to 1 Exxon Valdez 10800000/5238 = 2062 days or 5.65 years.

    If it’s been doing that for the last “several hundred thousand years”, I’ll take it that means at least 300,000.

    300,000 / 5.65years = at least 53,097 Exxon Valdez, or 573 billion gallons. So the other (at least) 53,017 Valdez’ worth of oil must have disappeared or floated somewhere else. This is a cube 1.3km on a side. This is enough to last the USA 1.8 years at current rates of consumption. If you take the area of the USA, we use enough oil each year to coat the surface of the country in about .133mm of oil, or about 1/200th of an inch (.005″).

    Somehow I think all of those plants and trees on my little plot can handle .005″ thickness spread over a year. On the other hand, this is also equivalent to one square foot of the acre, 18.15 feet high of oil that is burned every year, or about 0.6″x12″x12″ per day per acre…

  46. Tim J says:

    Just a thought to throw in the discussion:
    There is the theory that oil and gas is abiotic (i.e. produced naturally beneath the earth’s crust). When the earth broke up the oil found its way in large quantities to the surface along the faults that were created where we find our oil fields today. Russian scientist have been researching this for a long time and there is the thought that they have mastered the technology to tap in on the gas which they appear to have in abundance.
    Also the find of hydrocarbons on Titan tends to lend support to this theory.

  47. Jack Simmons says:

    Anaconda (08:39:16) :

    (If the oil has been seeping for millions of years how come it never runs out? Could it be that oil isn’t a product of squashed plants and algae?)

    Ah, many have wondered about that very question.

    In his book “The Scientist As Rebel”, Freeman Dyson dedicated a chapter of this book to one rebel, Thomas Gold. Thomas Gold, to quote Freeeman,

    advocates a theory that natural gas and oil come from reservoirs deep in the earth and are relics of the material out of which the earth condensed. The biological molecules found in oil show that the oil is contaminated by living creatures, not that the oil was produced by living creatures. This theory, like his theories of hearing and of polar flip, contradicts the entrenched dogma of the experts. Once again, Gold is regarded as an intruder ignorant of the field that he is invading. In fact, Gold is an intruder but he is not ignorant. He knows the details of the geology and chemistry of natural gas and oil. His arguments supporting his theory are based on a wealth of factual information. Perhaps it will once again take us forty years to decide whether the theory is right.

    Freeman ended this chapter with a postscript, 2006:

    Thomas Gold died in June 2004. Shortly before he died, an experiment was done at the Carnegie Institution of Washington Geophysical Laboratory to test his theory that natural gas is generated deep in the earth’s mantle. The experiment, carried out with tiny quantities of mantle materials exposed to high temperature and pressure in a diamond anvil cell, demonstrated abundant production of methane. The authors sent a message to Gold to tell him that his theory had been confirmed, only to learn he had died three days earlier.

    We didn’t have to wait 40 years.

  48. Aylamp says:

    That’s why exploration geologists have such a hard time finding oil. Most of it has leaked out of the reservoirs.

    Gas seeps are everywhere too. Shallow gas pockets and gas pock marks in the North Sea provide ample evidence.

  49. Aylamp says:

    Alaska oil seeps are widespread and numerous:

    http://www.bowdoin.edu/faculty/d/dpage/alaskan_oil/

  50. English Major says:

    Could someone who’s much smarter than I am comment on this:
    http://www.independent.com/news/2009/may/15/west-coast-threatened-human-activity/

  51. Gary Plyler says:

    Drill Baby Drill.
    Relieve the undergroung oil pressure by extracting the oil. That will reduce the seep rate (and save GAIA).

  52. Howarth says:

    I used to dive in that area of coal oil point for sea urchins and it was always a mess. I spoke with Fish and Game about some oil company pumping those areas of natural seepage and they speculated that if some one was to start drilling in that area they would become legally responsible for any oil spilled from the process. If you follow that line of thought its a non starter. You can’t win here in California. The greenies got it sown up no matter how your lookat it.

  53. Andy says:

    Hareynolds…your numbers are wrong. API=10 does equal a specific gravity of 1.0. However API of 10.3= specific gravity of 0.998. The higher the API number the lower the specific gravity. I do these kinds of calculations every day.

    Jeff in Seattle…the average steel closed head barrel weighs about 37 lbs.

  54. doug says:

    Drilling near natural seeps can indeed reduce the flow. Conversely, some of the secondary recovery methods such as injecting water, gas, or CO2 have actually increased the flow at the natural seeps.

    There’s some irony for you,,,injecting CO2 reduces the oil viscosity and maintains reservoir pressure. One popular idea is using CO2 from power plants for secondary recovery,,,,which could increase the rate of natural seeps.

  55. doug says:

    This abiotic theory pops up with irritating regularity.

    Yea, there is such a thing as abiotic methane. I can tell you though, from 25 years of looking for and finding oil and gas, that most of what we produce is clearly biotic in origin.

    There are complex trace long chain molecules, known as biomarkers present in the oil. They are basically fossils on a molecular level. We can trace these biomarkers directly to the source rock, and often trace then directly to the organism, and determine the age, environment of deposition of the organic matter.

    I can show you side by side basins in Indonesia, one with a layer of organic rich black shale deposited in a lake 35 million years ago, and full of the fossil remains of the algea bottriococcus. The other basin lacks the organic rich layer.

    Surprise! the basin with the organic layer is full of oil, and the oil is full of the same long chain hydrocarbons as the bottriococus remains. The other basin is barren.

    How did those deep mantle hydrocarbons know to migrate into the basin with the algal rich rock?

  56. WestHoustonGeo says:

    I was maintaining a list of misconceptions (and why they are wrong) shouted by anti-oil people until I figured out that they don’t really care about facts. Here is some stuff about seeps:

    Misconception #10. Any oil in the ocean is from a spill.

    Come and listen to my story ‘bout a man named Rudesindo Cantarall. In 1971, this fisherman complained to PEMEX (the National Oil Company of Mexico) about thick tar that was fouling his nets in the Bay of Campeche. The oil people were puzzled, having no pipelines or drill rigs in that area. He took some PEMEX geologists to the spot where it was happening. What they found was natural seepage from what turned out to be one of the largest offshore oil fields ever found. It became the economic heart of Mexico’s oil industry is only now waning. Alas, Rudesindo did not retire to Acapulco Bay amongst swimin’ pools and movie stars, as we might like to believe. He died in 1997 in poverty and obscurity.

    Seeps of petroleum happen anywhere petroleum occurs in abundance. It is not in the least surprising that someone would decide to drill where seeps occur. Venezuela is replete with such oil seepage and natural gas eruptions. I myself have seen these with my own eyes. In the Gulf of Mexico oil seeps out at a rate equal to 2 “ExxonValdez’s” per year (Science Daily).

    So, when you see an oil platform and blame it for the tar balls on the beach, you have quite probably put cause and effect backward. Petroleum, after all is a naturally occurring substance that sometimes comes to the surface, as at the La Brea tar pits, to pick a well-known example

    Misconception #11. But won’t drilling cause more seepage?
    Au contrare, mon ami, pumping the oil out of the ground reduces seepage. Studies by the University of California done around an oil rig (Platform Holly) off Santa Barbara (Yes – oil platform – California) show that natural seepage has dropped by more than 50 % over 22 years as a result of oil production.
    Studies of natural seepage in that area indicate that the amount of oil released in four years is equivalent to the Exxon Valdez spill.

  57. Brute says:

    Oh my!

    Where are all the photographs of oil soaked sea birds and oil fouled [insert cute, fuzzy, doe eyed animal here] that are obvious “victims” of this catastrophe?

    Wouldn’t it be cool if environmental lobbying groups were sued and forced to clean up this “mess” because they blocked drilling that would relieve the static pressure on these oil deposits and would keep them from bubbling to the surface?

    From my lips (fingers) to God’s ears……..

  58. Leon Brozyna says:

    Father Earth despoils Mother Gaia – Film at 11!

    As previous comments have suggested, the solution is obvious; implement the Louisianna model.

    1. Build a chain or series of drilling platforms.
    2. Extract the oil – cleans up environment.
    3. Realize tax revenues from that oil production.
    4. When a platform stops production, cut off its legs and drop the rig.
    5. Voilà, California’s own Great Barrier Reef.
    6. Fishing industry booms – more tax dollars realized.

    It’s a winning situation all around. Therefore, since environmentalists don’t want mankind to win, it won’t be allowed to happen.

    Here’s a better idea. Environmentalists unite! Leave this modern society you so despise. Build yourselves an isolated communal retreat amongst the trees and rocks and dirt, grow your own natural organic foods, let the wife steer the plow while the husband pulls it (don’t forget animal rights!), and let the rest of society wallow in its misery of a rich productive lifestyle with all its amenities. And in fifty or so years, we can all sit back and watch on our huge flat screen TV’s, a CBS special about some strange environmentalist cult high up in the mountains living in harmony with nature and dying at the ripe old age of 46.

  59. Gary Pearse says:

    There is much ado about the Tar Sands (we even call them oil sands now to make them sound a little more soothing) and has been for decades. Get this!! the worry has been largely that the delicate ecology that has made the tar sands home could be compromised. We used to call this deposit, which has more reserves of oil than Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil spill that we were in the process of cleaning up. Clearly, an ecosystem has developed over this stuff probably beginning with evaporation of volatiles followed by bactreria that modified the surface oily sand so that it was suitable for plants and other organisms to develop. Regarding oil spills from accidents, no one likes to see birds coated with oil but it is obvious that the stuff that remains after a spill gets processed by nature.

  60. Paddy says:

    This study of Santa Barbara oil seeps confirms prior research concerning how best to treat oil spills.

    I am aware of research done by Bettelle’s Sequim, WA marine laboratory that analyzed how best to mitigate damage from oil spills. The study concluded that the best choice was to do nothing. The toxins in crude oil evaporate in one or two days. The spilled crude that is not recovered will either sink or reach shorelines where it degrades over time from various reactions and phenomena into inert tar. (excuse this layman’s recollection of details).

    As I recall scientists from the Bettelle lab recommended against steam cleaning the shoreline zone of Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez spill. The informed responsible authorities that cleaning would destroy the biota and their habitat, especially the microorganisms that process crude oil.

    Hysteria and ignorance, and the need to do something produced disastrous decision making. We know now that steam cleaning caused potentially irreparable harm to Prince William Sound. The recovery is incomplete and partial at best. Billions have been spent on cleanup and reparations. But, that is only a fraction of the true cost of the disaster, most of which could have been avoided.

  61. EricH says:

    So there is seepage. This is most probably caused by pressure from below. Is this pressure caused by more oil being produced/ formed by the Earth’s own complex reactions as a recent post suggested?

    If this is so does it mean that ALL old oil fields are being replenished from below by Earthly processes that we barely understand? Does any body have a long “dipstick” to be able to check if old oil fields are refilling? If, after checking, we find that they are indeed refilling we should be able to work out what the maximum annual extraction should be to enable continuous (for all intents and purposes) oil production. Once we know that we should be able to work out how to use renewable energy technologies (wind, hydro, wave power, etc.) to fill the rest of our energy needs. Then the peoples of the world wouldn’t have to agonise over “peak” oil and other doom like concepts and just get on with life on this marvellous planet that fulfills all our wants and needs.

    Enjoy.

  62. George E. Smith says:

    Well it is only a month ago I was fishing in a middle California lake not too far from SB, and we had fossil fuels popping up allaround us in the water; lots of natural gas, and some oil too. Wouldn’t you know it, the lake is just a few miles from a sizeable oil field with literally thousands of pumps going all the time.
    They haven’t started drilling under the lake yet, but there’s black gold to be had if they do.

  63. Garacka says:

    You cannot drill for this oil because it might endanger the microbes that eat this goo.

  64. pft says:

    Jack Simmons (12:30:25) :

    Thomas Gold also gave credit to Russian scientists who have known this for many decades. (Russian scientists also say preparations for the coming ice age should be made). In his book he makes a good argument that hydrocarbons do not come from dead life. Hydrocarbons have been found in large quantities on planets which have no life on the surface, but like Earth may have life which feeds on existing hydrocarbons using chemical energy from sulfates or iron oxides. Gold was an astrophysicist and his theories were taken seriously by NASA in their search for extraterrestial life.

    The big secret is we have a lot of oil and gas left to consume. If this were known, we would have cheap, abundant energy for the world. But that is the neo-malthusians who rule us worst nightmare, so this is suppressed. Big Oil is happy to go along with the ride since it means more profits per barrel of oil. They would rather sell 80 billion barrels of oil per year at 60 dollars a barrel than 800 billion barrels at 6 dollars a barrel.

    Many of the oil wells that have been depleted have refilled (they refill slower than oil is removed allowing them to appear to be depleted) , and as Thomas Gold said, these fuels continue to upwell from the deep hot biosphere as they have for millions of years. Peak Oil is a myth on a larger scale than Alarmist warming due to CO2.

  65. Jeremy says:

    This type of statistic is well known by everyone in the biz. It does not change the fact that a huge spill all in one spot all in a short time is disastrous and may have damaging local effects lasting several decades or more. As an industry we continue to do our absolute utmost to clean up our act. There is really no excuse for terrible accidents like the Valdez except to admit that we simply must do better.

  66. Sandw15 says:

    “Tim J (12:14:50) :
    Just a thought to throw in the discussion:
    There is the theory that oil and gas is abiotic (i.e. produced naturally beneath the earth’s crust).”

    My compliments to you guys that have already responded with the geochemical evidence for the organic genesis of oil. I can only add the observations made by my petroleum geology prof back in the early 70’s.
    The Soviet Union, being predisposed to state dictated science, proclaimed that petroleum was formed inorganically. This led Russia to years of abject failure in its attempts to find oil reserves. They kept looking for oil around volcanoes and other igneous features. The rest of the world was content to follow an approach that yielded immediate results – oil is produced organically. Or maybe it was more simple-minded…let’s look in places that are like the places where oil has already been found. The bottom line is that in the early 90’s Russia was bringing in American oil companies to help them find oil and gas.
    And then there was the other prof who told the story of the Soviet fondness for Lamarckism. (the inheritance of acquired characteristics) Apparently this was very attractive for those with a communist view of the world. His point was that this approach was responsible for the yearly crop failures that the USSR became famous for back in the day. Meanwhile, “politically incorrect” people at places like Texas A&M were developing crops which produced surpluses we could sell to the starving Russians. They were using that other theory…natural selection.
    Anyway, back to the point, don’t put your money on inorganic sourced oil…it’s been done.
    And the other point: Politically dictated science is bad. It doesn’t bother me that you are intrigued by an abiotic source for hydrocarbons. It doesn’t bother me that somebody once thought that if you cut off a rat’s tail it would have short tailed babies. I’ll throw this in for the heck of it…it doesn’t bother me that my father-in-law believes he invented a perpetual motion machine but can’t quite remember how it works. It will bother me if the government dictates that I have to believe these things.

  67. Howard says:

    I’m surprised Steve Sadlov has not chimed in. Any Geology student from USSB will tell you that the native Chumash used tar as caulking for their ocean-going boats they navigated 20-some miles to Santa Cruz Island. Sir Francis Drake also used the tar for caulk.

    25 tons per day is about 50K bbls per year. Coal Oil Point stinks and the beaches are sticky.

  68. doug says:

    pft-

    Continued migration of hydrocarbons does nothing to prove abiotic oil.

  69. Garacka says:

    Sandw15 (17:25:05) :

    I briefly reviewed some information a few months back on the abiotic oil theory and it was quite intriguing. Coal is certainly fossil plant sourced, but much oil comes from depths below which any organic material from the surface could descend (as I recall). It, presumably arises from carbon dissolved in the mantle rising and then forming at certain key depth and pressure environments and because it is light tends to want to rise. It will be trapped below certain geologic formations or continue to rise all the way to the surface in seeps.

    I believe an employee of an oil company in the 1940′s developed the theory. That it didn’t go anywhere is not surprising since an oil company would have no interest in planting the idea in its customers minds that oil gets replenished at some level (albeit lower than the extraction rate).

    I wonder if there has been any more research on this, but given that it would be anathema to the AGW funders, I don’t imagine any public funds would be provided for it.

  70. MattN says:

    I worked in Camarillo, CA for a few months in ’07. The wife and step-kid came out to visit over Easter and we went whale watching. We were very surprised to see so much oil in the water. It washes up on shore and there’s tar in a bunch of places. One of my shoes is still stained from it.

    Lots of oil in the water out there. All 100% natural seepage…

  71. deadwood says:

    The seeps off Santa Barbara cannot be tapped. Doing so would endanger the bacteria that feed of the leaking petroleum.

  72. deadwood says:

    The consensus on a biological origin for petroleum hold primarily due to the presence of most reservoirs in sedimentary rock and the lack of solid evidence in an alternative explanation.

    I recall learning as a graduate student of a granite hosted oil reservoir in California, but this was explained as oil migrating from its source to a suitable host – a process that is apparent in areas adjacent to oil shales (thought to the source) where the reservoir is within more porous sandstones and carbonates.

  73. Tim J says:

    Following on from previous post (12:14:50) about abiotic hydrocarbon:
    I got interested in this some years ago as I could not imagine that the quantities of oil and gas that we experience could have come solely from degraded bio-mass. It just did not gel with me and it seems many others from my bit of research.
    I was therefore very interested in the Cassini mission to Titan where hydrocarbons were discovered in great abundance in many forms. It seems to me that this should be a mayor key to our understanding of the nature of hydrocarbons. So I am a little surprised I have not seen much news or comment on the results and wondering if anybody can point me to a good source.
    Thanks….

  74. E.M.Smith says:

    And for some bizzare reason we are prohibited from drilling new wells (there are old wells there already) and sucking the oil out rather than letting it leak out…

    And yes, drilling wells stops or slows dramatically the seepage.

    Just Insane.

    Oil is a natural substance and bacteria eat it; obliquely commented upon when they say “degraded” … Look, its BUG FOOD, not evil at all…

    Sheesh. Yes, messy on your hands. Yes, you don’t want to spill a billion gallons of it on a beach. But it’s natural and not evil. ( You would not want a billion gallons of salt on a beach either…)

    An interesting factoid: After the Exxon Valdez spill, some beaches were left “uncleaned”. THEY recovered the best since the natural bacteria on the beaches ate the oil. What beaches did worst? Those “steam cleaned” by all the concerned “helpers”. Why? Steam cleaning killed the bugs…

    Get a clue, folks, oil has been around for millions of years and is a normal and natural part of the ecology. Messy, yes. Evil, no.

  75. Richard Sharpe says:

    E.M. Smith said:

    Get a clue, folks, oil has been around for millions of years and is a normal and natural part of the ecology. Messy, yes. Evil, no.

    Yes, but think of all the children who were killed by the oil spills.

  76. bill says:

    Its not seeping only from the site talked about here. It seeps all around the continental shelf, west coast, gulf coast etc. Oil from any oil drilling is a spoonful compared to this natural seepage.

    Yes, the oil has been here a long long time.

    I worked on some rigs on the California coast just above Malibu. I doubt if the Hollywood brats even know its there. When you drive along the coast highway and look to those hills on the East side of the highway , just over the top of them are THOUSANDS of oil wells. The field I was in had over 1100 on our lease. They have been there since the 1920-30′s.

    To bad that now that Calif. is going broke they wont allow the coast to be drilled. There are thousands of jobs and billions of dollars out there. With today tech, very little oil would be lost…and even it is is. So what. Pick it up and that left will be naturally eaten by various bacteria. Messy for a bit, but it can be cleaned up, just as it always has been.

    Looks like Calif. had its teat in a wringer for money, maybe they would break loose and allow it.

    Then we can all watch in wonderment as Waxmans head explodes. Which would be a good thing.

  77. Roger Sowell says:

    Re drilling offshore California to reduce oil field pressures and oil seepage, it is amazing what a state-wide fiscal crisis can do. Oil production means money for the State. This is from Friday, May 15, 2009 Sierra Sun newspaper (link below):

    “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing legislation that he believes would raise $1.8 billion for cash-strapped California by allowing the first new oil drilling project off the state’s coast in 40 years. . .

    The governor’s proposal would revive a project for the Santa Barbara coast that was rejected by the State Lands Commission in January.

    The project, which was unveiled last year [2008], enjoyed unprecedented support from many anti-oil drilling environmental organizations [including Surfriders]. Several key groups in Santa Barbara agreed to lobby for the project after reaching an agreement with the oil company, Houston-based Plains Exploration & Production. Under the deal, the company would provide money for the state and a commitment to shut down its operations countywide by 2022.

    Sheehy estimates the state would immediately receive $100 million and a combined $1.8 billion over the time span of the project.”

    (Sheehy is the Governor’s appointee to the State Lands Commission)

    I was at the State Lands Commission hearing in Santa Barbara in January, and heard one enviro group after another speak in favor of oil drilling. This was surreal. Some made the argument that drilling would reduce the seepage.

    It was voted down 2-1, with the chair, Lt. Gov Garamendi stating that no oil would be drilled offshore in state waters, EVER, no matter how much money would be brought into the state treasury. (my paraphrase)

    $1.9 billion over 12 years is not much, in a state where the annual budget deficit runs $20 to $40 billion.

    http://www.sierrasun.com/article/20090515/NEWS/905159995/1066&ParentProfile=1051

  78. Jim Cole says:

    Beat to the punch by Howard (18:20:32) :

    As a geology student at UCSB in the late 60′s, we and everyone else was fully aware of natural seeps off Isla Vista/Coal Tar Point/Santa Barbara.

    And yes, Sir Francis Drake brought his ships into Goleta Bay to seal leaks with the abundant asphalt available from natural tar seeps.

    If the name hadn’t already been taken, the UCSB Gauchos would have rightly been called the “Tar Heels”.

    Mineral oil was too fancy-schmantsy. We used regular (leaded!!) gasoline to remove the tar.

    The oil platform leak that became the enviro-mental poster child of Santa Barbara in the late 60′s was trivial in the real world. Most of us beachcombers said “Who could ever tell?”

  79. SteveSadlov says:

    Tar removal becomes a type of expertise when one lives in the SB area.

  80. doug says:

    Tim J (20:25:04) :

    Following on from previous post (12:14:50) about abiotic hydrocarbon:
    I got interested in this some years ago as I could not imagine that the quantities of oil and gas that we experience could have come solely from degraded bio-mass. It just did not gel with me and it seems many others from my bit of research.

    Tim—Expand your imagination. Not only is most of it biotic, when we produce oil we are only recovering a few percent of what was deposited. Most of the world is covered with sedimentary rock. It all contains a trace of organic matter. It adds up.

    It is disturbing how many people here with no in depth knowledge of oil and gas feel qualified to post on the subject. I hope we do better with climate science.

  81. doug says:

    deadwood (20:23:13) :

    “The consensus on a biological origin for petroleum hold primarily due to the presence of most reservoirs in sedimentary rock and the lack of solid evidence in an alternative explanation. ”

    >>>that and the entire science of petroleum geochemistry>>>

    I recall learning as a graduate student of a granite hosted oil reservoir in California, but this was explained as oil migrating from its source to a suitable host –

    >>>perhaps the largest field in the world in which oil is produced from granite is Bach Ho, offshore Viet Nam. I have a very nice Russian seismic line (actually recorded by a French contractor) across it showing Miocene sediments with organic rich shales of lacustrine origin feeding directly to the granitic horst block.>>>

  82. Jerry says:

    I am a retired chemist who worked for the U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency for 35 years. I worked out of the San Franscisco office (region 9). During the early 1970s there was a bad oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel. There was a blow-out at platform alpha. The underground/underwater oil reservoir was under pressure sufficient to drive the oil to the surface. The well tubeing/caseing became seperated and a large quantity of oil was lost to the surrounding water before the well was repaired. After that incident drilling in the channel was no longer allowed.

    My duties included charicterizing the oil from the spill and differentiating it from the natural seep at Coal Oil Point. This was easly accomplished with the gas chromatography technology of 35 years ago. We also provided analytical support to the U.S. Coast Guard identifying the vessels from which illegal spills and discharges originated.

    To collect the oil from Coal Oil Point I gathered dried hard “sand dollars” from the beach, soft sticky globs from the beach, and actually swam into the surf and beyond to collect more pristine oil samples.

    The physical properties of the oil were somewhat as described in the article. However, weathering included evaporation, oxidation, microbal degradation along with incorporation of sand into the oil globs. Much of the oil washed onto the beach and back into the surf and carried away with the tide. The sand particles contributed to the oil sinking. I question the quantities stated in the article as they seem unreasonably high. Platform Alpha was leaking oil on the same magnitude as the article attributes to the seep. The oil spill was a major event that made national headlines for weeks until it was cleaned up. The oil slick extended for miles and fouled the beaches of Santa Barbara.

    The oil from the underground reservoir at Coal Oil Point was part of the same system as the the platforms in the channel. This was determined by their similar nickel/vanadium ratioes. The local people could not understand that by pumping down the reservoir they would eleminate much of the seepage at Coal Oil Point and in effect clean up the channel. Instead they put an end to further drilling. I find the article interesting, however, it offers little in the way of new information.

  83. crosspatch says:

    !. There isn’t much difference between a hydrocarbon and a carbohydrate, either can be used as a nutrient if a bug is chemically built to oxidize it.

    “just over the top of them are THOUSANDS of oil wells. The field I was in had over 1100 on our lease. They have been there since the 1920-30’s.”

    I was really surprised the first time I drove down Sepulveda Blvd. in Los Angeles. Even more surprised when I went to Bolsa Chica beach for the first time … about 20 years ago. Nothing but oil wells everywhere. People don’t think of oil when they think of California.

  84. Poptech says:

    Further reading on the Abiotic Theory for anyone interested…

    Fuel’s Paradise (Wired)
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.07/gold_pr.html

    Gas and oil may exist in miles-deep wells (The Times, UK)
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article482178.ece

    Petroleum From Decay? Maybe Not, Study Says (The New York Times)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/14/science/14meth.html?n=Top/News/Science/Topics/Space

    The Deep Hot Biosphere : The Myth of Fossil Fuels (Thomas Gold, 1999)

  85. Dave Middleton says:

    Abiotic Natural Gas…We know that apparently abiotic methane exists in large quantities in outer space. Oceans of abiotic methane might even exist on Titan. There is very little evidence of abiotic natural gas on Earth. The Soviets/Russians have been looking for it for a very long time.

    Abiotic Oil…I won’t say it’s impossible…But there is a lot more scientific evidence to back up An Inconvenient Truth than there is of abiotic oil.

  86. Roger Carr says:

    Tim J (20:25:04) wrote: “I was therefore very interested in the Cassini mission to Titan where hydrocarbons were discovered in great abundance in many forms.”

    At the very least that must inspire some thinking, Tim.

    ________________

    Poptech (00:29:25) wrote: “Further reading on the Abiotic Theory for anyone interested…”

    Thank you!

  87. Skeptic Tank says:

    Mike Bryant (08:25:29) :

    ” Billy Mays could probably handle the problem with SuperPutty…”

    … and Vince could wipe up any spills with his Sham-Wow!

  88. rbateman says:

    Basil (08:25:12) :
    Actually, I believe there is a bacteria that feeds off of crude that leaks out.
    But why feed the bacteria when you can outfit some deep-sea dredges and fill up supertankers off the coast? Joe Dredger to the rescue.

  89. Merle Savage says:

    Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) Workers – Exxon’s Collateral Damage

    Exxon Authorize the Toxic Chemicals for Spraying Alaska’s Oily Beaches which has caused many deaths and health complications, without any compensation from Exxon. Survivors of the cleanup are struggling as Exxon’s collateral damage.

    Little attention was given to EVOS workers who blasted Alaska’s oily beaches, with hot seawater from high pressure hoses. They were engulfed in toxic fumes containing aerosolized crude oil—benzene and other toxic chemicals. View photos at: http://www.silenceinthesound.com/gallery.shtml
    Below is a video to view which explains the toxic spraying.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5632208859935499100

  90. Anaconda says:

    I was the first commenter to raise the Abiotic Oil angle on this post, but did it in oblique way because I didn’t want to be accused of hijacking the post (its main point being that oil exploration and production are not a burden on the environment).

    But others have now followed up.

    I have spent the over the last year intensely and thoroughly investigating Abiotic Oil theory.

    It proves out at every level — from micoscopic examination to geologic formations — Brasil’s substalt oil is a perfect illustration of Abiotic Oil: The oil is found as deep as 25,000 feet below the sea bottom under two kilometers of salt at as high a temperature as 450 degrees Fahreneit, 170 miles off shore, under tremendous pressure in waters as deep as 7,000 feet.

    Oil has been found as deep as 30,000 feet deep.

    (Oil companies now have drilling ships that can drill in as deep as 12,000 feet of water.)

    All of the above violates the so-called Oil Window corollary of “fossil” theory.

    With all due respect to doug, he is wrong.

    Oil is abiotic.

    This is not the place to fully debate the merits. I have, however, exhaustively debated the merits of Abiotic Oil theory with the most determined “debunkers”, oil geologists and other wise, all comers have failed to falsify Abiotic Oil theory and in the process “fossil” theory has been falsified numerous different ways.

    So-called “fossil” theory is a hypothesis that was proposed in 1757 over 250 years ago before almost anything was known about deep geo-chemistry.

    The Earth’s deep crust is a chemically active place, indeed, and hydrogen and carbon have a strong chemical affinity for each other.

    Oil geologists admit abiotic hydrocarbon formation takes place, but while claiming it only happens in small quanities, fail to identify what limits would restrict hydrocarbon formation from being abundant given the huge amount of necessary chemical elements available deep in the crust.

    Abiotic origins of hydrocarbons was first proposed by Humbolt and others shortly after 1800 and has been followed up ever since.

    Regrettably, certain “strong personalities” doggedly retained the primitive “fossil” hypothesis, and Group-think took over and a “consensus” emerged.

    Obviously, certain interests are happy to maintain this prespective in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary (sorry Doug and others).

    One example: heavy rare Earth metals are found in great abundance in oil there is no explanation how or why heavy rare Earth metals like valandium and others would be concentrated in a supposedly surface derived residue (organic detritus sinking to the bottom of a lake or shallow warm sea).

    All arguments and evidence of an organic detritus origin for oil fail on close inspection. Organic detritus is a pollutant of the oil, which is a very effective solvent and collects organic impurities as it rises toward the surface. Sedimentary basins are the best oil TRAPPING structures. The largest oil fields are sedimentary basins above deep tectonic faults leading from chemically active deep-crust geologic profiles.

    A oil well (field) in Northern Iraq produces 400,000 barrels of oil a day, it has been producing since 1934 and shows no signs of letting up. Ghawar, the largest oil field in the world (Saudi Abrabia) produces over 5 million barrels a day, it has been producing since 1951.

    The scientific evidence is clear and unambiguous — Oil is abiotic.

    That some cling to “fossil” theory is testiment of socio-psychological inertia in the field sciences.

    Where have we seen that before — or are seeing now?

  91. Caleb says:

    I have read that the Indian sub-continent broke off Antarctica and drifted north, achieving a high rate of speed, something like 30 cm per year, before slamming into Asia and raising the Himalayas.

    Question: What happened to the Indian continental-shelf gas, oil and coal fields when they crashed into the Asian continental-shelf gas, oil and coal fields?

    Was there a terrific explosion, as occurs in Hollywood movies?

    Or is a lot of that oil, gas and coal buried deep under the Himalayas?

    Both?

    Was there a spike in CO2 levels when this continental collision occurred?

    The world is so full of a number of things,
    I’m sure we should all be as happy as Kings.
    Robert Louis Stevenson

  92. doug says:

    Anaconda tells us:

    “Oil has been found as deep as 30,000 feet deep.

    “(Oil companies now have drilling ships that can drill in as deep as 12,000 feet of water.)

    All of the above violates the so-called Oil Window corollary of “fossil” theory.

    With all due respect to doug, he is wrong.

    Oil is abiotic.”

    Actually, Doug is right

    Thermal gradients vary all over the globe.

    Take a look at the Paris Basin. Wildcat success rate at depths shallower than the “thermal oil window” is about 1 in 20. In the oil window 1 in 5, below the oil window 1 in 40. How does all that hydrocarbon coming up from the depths bypass all those deep structures?

    Read with an open mind:
    Petroleum Geochemistry and Basin Evaluation (Aapg Memoir) (Hardcover)
    by Gerard Demaison (Editor)

    The oil companies, with all their financial ability, have hired so pretty sharp scientists, and given them the resources to do a vast body of research..

  93. Sandw15 says:

    Anaconda (13:21:02)
    “That some cling to “fossil” theory is testiment of socio-psychological inertia in the field sciences.”

    Exploration based on abiotic oil theories has been tried. It failed.

    But I can see that you, Anaconda, are not deterred by the high probability of economic disaster. Brilliant!
    I’d like to introduce you to Sandw15’s Abiotic Oil Limited Partnership. We’ll get ourselves out and buy up a bunch of leases cheap since “Big Oil” won’t be competing with us. Then we’ll drill ourselves a bunch of oil wells and get rich. Yahoo!! How about we start in Georgia? The last I heard they never found a drop of oil there, but I’m a little out of date on that. Won’t everybody be impressed when we find all that abiotic oil there.

    I’ll set up the exploration program and manage operations and all you have to do is kick in…oh let’s see…25, well no, 35 million dollars ought to be enough to get started.
    We’ll need more when operations get going good, but what the heck, it’s only money. I’m looking forward to getting the check. Be sure to make it out to Sandw15’s Abiotic Oil Limited Partnership or SAOLP.

  94. Anaconda says:

    @Sandw15:

    Sandw15 states: “Exploration based on abiotic oil theories has been tried. It failed.”

    You totally ignore the Brazil example. Your avoidance of that example and the long producing oil wells in Iraq and Saudia Arabia is telling.

    Your statement is completely false. There is a reason Russia is the # 2 producer in the world. Yes, Russia pioneered deep drilling.

    Your castigation with silly detrogatory hypothestical is again telling.

    You fail to address any of the facts or examples given.

  95. Anaconda says:

    @sandw15:

    Readers, please analyze sandw15′s comment.

    There is one declaratory assertion, ““Exploration based on abiotic oil theories has been tried. It failed.” There is no reason or evidence offered, period.

    (That is actually pretty typical.) It is what one might call “content free”.

    What is interesting is that he actually deludes himself into thinking that kind of comment is persuasive.

    @ Doug:

    Again, readers, note that Doug doesn’t meet or discuss one iota of the evidence I raised. Doug could have, but he didn’t respond to a single reason or piece of evidence I rasied.

    Regarding the Brazil oil, the “head guy” has boasted that they “have found oil every time” below the salt.

    A lot better than one out of forty.

    Oil wells below 20,000 feet deep used to be rare — average less than 8,000 feet deep – why drill deeper when it’s more expensive.

    But now oil wells deeper than 20,000 feet are quite common.

    Tahiti is an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico that just started producing, it is also below the salt barrier (they used to call it the “salt abyss” in the oil industry — not anymore) and the deepest wells are 22,600 feet.

    Also, oil and vocanic activity are often associated with each other, in fact there is pillow lava (underwater lava) that has been analyzed and contains bitumens, hydrocarbon that is solid. The association of hydrocarbons and volcanic activity is strong (much to the dismay of promoters of “fossil” theory), that is why Indonesia has a lot of oil.

    Doug is a ~snip~ for the oil industry or oil speculators.

    Don’t take my word for it. Study the documents and the scientific papers.

    Oil is abiotic and Doug and Sandw15 by the “content free” character of their responses to my comment identify themselves as ~snip~ for those who want to maintain the status quo.

  96. Anaconda says:

    I’m sorry, I left out responding to one of the two assertions Doug made (the other one was the “success” rate): “Thermal gradients vary all over the globe.”

    Yes, thermal gradients vary (how hot it is at various depths in different regions of the world), but oil is being found at depth all around the world where the temperature is hotter than the 275 degrees Fahrenheit that the “Oil Window” corollary states oil either never forms (too hot) or breaks up into methane gas (once formed). Notice Doug never responded to the specific temperature I cited (450 degrees F). This “hot” oil is the deepest oil and under the most pressure (can crush hardened steel).

    Again, don’t take my word for it.

    And as far as Doug’s memoir, what is the date of publication and does it serve to propagate the “standard line” of the oil industry?

    Talk to retired oil geologists and they will tell you oil geologists never expected to find oil below the “salt abyss” — they thought it was impossible (for all the reasons I cited) — but they have.

    When scientists are “surprised” or find something “unexpected” it usually is because their “theory” is incorrect about the processes that cause the result.

    The study of the Earth’s climate is not the only field of study where assumptions were made that on closer and more acute observation & measurement don’t pan out.

  97. doug says:

    I’ll continue my “content free” discussion. Hard to teach petroleum geology in a paragraph or two.

    The deep stuff in Brazil produces because inspite of being deep, the vitrinite reflectance is below 2.2, tmax below 500C, and is within the oil window.

    The wells in Saudi continue to produce because the reserves are huge, and large oil collumn has pushed oil into all sorts of microporosity. My wife spent years working on it for a large research group.

    I can show you long lived oil wells everywhere…they are continuously recharged fron their organic source.

    The pillow basalts in Indonesia have nothing to do with the oil. I’m no (snip) for the oil companies, I’m an independant consultant. I wrote “The Petroleum Geology and Future Exploration Potential of Indonesia” in which I showed how to locate organic source rocks in Indonesian lacustrian basins using seismic amplitudes. Over twenty oil companies bought the report, some payed $85,000 for my ideas. Maybe the ideas had some value. They are based upon degrees in Biology, Geology and Geophysics, as well as thirty years of work. Upon what, may I ask dear Anaconda, do you base your ideas? A book or two? Something you saw on the internet?

    You ask me to study the “the documents and scientific papers” Please list a few.

  98. Sandw15 says:

    Anaconda
    “Your castigation with silly detrogatory hypothestical is again telling.”

    My hypothestical is detrogatory? That’s alarming. Will antibiotics help?

    I thought for sure that you would want to get in on the ground floor of the coming abiotic oil boom. Is it the name? SAOLP really doesn’t have much of a ring to it. Well, it’s your money…what if we call it Anaconda Petroleum Exploration? The headlines would read, “A.P.E. Discovers Abiotic Oil in Georgia.”

    Yep, we better stick with Georgia. I don’t think you can afford to drill subsalt wells in offshore Brazil. And besides, you wouldn’t believe the engineering problems involved with drilling through salt.

    “heavy rare Earth metals like valandium”

    Ah yes, valandium. I think that all scientists agree that valandium is the rarest Earth Metal of them all and as such is very valuable. I just happen to have a valandium mine in west Texas, and I can say, with confidence, that it has valandium deposits as large as any known to exist on Earth. I’ve got this cash flow problem and I’d be willing to sell it to you cheap if you’re interested.

  99. Sandw15 says:

    On a slightly more serious note, Anaconda. I’m really kind of curious about where you get your info about the Brazil subsalt wells. It doesn’t seem that Petrobras agrees with you on the source of the oil.

    “Source rocks for the petroleum system are Lower Cretaceous lacustrine shales of the sub-salt Guaratiba Formation.”

    See
    http://thisbluemarble.com/showthread.php?p=93193
    for the rest

  100. Roger Carr says:

    Anaconda (13:21:02) noted: “I was the first commenter to raise the Abiotic Oil angle on this post…”

    Meant to include you in my “thank you” post ( Roger Carr (06:29:46)), Anaconda, as your original (Anaconda (08:39:16)) post certainly snatched my attention, as “abiotic oil” theory has a very nice ring to it, and, as you note: Where have we seen that before — or are seeing now?

  101. CodeTech says:

    Actually, I like the Abiotic Oil theory.

    I don’t consider it realistic, though. It would be nice to think that oil is being constantly created and all we need to do is find good ways to tap into the creation zones, but, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

    I’m definitely not arguing for or against it, because at the moment all the proponents appear somewhat flakey. I’m fairly certain that there is no compelling or logical reason to abandon our current theories (which work in practise) to pursue the idea, however if compelling or logical reasons come to light then I’d be all ears.

    It’s one of those things that I don’t consider likely, but for various reasons I’d like to, and if it turned out to be real I would not be surprised.

  102. Anaconda says:

    @ Doug:

    Doug states: “The deep stuff in Brazil produces because inspite of being deep, the vitrinite reflectance is below 2.2, tmax below 500C, and is within the oil window.”

    This is a meaningless statement meant to look authoritive, but in all my discussions and research have never seen that justification offered for the temperature of the oil.

    Doug, is there any written authority you can cite for that proposition?

    Commonly, it is assumed that the salt layer is put down by evaporation (two miles below the sea bottom?), but more likely it is a product of supercritical water, where seawater under pressure and temperature drops its salt out of solution, then the salt acts as a barrier and traps the oil as it rises from below the salt barrier. There is no so-called “source rock” there.

    Shale is impermeable, it acts as a trapping structure, not a source.

    Doug states: “I can show you long lived oil wells everywhere…they are continuously recharged fron their organic source.”

    Now, Doug is attempting to suggest that supposed organic detritus regenerates? That is novel. But is a fiat statement.

    Actually, Abiotic Oil has been generated in the laboratory by known chemical processes(chiefly metal – acid reactions), the supposed chemical pathway for “fossil” theory has never been duplicated in a laboratory.

    Doug states: “I’m an independant consultant. I wrote ‘The Petroleum Geology and Future Exploration Potential of Indonesia’ …”

    Then obviously you have a strong financial incentive to maintain that oil is derived from organic detritus. Such widespread understanding would presumably render your knowledge less valuble.

    Your “explanation” for pillow lava containing solid bitumen is actually no explanation at all, it’s an avoidance.

    “No one doubts that inorganic hydrocarbons may occur in association with hydrothermal systems.” — Michael D. Lewan, geologist, 2005

    “I don’t think anybody has ever doubted that there is an inorganic source of hydrocarbons.” — Michael D. Lewan, geologist, 2002

    Michael D. Lewan is a well respected geo-physicist, let me be clear, Lewan would go on to state the amounts of ‘inorganic’ hydrocarbons is limited to small amounts, but neither he nor anybody else has identified what constraints would limit Abiotic Oil formation in the Earth’s deep crust to the small quanity he would postulate is produced.

    As for papers:

    http://www.gasresources.net/DisposalBioClaims.htm

    http://www.searchanddiscovery.net/documents/abstracts/2005research_calgary/abstracts/extended/keith/keith.htm

    These are just two papers. There are more.

    @Sandw15:

    Sandw15 states: “I’m really kind of curious about where you get your info about the Brazil subsalt wells. It doesn’t seem that Petrobras agrees with you on the source of the oil.”

    Publically assessable records. Do you dispute the physical conditions and circumstances the oil is found in?

    I understand that is what Petrobas claims, but it offers hardly any evidence that in those conditions and circumstances and at those depths in the stratographic profile a shallow sea ever existed, 25,000 feet on average below the current sea level a 175 miles out to sea in the Atlantic ocean. The evidence is actually that ocean levels were higher millions of years ago, not less, that’s why scientists find aquatic fossils ON the North American continent.

    This completely contradicts the idea that world ocean levels ever were 25,000 feet lower than today.

    And, all kidding aside — what about it, seriously — how do you explain rare Earth metals’ abundance in oil that far exceeds any concentrations in the surrounding rock?

    Your sarcastic humor is simply a distraction for not having an answer.

  103. michel says:

    The story is interesting in itself – that there is seepage. But tying it to oil tanker disasters is really poor.

    AGW could be false. The instrumental record could be all wrong. Renewables could be a mirage. None of that is a reason for condoning or minimizing the effects of pollution. And oil spills, in their effects on marine wildlife, are one of the worst kinds of pollution.

    If you get skepticism about AGW tangled up with arguing for a license to pollute, you will do skepticism a grave disservice. You will in fact be giving a free target to those who attack the person rather than the argument. The surface stations project’s credibility will suffer.

    Should you have carried the story? Maybe. But you should have pointed out that it is wrong to compare a huge load of oil from a tanker over a period of days or weeks, with the slow seepage from the sea bottom over millennia, or to suggest that because the total amounts of the latter are larger than the total amount of the first, in some way their effects are comparable. They are not.

    Consider comparing decelerations. I decelerate from 80 to zero mph in two seconds as a result of a collision. Someone publishes an article saying that a plane slows down from 500mph to zero, or 6 times the amount, over a period of a half hour. The implication of the article is that we should not worry about collisions. Silly, very silly, and actually, dishonest.

  104. Sandy says:

    “If you get skepticism about AGW tangled up with arguing for a license to pollute, you will do skepticism a grave disservice. ”

    Huh??
    Who suggested that. What this is saying clearly is don’t think all the oil you may see on beaches is from Nasty-Nasty Man, Nature, too, pollutes.
    The other message is that Nature can clean it up too, which it takes a twisted mind to see as a license to pollute. But the crypto-Marxist anti-capitalism of Alarmism constitutes a twisted mind I suppose.

  105. Anaconda says:

    The scientific evidence is that hydrocarbons (oil) has been a constituent of the Earth’s crust for a very long time.

    “It’s at least plausible that the 3.2 billion year old oil we found did in fact have an abiotic origin.” — Roger Buick, astrobiologist/geoscientist, July 2008

    See the abstract write up below of the 3.2 billion year old oil Roger Buick found:

    http://aapgbull.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/82/1/50

    It would seem that oil has been a constituent of the Earth’s crust for BILLIONS of years. This strongly suggests ancient bacteria evolved to eat the oil previously existent, not the other way around.

    This explains why the oil eating bacteria found off the Santa Barbara, California coast (and all over the world) do such a terrific job of cleaning up the oil from the environment — they have had a lot of practice.

  106. D. Patterson says:

    Re: Anaconda (00:42:31) et al:

    Astronomy and space exploration have demonstrated the existence of complex hydrocarbon molecules within interstellar nebulae and the Solar System’s own planetary/sub-planetary bodies, Titam being one such example. Consequently, abiotic sources of hydrocarbons are not controversial. So, why should it be so controversial to expect Petroleum systems to have abiotic origins on the Earth?

    The Earth’s petroleum systems are well known to have indisputable biotic origins, and we know this by a variety of means up to and including the molecular genetic fragments from the biological organisms which compose the petroleum. If other worlds have massive quantities of abiotic hydrocarbons, why doesn’t the Earth have them in its geological petroleum systems?

    The Earth does not have the same massive quantities of abiotic hydrocarbons in its petroleum systems as other worlds in the Solar System because the Earth has experienced profound chemical transformations of its original abiotic hydrocarbons which the environments of other known worlds have not experienced.

    The Earth’s original atmosphere was a couple hundred times more massive than our present atmosphere. This primeval atmosphere also had a profoundly different composition. In addition to dihydrogen monoxide (water vapor) there was also some amounts of methane, ammonia, and other gases from which more complex hydrocarbon compounds would eventually be formed.

    As the Earth cooled from its intitial formation and the Late Heavy Bombardment events, this early atmosphere underwent dramatic changes in mixtures and chemical compositions. Likewise, the Earth’s lithospere underwent dramtaic changes in chemistry and differentiation of densities. As the early Sun brightened, some of the Noble gases, methane, and other gases were lost from Earth’s earlt and more massive atmosphere, and were pushed to the planetary bodies of the outer Solar System. Some small portions of the hydrocarbons found on Titan today likely came from the Earth’s origial atmosphere. So, what became of the early methane, ammonia, and other abiotic hydrocarbons in the Earth’s original atmosphere? Answer: The Earth ate them.

    Am I serious and speaking literally, or am I speaking figuratively. Some of both, actually.

    During the early stages of the Earth’s formation, the Earth’s core, mantle, and crust were differentiated by density and chemistry. This tended to expel the more volitile matter into the Earth’s original atmosphere and proto-crust, leaving little opportunity for complex hydrocarbon chains to remain present and intact in the mantle as more than trace amounts. Further geological activity in the crust also tended to destroy more complex hydrocarbon molecules or expel them into the Earth’s early atmosphere. Consequently, the Earth’s original supply of hydrocarbons which remained undestroyed during the early formaiton of the Earth tended to be re-concentrated within the Earth’s atmosphere and the Earth’s crust to a much lesser extent. What little hydrocarbons remained in the crust’s igenous geology were relatively insignificant in concentration. The hydrocarbons overwhelmingly re-concentrated the Earth’s atmosphere were an altogether different matter.

    Anaerobic life got a very early start, even while the Earth was still in the process of cooling down and and making drastic changes in the chemistries of its rocks, minerals and proto-crust. In addition to the precipitation of the hydrosphere from the atmosphere, Life or the biosphere is responsible for consuming and chemically transforming the atmosphere and reducing its mass from a couple of hundred atmospheres to the present one atmosphere.

    Geochemical and biochemical processes were highly efficient in removing Earth’s original supplies of hydrocarbons from the atmosphere and integrating those hydrocarbons into the biosphere and sedimentary rocks of the crust. In other words, the Earth’s original abiotic hydrocarbons were almost universally incorporated and highly concentrated into the Earth’s biological organisms and biosphere, before large quantities of this organic matter became recycled through the biosphere and sequestered into the Earth’s crust as sedimentary and metamophic rock formations.

    This is the reason why abiotic oil has not been found to constitute a significant pool of petroleum and remains an implausibe source for the future. Today’s biotic pools of petroleum are composed from the Earth’s original supplies of abiotic hydrocarbons. Life has had an uncanny ability to seek out and consume or eat hydrocarbons and abiotic oil over the past 4 billion years, leaving too little of the abiotic hydrocarbons free to produce pools of abiotic petroleum in the Earth’s mantle or crust.

  107. doug says:

    The ever curious anaconda asks
    “And, all kidding aside — what about it, seriously — how do you explain rare Earth metals’ abundance in oil that far exceeds any concentrations in the surrounding rock?”

    Rare earths are very common in petroleum. They are taken out of solution when they contact the hydrocabon and are reduced. I’m surprised you haven’t become familiar with the process in your research.

    Google “Uranium Vanadium roll front deposits”:

    Volcanic ash and tuff are unstable under atmospheric conditions and will eventually alter to clay or mudstone. Upon alteration, uranium will be released into the groundwater. The uraniferous solutions will circulate through permeable beds until a reductant is encountered. Reductants include disseminated pyrite and organic material like plant remains or hydrocarbons, Sometimes, wood, peat, lignite, and hydrocarbons are completely replaced by black uranium oxides. Organic trash pockets in sandstone can result in the formation of rich ore bodies.

    While you are at it, Google vitrinite reflectance, oil window. If you want to debunk biotic oil you need to learn how thermal matuity is calculated.

    And Google “source rock, Brazil subsalt”. There’s some great reading on why the temperatures are so low under the salt.

    And, since you claim:
    “Shale is impermeable, it acts as a trapping structure, not a source.”

    Google “shale gas reserves” and explain how all those organic shales such as the Barnnett are producing gas, and how it could have migrated into such impermiable rocks if it came from below. The new drilling and frac technology has opened up 100′s of TCF of gas to be produced from organic shales. Funny how shales without a high biotic organic content don’t produce.

    Oh yes, I read your nice acticle by the Russians. They explain the biomarkers by the abiotic oil acting as a solvent as it passes through the source rock. I’m still puzzeled though: why does this abuiotic oil only migrate in basins with an organic source from which to become contaminated? Why are the other basins devoid of hydrocarbon?

    Anyway, thanks for the discussion. I needed to read up on the Brazillian stuff. I’m back to finding oil and reading about my climate hobby.

  108. Sandw15 says:

    Anaconda
    “I understand that is what Petrobas claims”

    “Regarding the Brazil oil, the “head guy” has boasted that they “have found oil every time” below the salt.”

    Make up your mind Anaconda. Is Petrobras credible or not?

    “but it offers hardly any evidence that in those conditions and circumstances and at those depths in the stratographic profile a shallow sea ever existed, 25,000 feet on average below the current sea level a 175 miles out to sea in the Atlantic ocean.”

    What’s your theory on how the sediments got there? If you’re hazy on how the rocks got there, how can you be so sure how the oil got there?

    “Your sarcastic humor is simply a distraction for not having an answer.”

    That’s just downright unfriendly. I’m afraid I can’t get into a partnership with somebody that has an attitude like that. On the other hand, I’ll still sell you that valandium mine and I’ll even throw in my father-in-law’s plans for a perpetual motion machine. They aren’t finished but I’m sure you can get it working in no time. You’ll need that free energy to mine the valandium. It’s heavy, ya know;) Now you might be skeptical about perpetual motion, but I guarantee this device will produce enough free energy to extract all the valandium in the continental U.S.

  109. Sandw15 says:

    Doug
    “I’ll continue my “content free” discussion. Hard to teach petroleum geology in a paragraph or two.”

    Well you tried. But, it might take weeks to cover the stratigraphy and tectonics necessary to provide the context for the things you discussed; at least for some folks.

    “It is disturbing how many people here with no in depth knowledge of oil and gas feel qualified to post on the subject. I hope we do better with climate science.”

    That’s becoming astonishingly clear and I sure hope we do. I’m gaining a new perspective on some of the climate arguments I’ve seen here.

  110. Anaconda says:

    @ D. Patterson:

    I appreciate your response. but it is riddled with assumptions that have no scientific verification, they are educated speculations at best, and at worst wild conjecture.

    The simple answer is that Science doesn’t have solid answers for the early formation of the Earth. To suggest otherwise is presumptuous.

    Face it, Science doesn’t have a strong handle on what is going on, now, in the atmosphere concering the Earth’s climate, how can you or anybody else for that matter have a strong handle on the processes of early Earth formation billions of years ago.

    D. Patterson stated: “The Earth’s petroleum systems are well known to have indisputable biotic origins, and we know this by a variety of means up to and including the molecular genetic fragments from the biological organisms which compose the petroleum.”

    Your, above, statement is not born out by close inspection of the scientific evidence available.

    Did read or review the scientific paper I linked to: Dismissal of the Claims of a Biological Connection for Natural Petroleum authored by J. F. Kenney, et al.

    It would appear that you did not. As it goes into detail why your statement, above, is wrong.

    Here is an additional scientific report on a Russian oil field, The Drilling & Development of the Oil & Gas Fields in the Dnieper-Donetsk Basin authored by V. A. Krayushkin, et al., which goes into detail on field observations & measurement, it solidly contradicts your assertions:

    http://www.gasresources.net/DDBflds2.htm

    D. Patterson states: “This is the reason why abiotic oil has not been found to constitute a significant pool of petroleum and remains an implausibe source for the future.”

    Your rational as stated, above, is speculation not based on scientific evidence. Geo-physicists know that abundant perodites (a deep crust Earth rock) have carbon and also there are abundant sources of hydrogen (not free hydrogen, of course, but bound up in various chemical molecules in rocks).

    D. Patterson states: “Life has had an uncanny ability to seek out and consume or eat hydrocarbons and abiotic oil over the past 4 billion years, leaving too little of the abiotic hydrocarbons free to produce pools of abiotic petroleum in the Earth’s mantle or crust.”

    No.

    Abiotic Oil formation is an ongoing process.

    So-called “fossil” fuel theory is an artifact of primitive hypothesis first proposed over 250 years ago in 1757.

    Modern scientific techniques to not support that hypothesis.

    The pressures and heat in the shallow sedimentary crust don’t support the “fossil” theory, it is a violation of the Law of Entropy, you can’t get high energy molecules (oil) produced from low energy molecules (organic detritus.

  111. Ric Werme says:

    Anaconda (08:39:16) :

    (If the oil has been seeping for millions of years how come it never runs out? Could it be that oil isn’t a product of squashed plants and algae?)

    I’m not a geologist, but perhaps you can answer a couple questions about abioitic oil. Your strongest case for abiotic oil seems to be from the deepest sources, but I’ll assume there’s some depth that “cokes” oil, leaving carbon and methane. Apologies if that doesn’t make sense, let’s just stick to oil.

    We have natural seeps for deep underground sampling. Volcanoes are one, though I’d imagine oil and magma don’t mix well and looking for abiotic oil around volcanoes at plate boundaries and at hot spots would be unproductive. So those might be “too deep” or at least “too hot.”

    Another source are undersea vents. The water in “black smokers” is several hundred degrees, oil ought to be able to survive that. They are a source of several metals, so oil found there would help confirm that association.

    While I haven’t googled for it, I’ve never heard of oil from vents and I’d expect it to be pretty much obvious in any samples people have gathered for analysis in the ship’s labs.

  112. Anaconda says:

    @ Ric Werne:

    Your comment is welcome.

    Ric Werne states: “…but I’ll assume there’s some depth that “cokes” oil, leaving carbon and methane.”

    It really depends on the pressure, as you note oil has been found as deep as 30,000 feet deep below the salt layer with increadible pressure, it would seem that there are cases of oil being “cracked” into natural gas (methane).

    Ric Werne states: “Volcanoes are one, though I’d imagine oil and magma don’t mix well and looking for abiotic oil around volcanoes at plate boundaries and at hot spots would be unproductive. So those might be “too deep” or at least “too hot.”

    You would be surprised how many times in the historic record hydrocarbons are associated with volcanic activity and solfetaric vents (sulfur vents). There are numerous scientific accounts of hydrocarbons and bitumens found next to volcanic by 19th century scientists. This is still true today.

    So-called “fossil” fuel proponents almost always do their best to disavow this association because if the general public ever associated oil and volcanic activity, the “fossil” fuel gig would be up.

    As I mentioned earlier pillow lava (underwater) has been found with solid bitumens (a hydrocarbon) this suggests that without oxygen and under some kind of pressure (what pressure would lava have?) hydrocarbons are fairly stable, much more than generally understood.

    Ric Werme states: “Another source are undersea vents. The water in “black smokers” is several hundred degrees, oil ought to be able to survive that. They are a source of several metals, so oil found there would help confirm that association.”

    Yes, but mostly as methane. There is significant anticipation of ultra-deepwater, ultra-deep drilling farther out toward the mid-ocean ridges in the faults that run perpendicular to the main mid-ocean ridges.

    Interestingly enough to further the vocanic connection, there are asphalt volcanoes on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in the abyssal part, 9,000 feet deep below sea level where ashpalt (a heavy hydrocarbon) flows out on to the seafloor just like lava, and these have oil and methane too. The area is known to be an old tectonically active region.

    “Volacanic gas, get an eruption of power evertime you put your foot to the floor.”

  113. Ric Werme says:

    For more reading:

    I found http://www.gasresources.net/ (click the introduction tab). One claim is that iron oxide, calcium carbonate, and water at 50 Kbar and 1500°C produced various components of petroleum “in distributions characteristic of natural petroleum.” The pressure corresponds to 100 km below the Earth’s surface, i.e. into the mantle.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the biotic petroleum would generate the same distribution due to similar energy budgets. Nothing I saw precludes biotic petroleum generation.

    It may well be that biotic petroleum is easier to prospect for and hence may dominate the successful crustal exploration. Prospecting for abiotic petroleum may depend on explaining how it transfers between mantel and crust (maintaining its makeup along the way).

    Pure speculation – plenty of people here know more than I do!

    Oh – another test. If petroleum reservoirs are being recharged by abiotic petroleum, then the biological “contaminants” should decline over time since the early draws will have flushed them out.

    Small 50 Kbar pressure vessels are not cheap – biofuels are likely more promising than making stuff out of iron ore, limestone and water.

  114. D. Patterson says:

    Anaconda (10:11:51) :

    “It would appear that you did not. As it goes into detail why your statement, above, is wrong.”

    It’s unfortunate you would presumptuously and wrongly assume I was not familiar with the works of Kenney et al. They are well known, and so are their their many self-contradictions, and mis-statements of facts. Unfortunately, your apparent unquestioning faith in their statements does not allow the intrusion of contradictory scientific evidence which you incorrectly dismiss as “speculation not based on scientific evidence.” Consequently, the discussion of this is well beyond the scope of the topic of this thread. I can only suggest that you study and question the works of Kenney et al until you understand the arguments of their critics and can identify the many mis-statements in the works of Kenney et al.

    You may want to begin your studies by asking how it is possible for the basalts originating in the mantle to be so highly deficient in hydrogen while also allegedly serving as a rich source of hydrogen for the genesis of complex hydrocarbons?

  115. Anaconda says:

    @ Doug, et al.:

    Dourg states: “Rare earths are very common in petroleum. They are taken out of solution when they contact the hydrocabon and are reduced. I’m surprised you haven’t become familiar with the process in your research.”

    What I left out and will state, now, is that these rare Earth metals are common at deeper levels in the crust. So, we come back to the “fossil” theory that oil is organic detritus, supposedly deposited in shallow bodies of water.

    So, how do rare Earth metals common in the deep crust and mantle get into a substance that supposedly is a product of surface organic detritus deposition?

    Thermal maturity is basically is basically saying the oil didn’t have long enough in the hot environment to “crack” into methane. But tell me how 25 million years is not enough time to “crack” oil into methane?

    Doug states: “And Google “source rock, Brazil subsalt”. There’s some great reading on why the temperatures are so low under the salt.”

    Read about the 500 dregree Fahrenheit oil and high pressure of Brazil oil from Bloomberg:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aoC91kszkcf4

    Doug states: “Google “shale gas reserves” and explain how all those organic shales such as the Barnnett are producing gas, and how it could have migrated into such impermiable rocks if it came from below. ”

    That is a good question.

    but you know what is interesting, before 3D seimic less than 1out of 10 bore holes produced oil, in other word more than 1 out of 10 were dry holes. So actually it was the other way around. A lot of supposedly organic detritus impregnated sedimentary basins that oil geologists thought should have oil turned out dry.

    Imagine that.

  116. doug says:

    Well, I guess if Ric is going to keep this beaten horse alive, I’ll chip in a bit more.

    Ric—indeed, there are places in which sediments have becone too hot for the hydrocarconns to survive. Nice oil and gas accumulations end up a scum of graphite.

    Anaconda—– Explain this claim to me:

    “So-called “fossil” fuel proponents almost always do their best to disavow this association because if the general public ever associated oil and volcanic activity, the “fossil” fuel gig would be up.”

    What are you implying here? That if the fools in the oil companies realized they could drill anywhere and find oil, we would have a glut of the stuff? We’ll just bring on one granitic reservoir after another? Siljan ring was another Ghawar, they just keep it a secret?

    One thing the oil companies do well is produce oil anywhere they can find it. It is produced fron granite in Viet Nam, diabase sills in Arizona, volcanic ash in Nevada, glacial till in Siberia. They will produce anything they can find and make a profit on. If there were economic deposits of abiotic oil around, they’d be after them.

    Here’s a nice article by one of the French researchers I’ve worked with. If you can refute him point by point, have at it.

    “The following paper is a critique of the writings of Thomas Gold, written by Jean Laherrere. It is a scientific dialogue and contains many technical terms and references which may be nearly unfathomable to the layperson. However, it is a very important discussion because it lays bare many of the errors in Gold’s arguments.”

    http://www.copvcia.com/free/ww3/102104_no_free_pt1.shtml

  117. D. Patterson says:

    Anaconda (14:54:37) :

    “Imagine that.”

    We no longer need to “Imagine that” after your last statements leave no further doubt.

  118. Anaconda says:

    @ Doug, et al.:

    Doug states: “Oh yes, I read your nice acticle by the Russians. They explain the biomarkers by the abiotic oil acting as a solvent as it passes through the source rock. I’m still puzzeled though: why does this abuiotic oil only migrate in basins with an organic source from which to become contaminated? Why are the other basins devoid of hydrocarbon?”

    What your comment betrays is a failure to note that oil pumped from the deepest stratographic levels DID NOT have the so-called “biomakers” in it AT ALL. If oil is a product of organic detritus how would any oil fail to have “biomarkers”?

    Doug states: “Why are the other basins devoid of hydrocarbon?”

    Simple, sedimentary basins that aren’t above deep fissures or faults don’t have a “source fault” that allows hydrocarbons to rise to the surface. Why are the vast majority of giant and supergiant oil wells above tectonically active faults?

    Sandw15 states: “Make up your mind Anaconda. Is Petrobras credible or not?”

    The “head guy” is credible for whether they found oil or not, but is not credible about the oil’s origin — he wants to promote the idea of scarcity.

    Much as the rest of the oil industry. He knows his “lines”.

  119. Caleb says:

    If you fellows aren’t all tuckered out from your highly interesting debate, I wonder if you could give me the theory of what happens to coal, gas and oil when the continents undergo the process of Subduction.

    (I guess it must be a theory, because there’s no way to get down where the lithosphere dissolves, beneath California, and get hands-on data.)

    I gather there’s something called the “accretionary prism,” where sediment is sort of “scraped off” the oceanic lithosphere as it dives beneath the continental plate, (and that is a good place to look for oil.) However I was wondering what happens to the stuff that isn’t scraped off. When it reaches 500 degrees it turns to graphite and methane?

    How about diamonds associated with volcanic pipes? Any chance they were once organic carbon?

    I don’t yet know enough to take sides in this debate, but I really appreciate hearing the various views. The stuff you argue about opens windows onto the fascinating world under our feet.

  120. D. Patterson says:

    Caleb (16:09:45) :

    “I wonder if you could give me the theory of what happens to coal, gas and oil when the continents undergo the process of Subduction.”

    The upper mantle was enriched with hydrogen compounds by the melt from subducted basaltic ocanic plates and silicate continental plates over the past eons. The oldest known rocks from the mantle 3 to 4.3 billion years old have different compositions from the basaltic rocks coming from the upper mantle in today’s volcanic eruptions. Today’s basaltic rocks indicate enrichment with percentages of hydrogen compounds not present in the earliest such basalts.

    Natural diamonds have a composition which indicates they were formed at about the time of the continental plates and earlier.

  121. Sandw15 says:

    Anaconda
    “So-called “fossil” fuel proponents almost always do their best to disavow this association because if the general public ever associated oil and volcanic activity, the “fossil” fuel gig would be up.”

    “The “head guy” is credible for whether they found oil or not, but is not credible about the oil’s origin — he wants to promote the idea of scarcity.
    Much as the rest of the oil industry. He knows his “lines”.”

    In that case, show the strength of your convictions. Nobody will stop you if you have the stones to go drill a volcano somewhere. People form limited partnerships to drill wells all the time. All you need is a lawyer to draw up the papers and a land man to get the leases. Most drillers are independent contractors – they’ll drill anywhere you want them to. They charge a per day rate. Heck drill in your back yard if you can get the permit. Oh, and you will need a whole lot of money, but there is a surprising number of gullible investors out there. Probably not here or at Andrew’s Geology Blog (they seemed like they got a little tired of you). Try that other site you mentioned…Oil is Mastery. You guys can pool your money and go find yourselves some oil. Have fun.

  122. Anaconda says:

    @ Sandw15:

    “Do these fuels result always and necessarily in one way from the decomposition of a pre-existing organic substance? Is it thus with the hydrocarbons so frequently observed in volcanic eruptions and emanations, and to which M. Ch. Sainte-Claire Deville has called attention in recent years? Finally, must one assign a parralel origin to carbonaceous matter and to hydrocarbons contained in certain meteorites, and which appear to have an origin foreign to our planet? These are questions on which the opinion of many distinguished geologists does not as yet appear to be fixed.” — Marcellin Berthelot, chemist, 1866

    Sandw15, I appreciate the humor, but the fact is that exploring for oil is expensive — ultra-deepwater, ultra-deep drilling like off the coast of Brazil or the Gulf of Mexico is very expensive, a slight profit is achieved at $70 a barrel (mostly treading water).

    I have no problem with oil companies making a profit — they have to, but claiming scarcity when none exists is bogus.

    Note that the, above, French chemist, very respected in his time, comments on all the hydrocarbons associated with volcanic activity. The point is simple enough, the general public knows how powerful vocanic activity is, and if hydrocarbons are associated with that most basic of geological processes, they will also know that no physical shortages of oil are in store in the near future (actually within the economic horizon of 30 years at least).

    The French chemist goes on:

    “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

    This is indeed the case.

    Oil is abiotic — get to know it.

  123. Sandw15 says:

    Anaconda
    “Sandw15, I appreciate the humor, but the fact is that exploring for oil is expensive”

    Hey, this time I’m not kidding. I live in Texas. Every time the price of oil goes up guys come out of the woodwork with oil prospects and their sister opens a pipe yard and their brother-in-law starts an oil-field construction company and his Uncle Joe gets himself a broken-down drilling rig. (OK so I can’t resist a little hyperbole). Ditto for Louisiana only more so. And “Big Oil” could care less.

    Your arguments don’t require you to drill offshore to prove your point. You can drill for onshore shallow abiotic oil. According to you it should be just about everywhere. Leases will be cheap if you stay away from proven production.

    Just remember Columbus.
    When he left Spain, he didn’t know where he was going. When he got here, he didn’t know where he was. When he got back he didn’t know where he had been. And he did it all on borrowed money.

    In other words, use somebody else’s money.

  124. Jeff Alberts says:

    And “Big Oil” could care less.

    Or couldn’t care less ;)

  125. Roger Carr says:

    Ric Werme (13:55:14) wrote: “Oh – another test. If petroleum reservoirs are being recharged by abiotic petroleum, then the biological “contaminants” should decline over time since the early draws will have flushed them out.”

    An interesting thought, Ric. I would like to read comment on this.

  126. Anaconda says:

    @Sandw15:

    You live in Texas, then you know about Travis volcanic mound oil wells, referred to as such because they were first discovered in Travis county, Texas in 1915. More technically referred to as ‘Serpentine Plugs’. Essentially, small extinct volcanoes that have oil in them. Please see link below:

    http://search.datapages.com/data/doi/10.1306/A1ADDA86-0DFE-11D7-8641000102C1865D

    Thirty-eight oil fields in central Texas are associated with Travis volcanic mounds. Yeah, that’s right 38 volcanic oil wells right in your neck of the woods, partner.

    The mounds are commonly called “serpentine plugs” because the mineral serpentine commonly occurs in the mounds. Yes, that mineral which is a principle mineral of the deep crust.

    The oil is found principly in the fractures in the serpentine “stem” in the middle of the mound.

    And Travis volcanic mounds can produce for a long time. “Most of the oil fields that are associated with Travis volcanic mounds were discovered in the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s, although six fields were discovered between 1913 and 1929 and three fields were discovered between 1964 and 1977. Over half of the fields are still active including some of the early discoveries.

    Spindle Top, discovered Beaumont, Texas, 1901, you know about that, right?

    A giant salt dome with large deposits of dolomite and sulfur, plus oil, of course. Dolomite is found in association with 80% of North American oil deposits, but it only forms at extremely high temperatures at depth. At Spindle Top, there was a cavity of oil entirely encased in dolomite.

    Strangely, only a little way from the dome, in supposedly organic detritus bearing sediments, not even trace residual amounts of oil was found.

    That is the case, both “oil men” ignore, much more often than not (9 times out of 10), organic detritus bearing sediments are dry holes.

    Now if organic detritus is what determines where oil is found, then how come so many times organic detritus bearing sedimentary basins are dry holes…hmm?

    @ D. Patterson:

    D. Patterson states: “It’s unfortunate you would presumptuously and wrongly assume I was not familiar with the works of Kenney et al. They are well known, and so are their their many self-contradictions, and mis-statements of facts.”

    Too bad you don’t provide a SINGLE example — not one single example — sounds like somebody talking through their hat.

    D Patterson states: “Unfortunately, your apparent unquestioning faith in their statements does not allow the intrusion of contradictory scientific evidence which you incorrectly dismiss as ‘speculation not based on scientific evidence’.”

    Frankly, you tried to pass off a entire “early Earth formation” passage without any authority for your position — I just called you on it. Apparently, you are making naked assertions again without even providing an example, let alone some authority.

    That doesn’t suggest your comments should be taken seriously by readers.

    Actually, it seems it is you who unquestioningly takes it on faith that oil is a “fossil” fuel because that is what “they” have always told you and the general public since birth with little cutzy dinosaurs and other animations.

    I wanted to make my on decision based on the best scientific evidence currently available, not on what “oil men” patronizingly told me.

    I decided to investigate the evidence at length and in detail, both pro and con, to review the scientific evidence objectively, just like readers are asked to review the scientific evidence on AGW objectively, here, on this website.

    I have reviewed the evidence based on the substantial body of scientific work by dozens of different scientists from around the world supporting Abiotic Oil theory.

    I have studied the arguments of “fossil” theory closely. They don’t bear up to close scrutiny.

    When “oil men” talk of about the origin of oil, remember this old adage:

    When somebody says, “it’s not the money,” it’s the money.

  127. doug says:

    Acaconda asks:
    “sedimentary basins that aren’t above deep fissures or faults don’t have a “source fault” that allows hydrocarbons to rise to the surface. Why are the vast majority of giant and supergiant oil wells above tectonically active faults?”

    The answer is they are not. You appear to be citing geologic fallasies that would fit you theory. Read up on giant fields (not “wells”—there are no one well giant fields), and you’ll find many, the stratigraphic traps in particular, have absolutely no association with active faults.

    In the case of the gas charged organic shales I mentioned, the main area of the tremendous new reserves, such as the Barnett, the Haynesville, the Fayetteville, are all on very stable inactive intra-cratonic sags. They are full of organic material and every well will produce some gas. Conversely, the massive Miocene shales such as the Gumai, the Baong in Indonesia overlay innumerable active faults and back up to a volcanic arc. They were deposited in a less restricted environment. They have nowhere nere the hydrocarbon content of the shales fron the cratonic basins, and rarely produce.

    And then there is this odd claim:

    “What your comment betrays is a failure to note that oil pumped from the deepest stratographic levels DID NOT have the so-called “biomakers” in it AT ALL. ”

    Where ? what stratOgraphic (sic) levels? The basins I have worked may have different oil in different stratigraphic horizons but I can tie them all to a source rock, usually with good biomarkers.

    Finally:”When “oil men” talk of about the origin of oil, remember this old adage:
    When somebody says, “it’s not the money,” it’s the money.”

    Certainly! The principals of biotic oil explain existing production and allow us to predict where we’ll find more. It enables us to make money. It works. The abiotic theory does not.

    Somewhere on you-tube is a wonderfull clip of Richard Feynman explaning that no matter how elegant a theory, no matter how brilliant the author, if it does not hold up in the real natural world, it is wrong.

    (6.) Halbouty, M., et al., “Worlds giant oil and gas fields, geologic factors affecting their formation, and basin classification [Part 1],” in M. Halbouty, ed., “Geology of giant petroleum fields,” AAPG Memoir 14, pp. 502-521. 1970.

    (7.) Halbouty, M., “Giant oil and gas fields of the decade 1960-1978,” AAPG Memoir 30, p. 596, 1980.

    (8.) Halbouty, M., “Giant oil and gas fields of the decade 1978-1988,” AAPG Memoir 54, 1990.

  128. Anaconda says:

    @ Doug:

    Doug states: “The answer is they are not. You appear to be citing geologic fallasies that would fit you theory.”

    I stand correct, I should said “fields” as opposed to wells.

    But Doug you have met your Waterloo. The facts are as I stated them, you are simply unaware of the geologic reality, as set out in the following passage:

    “In this talk, I present maps showing the location of all 877 giants located on tectonic and sedimentary basin maps of these 27 key regions. I classify the tectonic setting of the giants in these regions using six simplified classes of the tectonic setting for basins in these regions: (1) continental passive margins fronting major ocean basins (304 giants); (2) continental rifts and overlying sag or ‘‘steer’s head’’ basins (271 giants); (3) collisional margins produced by terminal collision between two continents (173 giants); (4) collisional margins produced by continental collision related to terrane accretion, arc collision, and/or shallow subduction (71 giants); (5) strike-slip margins (50 giants); and (6) subduction margins not affected by major arc or continental collisions (8 giants). ”

    Doug, and readers please link and read the following abstract: Tectonic Setting of the World’s Giant Oil and Gas Fields

    http://www.hgs.org/en/articles/printview.asp?236

    This paper was presented to the Houston Geological Society in 2004.

    The abstract also states: “Remarkably, almost all of these 877 giant fields, which by some estimates account for 67% of the world’s petroleum reserves…[are on tectonic faults or margins].”

    Want more evidence (a different version of the same paper, but with more links and citations) for my statement: “Why are the vast majority of giant and supergiant oil wells above tectonically active faults?”

    http://www.ig.utexas.edu/research/projects/giant_fields/

    Surely, The University of Texas at Austin would not present this paper if it didn’t have a base in reailty.

    Take note of the map of the world with the box superimposed over areas with large oil & gas fields and see they are concentrated at tectonic faults and margins.

    A “fallacy”? No, just a statement of the evidence which apparently, Doug, you have no knowledge of. Your credibility is diminishing with your baseless statements.

    And, Doug, just to bring it closer to your neck of the woods, like I did with Sandw15, I will link to a map of Indonesia, titled: Petroleum and Tectonic Map of S. E. Asia:

    http://thomasbrown.org/EndofFossilFuels/gold10.gif

    Take a look at the map, the correlation between the oil & gas fields and the tectonic setting is remarkable.

    Really, Doug, you shouldn’t make unsupported statements that come back and bit you.

    :

  129. Anaconda says:

    @ Doug:

    I raised the fact that many sedimentary basins with organic detritus turned out to be dry holes — I raised this issue twice — to which you never responded. I guess oil geologist don’t like to be reminded that before 3D seimic, they struck out more than 9 times out of 10.

    Which suggests oil geologist’s predictive abilities aren’t very good, which additionally suggests their “fossil” theory is not a good predictive “tool” because it is wrong.

    Doug presents my [Anaconda's] statement: ““What your comment betrays is a failure to note that oil pumped from the deepest stratographic levels DID NOT have the so-called “biomakers” in it AT ALL. ”

    And then you [Doug] responded: “Where ? what stratOgraphic (sic) levels? The basins I have worked may have different oil in different stratigraphic horizons but I can tie them all to a source rock, usually with good biomarkers.”

    Apparently, you couldn’t be bothered to to read this link that I previously presented, above:

    http://www.gasresources.net/DDBflds2.htm

    The link describes the Oil & Gas Fields in the Dnieper-Donetsk Basin along the Russian/Ukraine border, and, here, is the relevant passage:

    “Bacteriological analysis of the oil and the examination for so-called “biological marker” molecules: The oil produced from the reservoirs in the crystalline basement rock of the Dnieper-Donets Basin has been examined particularly closely for the presence of either porphyrin molecules or “biological marker” molecules, the presence of which used to be misconstrued as “evidence” of a supposed biological origin for petroleum.
    None of the oil contains any such molecules, even at the ppm level.”

    Concentrate on, “None of the oil contains any such molecules, even at the ppm level.”

    For an “oil man” you aren’t aware of a lot of things.

    I stated, above, in regards to the Travis volcanic mounds (volcanic oil), “Yes, that mineral [Serpentine] which is a principle mineral of the deep crust. This mineral is an important mineral for Abiotic Oil, see, Peridotites, Serpentinization, and Hydrocarbons:

    http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/documents/2006/06088houston_abs/abstracts/keith.htm

    This paper explains the reason for sweet oil (low sulfur and sour oil (high sulfur.

    “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.”

    “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).”

    Oh, and I mentioned “Asphalt Volcanoes” on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, I did not want it to appear I was talking through my hat like some others, so, here is the abstract: Chapopote Asphalt Volcano May Have Been Generated by Supercritical Water, by M. Hovland, Statoil ASA, Stavanger, Norway, and I. R. MacDonald, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2005/2005EO420002.shtml

    “Asphalt volcanoes and lava-like flows of solidified asphalt on the seafloor (Figure 1) were first discovered and described by MacDonald et al. [2004]. The flows covered more than one square kilometer of a dissected salt dome at abyssal depths (˜3000 m) in the southern Gulf of Mexico. “Chapopote” (93°26′W, 21°54′N) was one of two asphalt volcanoes they discovered. MacDonald et al. determined that the apparently fresh asphalt must initially have flowed in a hot state, and subsequently chilled, contracted, and solidified, much in the same way as normal lava does on the surface of the Earth. The two asphalt-volcanoes discovered occur at the apex of salt domes that pierce through the seafloor. These “piercement salt domes,”

    An abstract on a paper, How Abiotic Petroleum Systems Work: Tectonically Driven Deep Fluid Sources:

    http://aapg.confex.com/aapg/2007int/techprogram/A112319.htm

    “Origination, maturation, migration and accumulation of abiotic hydrocarbons are immanently linked to basin dynamics and in such a way to crustal evolution and tectonic differentiation of a basin roots through geological time. A new theoretical concept for abiotic origin of petroleum attributes world’s petroleum reserves to subcrust evolution of volatile-saturated zones (VSZ) characterized by high-density population of juvenile fluid inclusions enriched with hydrocarbons.”

    I mentioned “rare Earth metals”, let it not be said I didn’t provide authority, here is a paper abstract: Inorganic Geochemistry of Oil: First Results of the Study Using the ICP-MS Method of the East-European and West-Siberian Oil Deposits, by Kirill S. Ivanov.

    http://aapg.confex.com/aapg/2007int/techprogram/A112905.htm

    The scientific evidence is contained in a vast body of scientific work supporting Abiotic Oil theory.

    That some want to cling to a hypothesis that promotes scarcity and thus higher prices is not surprising, but the scientific evidence is clear:

    Oil is abiotic, no oil is derived from organic detritus.

    But as we have seen in the AGW debate, those that have a financial or ideological interest in a particular scientific conclusion, no matter how contradicted by the evidence at hand can convince themselves of the validity of their position, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

  130. doug says:

    Wow! You are one true believer.

    The fact some Russian can’t find a biomarker doesn’t impress me at all. You should see their seismic data.

    This concept really fascinates me:

    <>

    You actually believe we use the biotic theory to ensure we drill dry holes to keep the price high? Your theories of economics, and understanding of oil company expenditures is as bizzare as your ability to ignore the entire science of organic geochemistry.

    You’re right about one thing: in spite of all the oil I’ve found, I sure have drilled some dry holes. SandW15 is right: raise some money, get a rig and find all that oil I’ve missed. Your science is settled, now go produce the stuff!

    ps: start with the sepentine mounds—don’t drill one in some sedimentary basin, go right into an ophiolite zone. That should be well conected to the good deep source.

  131. Sandw15 says:

    Anaconda

    “Dolomite is found in association with 80% of North American oil deposits, but it only forms at extremely high temperatures at depth..”

    Ack! Anaconda!…just when I thought you were about to get rational! Get a grip man! At least read what wikipedia has to say about dolomite or some reputable site!

    “And Travis volcanic mounds can produce for a long time. …Over half of the fields are still active including some of the early discoveries.”

    See you don’t have to drill deep offshore wells to find abiotic oil! Pay no attention to those who point to the sedimentary source rock surrounding those things. Forget about Georgia…it’s ancient history. I know the location of two very similar volcanic features. I don’t think either has been drilled but oil is being produced from a sandstone reservoir within a 5 mile radius. Send $100,000 asap and I’ll get you the leases. I believe you could drill your first wildcat for under a mil.

    You should come to Texas for the drilling. That’ll give you a chance to look at some dolomitic limestone outcrops. Then you’ll be ready to publish your work in JSP, The Journal of Sedimentary Petrography. While you’re here you can swing by the valandium mine and repair the perpetual motion machine…darn thing’s a little tempermental.

    Doug
    “SandW15 is right: raise some money, get a rig and find all that oil I’ve missed. Your science is settled, now go produce the stuff!”

    See? Even Doug thinks it’s a good idea.

  132. Anaconda says:

    @ Doug:

    Doug states: “Wow! You are one true believer.”

    I follow the scientific evidence where it leads me.

    What would YOU have me do, simply ignore the scientific evidence?

    Note, Doug has nothing to say about the map of Indonesia or the paper titled: Tectonic Setting of the World’s Giant Oil and Gas Fields, which backs up my statement and contradicts his statement.

    Doug states: “You actually believe we use the biotic theory to ensure we drill dry holes to keep the price high? Your theories of economics, and understanding of oil company expenditures is as bizzare as your ability to ignore the entire science of organic geochemistry.”

    Let’s look at this statement, shall we:

    “You actually believe we use the biotic theory to ensure we drill dry holes to keep the price high?”

    This is an example of a strawman argument. Is that what Doug is reduced to, making strawman arguments and then knocking them down?

    Actually, I noted that before 3D seismic (where the oil can actually be seen on the images drived from it), geologists struck out 9 times out of 10 in sedimentary basins impregnated with organic detritus. That is a fact that apparently doug does not dispute. What “theory” did they use to gain this record of accuracy? The “fossil” theory. What is the reasonable conclusion to draw from it? It would seem that the model, “fossil” theory, does not have very good predictive value. Is it reasonable to then conclude that failure rate was because the “fossil” model was inaccurate?

    Of course, I never stated that oil geologists intentionally drill dry holes. Rather, my statement was clear, a faulty theory provides poor results.

    Doug seems to intentionally conflate another statement I made that “oil men” prefer to promote the “fossil” theory inspite of the scientific evidence to the contrary because “fossil” theory connotes a finite resource, and eventual scarcity, which was the justification for the higher prices in the recent run up in oil prices. This is basic economics, limited supply and increasing demand equals higher prices. Interesting that Doug calls that description of economic theory “bizzare”.

    Doug calls my understanding of oil company expenditures “bizzare”.

    I’m sure oil companies didn’t relish throwing money down a dry hole. Of course, now, with seismic 3D that doesn’t very often (fortunately for oil geologists).

    Doug states: “…your ability to ignore the entire science of organic geochemistry [is bizzare].”

    Of course, this statement is made without producing one iota of evidence in support of the statement — it a raw, naked assertion — or offer a specific example. Earlier, in the discussion I stated that oil has never been generated in a laboratory to which Doug was silent. Most likely he knows it true, as it most assurely is.

    The scientific evidence is that organic detritus in shallow sedimentary deposits under relatively low temperature and pressure does not have the energy imput to turn into oil. Why? Because a low potential energy molecule like organic detritus will not spontaneously turn into a high potential energy molecule like oil because of the Law of entropy (the temperature and pressure postulated by the “fossil” theory doesn’t provide the energy required).

    But Doug would have the readers ignore that little stumbling block.

    Funny, I didn’t know the whole entire science of organic geochemistry was devoted to the study of petroleum. It’s not. Any ‘carbon’ bearing substance is considered organic, whether it is biological or not. But Doug would play that off because it is commonly assumed that ‘organic’ equals ‘biological’, of course many times it does, but it’s not exclusively biological. Doug should know that, but he states it anyway. Why?

    The claims of biological origin for oil don’t pan out under close inspection. See, Dismissal of the Claims of a Biological Connection for Natural Petroleum:

    http://www.gasresources.net/DisposalBioClaims.htm

    Doug, you have made much of “source” rocks. Here is a paper that discusses solid hydrocarbons, bitumens, that don’t have any “source” rocks to explain the bitumen’s presence in the basalt. The paper is titled: Inorganic Origin in Upper Mantle Seen likely for Solid Hydrocarbon in Syria Plateau Basalt by Robert F. Mahfoud, James N. Beck, McNeese State University, published in Oil & Gas Journal, October 28, 199.

    http://www.gasresources.net/Mafoud-91.htm

    “Drilling to more than 1,100 m in the alkaline plateau basalt did not reveal the presence of sedimentary rocks or any mother rocks (petroleum bearing). The absence of mother rocks along with the difficulty of explaining otherwise the sources of all mentioned compounds suggested an inorganic or abiogenic origin in the mantle and/or along rift and fractures in basalt for the concerned hydrocarbon. This abiogenic origin explained with ease all reactions, sources of elements, and their relationship with the tectonic events in southern Syria.”

    I provide scientific evidence for my position.

  133. doug says:

    From your own reference, which you clearly do not understand:

    Continental passive margins fronting major ocean basins form the dominant tectonic setting that includes 35% of the world’s giant fields. Continental rifts and overlying sag basins, especially failed rifts at the edges or interiors of continents, form the second most common tectonic setting that includes 31% of the world’s giant fields. Terminal collision belts between two continents and associated foreland basins form the third setting with 20% of the the world’s giant fields. Other setting classes including foreland basins at collision margins related to terrane accretion, arc collision, and/or shallow subduction; basins within strike-slip margins; and basins within subduction margins are relatively insignificant with 14% or less of the total basin population. . Our result differs significantly from previously published giant classifications where collisional settings form the dominant tectonic setting for oil giants.

    TRANSLATION THE MORE PASSIVE (see that term passive—it means the tectonis are not too active) AREAS HAVE MORE OIL. THE TECTONICALLY ACTIVE AREAS HAVE LESS.

    We propose the following possibilities to explain the dominance of extensional rift and passive margin settings over all other tectonic settings: 1) localization of high quality source rocks in lacustrine and restricted marine settings during the early rift stage; 2) effectiveness of the sag or passive margin section above rifts to either act as reservoirs for hydrocarbons generated in the rift section and/or to seal hydrocarbons generated in the underlying rift section; 3) tectonic stability following early rifting that allows hydrocarbon sources and reservoirs to remain undisturbed by subsequent tectonic events

    TRANSLATION: SOURCE ROCKS ARE IMPORTANT, AS WELL AS TECTONIC QUIESCENCE.

    you can cite all the papers you wish, but if you don’t understand what you are reading they don’t help your case.

    PS Most of the oil in Indonesia is in the back-arc basins, flanking the stable Sundaland Craton. they are as tectonically stable as one can hope to find in that country.

  134. Sandw15 says:

    Oops. I meant Journal of Sedimentary Petrology. Well no, come to think of it I really meant MAJIC – The Monthly American Journal of Imaginary Chemistry.

  135. Ric Werme says:

    Anaconda (11:19:11) :

    Want more evidence (a different version of the same paper, but with more links and citations) for my statement: “Why are the vast majority of giant and supergiant oil wells above tectonically active faults?”

    http://www.ig.utexas.edu/research/projects/giant_fields/

    Well, the article includes:

    We propose the following possibilities to explain the dominance of extensional rift and passive margin settings over all other tectonic settings: 1) localization of high quality source rocks in lacustrine and restricted marine settings during the early rift stage; 2) effectiveness of the sag or passive margin section above rifts to either act as reservoirs for hydrocarbons generated in the rift section and/or to seal hydrocarbons generated in the underlying rift section; 3) tectonic stability following early rifting that allows hydrocarbon sources and reservoirs to remain undisturbed by subsequent tectonic events acting on distant plate boundaries.

    So it seems tectonic activity disturbs sedimentary rocks. I wouldn’t be surprised if some folding makes traps for hydrocarbons to collect, fracturing makes the sedimentary rocks more porous, subduction collects sedimentary rocks. Perhaps you could post a link showing the relationship between giants and types of sedimentary rocks. With your interest in oil from granitic areas, I’d like to see another map showing distribution of oil and igneous rocks. After all, I live in “The Granite State.” The foundation of my house is made from large granite blocks.

    Surely, The University of Texas at Austin would not present this paper if it didn’t have a base in reailty.

    Well, maybe. I do note that the article makes no mention of abiotic sources (it does mention “high quality source rocks,” but apparently sedimentary rocks, not mantle). While the authors are “Mann et al” I’ll quickly point out it refers to “Dr. Paul Mann.” You’re new here, climate papers by a Dr. Michael Mann are roundly criticized here and elsewhere and we believe – with good reason – they do not have a base in reality. A bio on Paul Mann mentions “He is presently co-leader of a industry-supported synthesis of the tectonics and petroleum geology of the Trinidad area.” He’s as likely to be shill for the oil company as is Doug. I’m surprised you present Mann’s work in a positive light but insult people who disagree with some of your claims.

    BTW, are you associated with the mines in the Anaconda Montana region? Not a problem, really, but you’d gain several credibility points if you used your full name.

    Ultimately, readers here are predominantly interested in climate issue, but we like an interesting detour once in a while. Thank you for bringing it up.

  136. Anaconda says:

    @ Doug:

    Doug states: “Wow! You are one true believer.”

    Apparently, Doug is a true believer, too! Such is his determination to keep coming back to the discussion. Obviously, a comment like that offers no probative value. It’s the pot calling the frying pan black.

    I stand corrected: Active was the wrong word, but the title speaks for itself: Tectonic Setting of the World’s Giant Oil and Gas Fields (and the discussion I address below).

    Too bad Doug won’t do the same, and acknowledge valid points raised by the other side, instead he ignores the points he can’t respond to.

    And, yes, I do understand. All too well from Doug’s point of view, I’m sure. That is what keeps Doug coming back. I present the evidence which I have linked to, so the readers can see for themselves. My desire is that people research the question on their own. Doug’s attitude seems to be, “move along, no story, here.”

    “Keep thinking the same old thoughts.”

    I don’t expect to convince people on one comment thread, rather, I hope to raise their interest so they do follow up research on their own — ultimately each individual has to come to their own conclusion which is true for all scientific questions.

    Which is the better scientific attitude?

    @ Ric Werme:

    Dr. Paul Mann versus Dr. Michael Mann, not the same person, so why even bring up the issue? Frankly, I’m not trying to insult anyone, other than disagree with their position. Note my first comments only brought up the issue obliquely, but I certainly wasn’t going to let Doug engage in patronizing comments, to the effect of, “I know better than you, pipe down.”

    Ric Werme states: “A bio on Paul Mann mentions “He is presently co-leader of a industry-supported synthesis of the tectonics and petroleum geology of the Trinidad area.” Mann’s paper sets out the geologic setting of giant oil fields, that he is looking for oil around Trinidad which sits on a transform tectonic boundary, the same one Venezuela sits on (and like it or not Venezuela has a lot of oil), only states he is taking action on his findings.

    Speaking of transform tectonic boundaries, to bring these comments back to the post: Transform tectonic boundaries are places where tectonic plates slide past each other. There certainly are deep fissures and faults associated with tranform tectonic boundaries (and that was my point in bringing up the paper, however inartfully worded). Interesting, Santa Barbara sits on a transform tectonic boundary.

    See, Earth Floor: Plate Tectonics, transform boundary:

    http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/msese/earthsysflr/plates4.html

    Note the schematic in the link uses California as an example with the San Andreas Fault.

    I link a map of the California oil & gas seeps:

    http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/seeps/where.html

    Superimpose the two maps together and one can see the congruence of the oil seeps and the transform tectonic boundary.

    Continental passive margins are the transition from continental crust and oceanic crust which have ancient rifts, often tearing and shearing occur causing fissures and cracks. Rifts are where the crust pulls apart, yet, another form of fault or fissure for oil to rise up through.

    TRANSLATION: Faults and fissures, “cracks” if you will, are where the vast majority of giant oil fields are located above.

    It does not surprise me that a conventional oil geologist, such as Paul Mann, would make reference to “source” rocks, in fact, it would surprise me if he didn’t.

    Interestingly, I’ve read a few stratigraphic reports of oil finds and descriptions (not near as many as Doug, I have no doubt) and the reports are constantly referring to faults and fissures as well as sedimentary trapping structures.

    Ric Werme states: “I wouldn’t be surprised if some folding makes traps for hydrocarbons to collect…” Yes, that is exactly the case, the question is where the hydrocarbons come from.

    Ric Werme states: “With your interest in oil from granitic areas…”

    Where did you get that idea from? No, the hydrocarbons rise up through, as I stated, above, fissures, cracks, and faults. Those tend to be focussed at tectonic boundaries, but detailed geologic maps will show that, indeed, “cracks”, fissures, and faults exist even within cratonic settings.

    Look at the scientific evidence with reasonable sceptism, yet also with an open-mind, not easy to do, especially with ideas that have been ingrained literally since childhood. But such is the Scientific Method that we all strive to apply.

  137. Tim J says:

    A fascinating read on this thread. It’s the first time I’ve added a comment (a few days ago now) and the first time I’ve seen any real discussion on this topic.
    I’m not a subject matter expert so cannot add anything to the discussion. When I empty my brain of all learnt and preconceived ideas on this subject I must say that the abiotic theory gets more traction with my observations of the actual world as I perceive it.
    Thanks to everyone………

  138. Jeff Alberts says:

    I’m just wondering why oil can’t be both biotic and abiotic?

  139. klockarman says:

    I’ve got some first hand knowledge of this situation.

    A couple of years ago my wife and I spent several days in Santa Barbara for our anniversary. We went on a catamaran cruise in Santa Barbara Channel.

    Much to my surprise there was an oily sheen as far as the eye can see. The skipper explained to me about the seeps, which I found to be incredibly ironic, i.e. Mother Nature spoiling herself. The skipper explained that the oil company’s rigs in Santa Barbara Channel actually relieve pressure on the wells, and without them the seeps would leak even more oil. I confirmed this on my blog post on this subject about a year ago:

    And just as the skipper of the catamaran told me, UC Santa Barbara professor Bruce Luyendyk says:

    “There is significant evidence oil extraction can reduce reservoir pressure and seepage pollution.”

    More wonderful irony: Big Oil saves the environment from itself!

    Here’s a link to that post, including a couple photos I shot on that trip.

    http://algorelied.com/?p=143

  140. ken says:

    Abiotic oil is fact, proven by the Russians at least 310 times, they have drilled oil wells alot deeper than fossils can be found. Maybe that’s why they are the world leader in the production of oil and natural gas. Fossil fuel theory as far as oil and natural gas is not true. Fossils get caught in the oil that comes from deeper in the earth, hence the wrong theory of fossil fuel. So oil and natural gas are not finite, you could look at them as being renewable energy being churned out by the earth all the time. The people in California should drill off the coast, It seems like its worked elsewhere. Just a last thought the co2 theory should go the same way as the fossil fuel theory. They are both wrong.

  141. Anaconda says:

    “I have gone to the best geologists and the best petroleum researchers, and I can give you the authoritative answer: No one knows [how biogenic origin is possible].” — Edward Teller, physicist, 1979, “Father of the Hydrogen Bomb”

  142. Ric Werme says:

    ken (16:57:31) :

    Abiotic oil is fact, proven by the Russians at least 310 times, they have drilled oil wells alot [sic] deeper than fossils can be found. Maybe that’s why they are the world leader in the production of oil and natural gas.

    You’re forgetting several things mentioned above. BTW, Wikipedia says Saudi Arabia produces more petroleum than Russia. Not by much, and things might have swapped places since 2006. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum#Petroleum_by_country . Perhaps you should look at production in terms of acreage. I don’t think it would be close anymore! I’ll leave natural gas to the interested reader, I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia is the top producer of that.

  143. Anaconda says:

    CALIFORNIA: RETHINKING OFFSHORE DRILLING BAN

    California politicians woke up Wednesday morning with a political hangover, as all their budgetary smoke and mirrors were defeated at the polls by the voters.

    (Except for the proposition that restricted their pay if they can’t balance the budget.)

    Now, these same politicians must deal with a budgetary trainwreck of their own making.

    There has always been one partial solution sitting on the table, revenue from offshore oil drilling.

    Apparently, at least some politicians are taking another look at this option:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30830782/ns/us_news-environment/

    Needing cash, Calif. rethinks offshore oil ban (msnbc), “LOS ANGELES – With California facing a huge budget deficit, officials at the state Department of Finance saw an opportunity to resurrect a controversial proposal for oil drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara as a way to boost revenue and potentially bring $1.8 billion into state coffers over time.”

    Will the politicians wake up and smell the revenue?

    Possibly.

    Politicians usually have a nose for additional cash when financial disaster looms.

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