Peak Oil Indefinitely Postponed

Guest post by David Middleton

Wolfcamp.PNG

The U.S. Geological Survey has made its largest discovery of recoverable crude ever under parts of West Texas, the federal agency announced Tuesday.

A recent assessment found the “Wolfcamp shale” geologic formation in the Midland area holds an estimated 20 billion barrels of accessible oil along with 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. That’s three times higher than the amount of recoverable crude the agency found in the Bakken-Three Forks region in the upper midwest in 2013, making it “the largest estimated continuous oil accumulation that USGS has assessed in the United States to date,” according to a statement.

“The fact that this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done just goes to show that, even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more,” said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the USGS Energy Resources Program.

Guidroz attributed that potential to “changes in technology” — i.e., the advent and perfection of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Such advances “can have significant effects on what resources are technically recoverable,” he said.

[…]

Texas Tribune

midland-basin-map

USGS Press Release

USGS Report

While I take issue with describing this as a “discovery” and with crediting the USGS for the “discovery,” this should not be surprising.   Past history shows us that government agencies always grossly underestimate what the oil industry will find and produce. Alaska’s North Slope has already produced 16 billion barrels of petroleum liquids. Currently developed areas will ultimately produce a total of about 30 billion barrels. The government’s original forecast for the North Slope’s total production was 10 billion barrels. The current USGS estimate for undiscovered oil in the Bakken play of Montana & North Dakota is 25 times larger than the same agency’s 1995 estimate. In 1987, the MMS (now the BOEM)undiscovered resource estimate for the Gulf of Mexico was 9 billion barrels. Today it is 45 billion barrels.

The MMS increased the estimate of undiscovered oil in the Gulf of Mexico from 9 billion barrels in 1987 to the current 45 billion barrels because we discovered a helluva a lot more than 9 billion barrels in the Gulf over the last 20 years. Almost all of the large US fields discovered since 1988 were discovered in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico. In 1988, it was unclear whether or not the deepwater plays would prove to be economic.

Based on the government’s track record, the estimated 116 billion barrels of undiscovered oil under Federal lands is more likely to be 680 billion barrels. That’s close to 100 years worth of current US consumption – And that’s just the undiscovered oil under Federal mineral leases.

When you factor in unconventional oil plays, the numbers become staggering. “Peak Oil,” if it exists, won’t be reached for hundreds of years if the government would just get the Hell out of the way.

It’s just a matter of economics and technology. There will be periods of economic expansion in which demand out-paces supply and there will be periods of supply out-pacing demand… Like the past couple of years.

Technology improves economics. Smaller and smaller oil accumulations can be found and economically recovered even in an environment of stable inflation-adjusted prices because technology is continuously improving… And large discoveries continue to be made in plays that weren’t envisioned just a few years ago. Eventually, we will reach a point where the diminishing returns of technology can’t keep up with oil-related energy demand. But a properly functioning free market will already be delivering economical alternatives as oil begins to price itself out of the market.

Going back to the Gulf of Mexico, two of the eleven largest oil fields in the Gulf’s history (since 1947) were discovered in the late 1980’s and brought on production in the mid-1990’s.  There have been several potentially huge discoveries made in the last 5-10 years in the ultra-deepwater Lower Tertiary play. These are currently being brought on to production.

The largest field in the Gulf, Shell’s Mars Field, was discovered in 1989. Prior to the Mars discovery, no one seriously believed that Miocene-aged and older reservoirs existed that far away from the established Miocene plays on the shelf.  Since, the Mars discovery, many very large Miocene discoveries have been made in deepwater. The recent discoveries of even older, Lower Tertiary reservoirs in even deeper water was a huge surprise. These reservoirs were thought to have “petered out” even closer to shore than the Miocene reservoirs.

If we’re still finding “giant” fields in the Gulf of Mexico now, in plays that we couldn’t even imagine 30 years ago… What will we find in the 85% of the US Outer Continental Shelf that has never been explored? The handful of discoveries offshore California were made long before modern technology was available. The very few exploratory wells that were allowed in the 1970’s in the Atlantic’s Baltimore Canyon were drilled long before 3d seismic reflection data were available.

Technology also enables us to steadily improve the efficiency of oil recovery from reservoirs. The Bakken formation is thought to have over 40 billion barrels of oil in place. The trick is in recovery techniques. The USGS assumes that 10% is the maximum recovery factor. Twenty years ago, few people thought that Bakken recovery factors could exceed 1%.

figure-3

Over the past twenty years, drilling, completion and enhanced recovery methods have led to nearly a ten-fold improvement in Bakken oil recovery. There’s no reason to doubt that those recoveries will continue to improve… It’s just a matter of technology and economics. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3868

Hubbert’s Peak Oil Theory is mathematically sound; however it is dependent upon the total recoverable resource potential. Hubbert’s “Peak Oil” prediction was based on the assumption that the total recoverable reserves in the US and our OCS (offshore) were only 150-200 billion barrels. The current DOE estimate is 400 billion barrels – And that estimate was before 2006 and the shale boom and it didn’t include unconventional resource potential (which dwarfs the conventional potential). Shale oil like the Bakken and Eagle Ford is not unconventional oil. It is plain old crude oil. The recovery is unconventional because it’s different than the prior norm; hence they are described as unconventional resources. Oil shale (Green River Formation) and tar sands (Athabasca oil sands) are unconventional oils because they are respectively bituminous kerogen and bitumen  – essentially incompletely formed and degraded crude oil .

The Malthusian record of failed predictions is perfect. Every single Malthusian prediction in recorded history has turned out to be wrong…

Great moments in failed predictions
Posted on January 19, 2013 by Anthony Watts

While searching for something else, I came across this entertaining collection of grand predictive failures related to resources and climate change, along with some of the biggest predictive failures of Paul Ehrlich. I thought it worth sharing.

Exhaustion of Resources

“Indeed it is certain, it is clear to see, that the earth itself is currently more cultivated and developed than in earlier times. Now all places are accessible, all are documented, all are full of business. The most charming farms obliterate empty places, ploughed fields vanquish forests, herds drive out wild beasts, sandy places are planted with crops, stones are fixed, swamps drained, and there are such great cities where formerly hardly a hut… everywhere there is a dwelling, everywhere a multitude, everywhere a government, everywhere there is life. The greatest evidence of the large number of people: we are burdensome to the world, the resources are scarcely adequate to us; and our needs straiten us and complaints are everywhere while already nature does not sustain us.”

■In 1865, Stanley Jevons (one of the most recognized 19th century economists) predicted that England would run out of coal by 1900, and that England’s factories would grind to a standstill.

■In 1885, the US Geological Survey announced that there was “little or no chance” of oil being discovered in California.

■In 1891, it said the same thing about Kansas and Texas. (See Osterfeld, David. Prosperity Versus Planning : How Government Stifles Economic Growth. New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.)

■In 1939 the US Department of the Interior said that American oil supplies would last only another 13 years.

■1944 federal government review predicted that by now the US would have exhausted its reserves of 21 of 41 commodities it examined. Among them were tin, nickel, zinc, lead and manganese.

■In 1949 the Secretary of the Interior announced that the end of US oil was in sight.

[…]

UPDATE: reader Dennis Wingo writes in with this table:
Great article. I went into this myself in my book “Moonrush“, I took all of the predictions for the depletion of resources from the book and marked in red the deadlines that had already passed. All of the predictions failed.

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350 thoughts on “Peak Oil Indefinitely Postponed

      • Cowboystan

        Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

        First chuckle of the day – actually a good full throated belly laugh (-:

      • Tom H. and vboring:

        Regarding OPEC: my guess is that by the time the West TX Permian and other USA/North/South American fraccing play reserves are consumed there will be REALISTIC cost-effective competition from other energy sources … and that OPEC shares this view … as they realize their descendence toward semi-relevancy.

        Note: i spent over a decade working in East and West Siberia during which time I read more than a few articles which were/are of the opinion that West Siberia non-conventionals contain about 60 times the volume of OIL resources as encountered in the Bakken. [Note: there is a different game entirely regarding migrating these resources to the reserves categories.] Of course, nobody knows the real number … but my bet is that they are not far off.

        Yep, OPEC is worried … and I and many others are convinced that this is what is motivating their otherwise recent confounding actions. Certainly, OPEC is not dead, but, it is in no position to call the shots.

        Note: beware of the Russian potential; not only with respect to production but, perhaps even more importantly, with respect to geopolitics … especially regarding their coziness with Iran [which may be the real wildcard, because of their primary motivations are cultish and not understood fully by the West].

      • My thought as far as OPEC was more in the direction of the Saudis trying to get “administered” oil prices again, something they might have obtained from Hillary Clinton.

      • Johnny C,

        If something really bad happens in the Mid-East/Persian Gulf to shut down China’s access to that oil, I would expect it to look hungrily toward Siberia.

      • From everything I have read, China is not only looking towards Siberia, but doing something about it as well.

      • Next big resource is via solvent extraction from tar sands and high volatile coals/peat One of the world’s largest coal resources in SE Australia has 395 billion tons on land and a further 1,200 Bt under Bass Strait. Net possible volatile (anes and enes) recovery is 20% by weight. Assuming an actually recovery of 60% this equates to 190 Btons of hydrocarbons or 1,400 Billion US barrels or about US$60T at current prices.

        There is a larger resource in Germany/Poland.

        So no, we are nowhere near Peak Oil and yes this is environmentally friendly as solvents are benign or fully recoverable and can be employed at a lower price as compared to current extraction techniques.

        Generally, solvent techniques are not owned by oil companies. Hence the resistance to taking them up by BIG oil (national oil companies, Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron etc). The other major hurdle is BIG oils’s reserve valuations on their balance sheets. There is resistance to downgrading balance sheets to current prices. It affects debt prices dramatically. It makes bankers nervous. So at present, huge low cost reserves do not exist on paper. This will change with just one major putting it on their balance sheet.

      • It was noted in the article that it was a make-believe Republic, so using that train of thought the Republic of Cowboyistan conjures up an image of Unicorns prancing about the prairie, pissing oil and farting NG. Their natural defense when an Eco loon enters the Republic is to chase them out while poking them in the keister with that pointy thing on their head.

    • I believe the Bakken might have 9 billion recoverable. The post appears to be very optimistic to me (I’ve been in the oil industry for 41 years). I arrived at the conclusion that we were in trouble as an industry around 1990, and I haven’t seen anything since then to change my mind.

      I believe oil production will peak because we, as an industry, need more $$$ to extract oil as we move down the pecking order into lousier rocks and harsher environments. One reads a lot about “new technology”, but most of it depends on higher prices because it costs a lot.

      This means that today we, as a worldwide industry, can’t make a living if the price drops below say $60 per barrel. Today we have fewer rigs, fewer people, and make a living cannibalizing equipment bought when prices went over $80. Cannibilizing equipment and squeezing contractors, taking on debt and cherry picking drilling spots only takes the industry so far. So I’m pretty sure prices will go above $60. And then they’ll have to go above $80, and $100, and so on. And eventually we will charge so much we won’t be able to compete with something else (I think that may be light weight plug in hybrids that get 60 plus miles per gallon).

      Once our prices get high enough, and efficiency/competition reduce demand, if demand reduction isn’t offset by gains in poor countries, we will reach “peak oil”. But poor countries may simply not encourage more vehicles and choose to encourage mass transit.

      The process is very hard to model, but it sure looks like peak oil would take place sometime between 2020 and 2040. Peak natural gas should take longer, and peak coal even more. But eventually we simply don’t have the raw resource base to compete with emerging technologies. And if those technologies don’t emerge we are toast. Population will drop and several hundred million will survive squeezing a living. But I’m pretty confident we won’t go extinct or turn into cave people.

      By the way, the first time I sat in a discussion about the Permian basin I heard older engineers discuss CO2 flooding and how to fracture the Wolcamp and Spraberry. That was over 30 years ago.

      • Fracking isn’t new. The ability to precisely steer horizontal wells is the technological advance that opened up the shale plays.

        Peak oil will occur when we have consumed half the recoverable resource. So long as the size of the recoverable resource keeps growing, the further out into the future it will push peak oil.

        Hubbert’s equation is fine. The recoverable resource was simply about three times as large as he thought it was.

      • David and fernandoleanme: Thanks for taking the time to write this post and informed rebuttal. What did you think about “Peak Oil” when the concept became popular (in the late 1990’s?) It seems to me that Peak Oil gradually nears when prices have fallen for some time (as they did the early 1990’s) and gradually retreats into the distance after prices have risen (as they did around 2000). Given the relatively inflexible demand for gasoline, oil prices are fairly volatile, making Peak Oil a volatile concept. However, it takes a long time for changing prices influence public/government perceptions about the size of current reserves

        As I understand it, converting coal to petroleum products becomes economically viable if petroleum remains above $100/barrel indefinitely.

      • Frank,

        “Peak Oil,” as in Hubbert’s equation is a very real thing. Peak consumption of a resource generally occurs around the time that half of that resource has been recovered, When someone can determine how much recoverable crude oil has been produced, exists as proved reserves and remains to be discovered, the Peak Oil calculation is relatively simple.

        “Peak Oil,” as in the Olduvai theory has always been nonsense.

      • The Hubbert Equation is in the same class as the Drake Equation. Utter nonsense, as nobody knows what values the variables are.

      • Dave – Dead on. “Peak Oil”, coupled with the media-manufactured ME “shortages”, was the marketing ploy that allowed the players to walk the pump prices up with minimum squawk . They’ve been siphoning the Permian now what . . . a century or so? And Wallah! Never was an oil “shortage”. And they have stuff in Alaska they’re sitting on. Thoughts on A-biotic oil?

      • Frank, I’m not much into Hubbert and his peak oil theory. I come at this from the oil company end. Many years ago I looked at industry wide exploration results, and came to the conclusion we weren’t going to find enough to replace production unless prices rose. And prices did rise, which made exploration for plays like the Kara Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico deep water Eocene a “semiviable” venture. It also allowed more risk taking with extra heavy oil, and of course the “shales” (which is better called light oil in very tight rocks).

        Horizontal wells help developing the tight rock, and some of the heavy oils, but the Permian Wolfcamp abd Spraberry are drilled with vertical wells. The “new technology” is more associated with the completion tools and the frac jobs. I’ve been around long enough that I see the new tool kit like a Boeing 787 compared to the 707. I have to look at the full package, and horizontal wells wouldn’t work unless the frac jobs can take place and at a cost that allows the well to produce enough to make a profit.

        So what’s happening is enable by “little details” like coil tubing units, packers, plugs, sleeves, and other stuff that works like a charm compared to the brittle and clunky ones we had 30 years ago. And all of these enablers cost a lot more. Shale plays, extra heavy oil, deep water oil, Kashagan (a very difficult field in the Caspian) or Arctic oil just won’t fly at the average price we have had this year. Some of it can be cherry picked, but those huge figures we see don’t materialize unless prices rise.

        One issue I bring up is that RCP8.5, the “business as usual” case used in the bulk of the climate model “disaster” scenarios, is a bunch of baloney. It has oil peaking at over 160 million barrels of oil per day. That’s sheer nonsense. If they use a more reasonable case, say an average of RCP6 and RCP4.5, the “damage from climate change” turns out to be negligible, because according to them the temperature increase is mostly locked in (they say the planet already has about 1 degree C temperature increase).

        When I use a temperature sensitivity estimated by Curry et al and the emissions and carbon cycle model are used to estimate concentrations using a more reasonable fossil fuel reserve case, the temperature increase above what’s locked in is negligible. And this means the económics case for all the “emergency measures” are mostly worthless EVEN IF WE BELIEVE the models.

        This is one issue most of you (to be honest) blow big time. They’ve shoved that RCP8.5 down the world’s throat and you never realize the scheme they use is bogus.

      • “Peak oil will occur when we have consumed half the recoverable resource.”
        Not quite David
        It’s when production begins to fall. That does not mean half way through the resource. If, as you would expect, we’ve extracted the easiest, cheapest and highest quality resource first, then production may begin to fall before we get to remaining half. Some proportion will be too expensive or energy costly to extract and will remain in the ground

      • “I arrived at the conclusion that we were in trouble as an industry around 1990, and I haven’t seen anything since then to change my mind.”

        fernandoleanme, I’m curious. Are you saying you thought the oil industry was already in trouble in 1990? Has the intervening 26 years really done nothing to make you change your mind, even as far as the timing is concerned?

        It seems to me that whenever the oil industry is in trouble, it will produce less oil. Less oil will cause prices to go up, which will help get them out of trouble, at least until production exceeds demand. Then prices will drop and put pressure on the oil industry again. It will always be a balancing act.

      • fernandoleanme: I’ve heard RCP8.5 described as an economic golden age fueled by coal, not petroleum or natural gas. If I understand correctly, coal can be converted petroleum products by Fisher-Tropch(?) process for the equivalent of $100/barrel. Doesn’t this make the RCP8.5 scenario at least possible?

        I think is ridiculous to say that renewable energy is a viable option today AND that RCP8.5 is a plausible scenario for the future If renewable energy is viable today and there is any technological progress, RCP8.5 is unreasonable. If renewable energy is not a viable option today (say because the intermittency/storage problem is never solved) and new technological doesn’t emerge, then RCP8.5 becomes more plausible. Unfortunately, when the phrase “business-as-usual” is used, it assumes no technological progress – which is not business as usual.

        As for “committed” warming, I ignore the models and rely on ARGO. With 0.5 W/m2 flowing into the deep ocean – the imbalance remaining from about 2-2.5 W/m2 of current forcing – I estimate that we current warming is 75-80% of the way to equilibrium warming for today’s forcing. Now, some people may say we are committed to a reduction in aerosols, or a saturation of sinks, or an increase in CO2 emissions. Or they are relying on models that are inconsistent with a current imbalance of 0.5 W/m2

      • Wrusssr on November 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm
        Dave – Dead on. “Peak Oil”, coupled with the media-manufactured ME “shortages”, was the marketing ploy that allowed the players to walk the pump prices up with minimum squawk . They’ve been siphoning the Permian now what . . . a century or so? And Wallah! Never was an oil “shortage”. And they have stuff in Alaska they’re sitting on. Thoughts on A-biotic oil?

        Apart from OPEC, there are no “manufactured shortages,” no one is “sitting on” oil in Alaska or anywhere else in the US and the Wolfcamp isn’t new oil that was being hidden from the public. Much of the US resource potential, particularly Alaska, is off limits due to the Federal government’s malfeasance.

        The Wolfcamp is a very active and mature play in a very active mature basin. The USGS assessment is largely based on the production results, which led to the conclusion that the Wolf camp contains far more recoverable oil than previously thought.

      • tony mcleod on November 16, 2016 at 11:09 pm
        “Peak oil will occur when we have consumed half the recoverable resource.”
        Not quite David
        It’s when production begins to fall.

        […]

        Read Hubbert’s 1956 paper. Hubbert’s peak oil prediction was based on the assumption that the total US recoverable resource was 150-200 billion barrels. Peak oil production was predicted to occur when half of that resource had been revovered.

        Hubbert’s prediction failed because the total recoverable resource was much larger than his estimate…

        Or this primer from the University of Chicago…

        The idea behind Hubbert’s Peak is that the rate of oil extraction from a field tends to follow a Gaussian or “bell” curve. There is no intrinsic reason why it should be so, and political, economic, and technological changes can in principle change the curve. But Hubbert observed that it seemed to work in small fields that had been tapped out.

        Hubbert applied the method, in about 1956, to the time evolution of oil extraction from the continental U.S. (top option on the page). The other piece of information he needed was an estimate of the total amount of oil that would ever be extracted. With this, he predicted using the data up that time (1956) that the U.S. would reach peak oil production in the early 1970’s. Alter the curve by changing the parameters, and see how much wiggle room Hubbert had to make this prediction.

        Today, with respect to World oil production, we are in a postion not unlike Hubbert’s, where uncertainty in the total extractable inventory of oil have some impact on how well can pin down the year of global peak oil.

        http://climatemodels.uchicago.edu/hubbert/hubbert.doc.html

      • Louis: I was working with a group studying how to direct our investment. In 1990 we could keep relying on exploration, hoard cash and purchase weaker companies, risk investing in the former Soviet Union, shift to more gas and rely on LNG to market volumes, stockpile heavy oil molecules in Canada, gamble big time on deep water, or buy up garbage acreage with low quality rocks and wait for prices and technology to evolve.

        What we knew was that cheap conventional oil was running out, most of it was in OPEC nations and even they had a limit (for example, we had a very good idea about the Arabian peninsula, Iraq, Iran and North Africa potential).

        I, as a member of that particular group, suggested we shift to gas, stockpile heavy oil, buy some medium sized companies, and cut exploration to the bone. I didn’t think the tight oil would be such a good idea, but tight gas with some condensate was an excellent target. As it turned out tight oil works if the oil is very light and the rocks are overpressured (I blew that one).

        Frank, converting coal to syncrude is feasible. But RCP8.5 carries separate oil and coal streams. Thus that model doesn’t care if the coal (which it assumes is consumed in prodigious quantities) is burned or converted to oil and burned. Their oil curve is for oil. And nobody in their right mind thinks we can produce upwards of 160 million barrels per day in the 2060’s.

        Consider this: that 20 billion barrels is unlikely to peak above 3 million barrels of oil per day, and by 2030 it would be on an irreversible decline.

      • Fernando: If oil production in RCP8.5 is unrealistically high, then more coal than expected will be converted to petroleum products. Propelling cars with fuel made from coal releases more CO2 than using fuel made from petroleum. So the question is whether CO2 levels in RCP8.5 are unrealistic, not whether a particular mix of fuels will be used.

        Historically, a significant growth in GDP has required a significant increase in energy consumption. If there is an economic golden age in the third world and little technological improvement, is RCP8.5 possible even if petroleum is limited?

    • Yes, this “News” was an article in “Oil & Gas Journal” over 3 years ago.
      http://www.ogj.com/articles/uogr/print/volume-1/issue-3/urtec-wolfcamp/wolfcamp-shale-graduates-to-world-class-play.html
      Detailed article about those that really discovered the potential using URT (Unconventional Resources Technology)
      As David Middleton points out – there are amazing resources of Petroleum Energy yet to be “discovered” and made available to Make the World Great!
      Environ-mental-ists just need to find a dark corner and cry, cry, cry…
      Just stay the hell out of the way!

      • Bingo OB. I was afraid my lying eyes had deceived me again as I sat in gas lines during the 80’s due to a manufactured gas shortage after the “. . . Saudi’s turned their oil faucet off.”

    • They wouldnt have released this announcement had Hillary won, they would have announced half or less of the actual finding. Because Hillary would have interfering straight away, carbon tax, oil tax, selling 20% of it off to Qatar, allowing all her friends to get piece of the action and govt too.

      So the timing of the release makes sense ie dont release before an election like this.

  1. The big problem with predictions of depletion for metals, is that we don’t use up metals, we just throw them away. Should prices ever rise high enough, some enterprising young businessman will buy up old land fills and start to mine them for all the resources contained in them.

    • Land fills are just anthropogenic mineral deposits… ;)

      The USGS estimates that the current proved reserves of these five metals (chromium, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten) are sufficient to meet demand for the next 20 to 59 years. For “fun” I estimated the crustal mass of all five metals and estimated how long it would take to literally run out at the current production rate…

      • My only quibble is that total crustal mass includes lots of deposits that are so diffuse that I don’t know if prices will ever rise high enough to make them economical. (Some form of substitute will be found long before prices rise to that kind of level.)
        Regardless, eventually it will become cheaper to start mining landfills than it will be to chase these ever more diffuse deposits.
        Needless to say, I don’t expect this to happen in my lifespan.

        PS: If even one of the metals, etc. that are currently being stored in landfills ever does reach the point where mining landfills for them becomes economic, than the other materials would probably be recovered as well as a side product.

      • So essentially these resources are infinite. The only real limits are of our imagination and being humans we will never run out of that either. We are awesome!

    • It should be noted that current landfills are rather unique. So much concern was placed upon NOT allowing these aggregations to contaminate the local water tables that they are essentially sealed off. In the absence of moisture there has been very decay of even organic matter. Excavations have brought up years-old food stuffs (hot dogs) that look like they were discarded yesterday. I suspect that the future miners will mostly find a huge supply of paper products from packaging and junk mail.

      • For an entertaining and informative romp through the contents of our garbage dumps I recommend the book Rubbish by Rathje and Murphy. They are two archeologists from the University of Arizona who, over beers in the UA faculty club one day wondered just what we are throwing away. They and some students dug through several U.S. garbage dumps using normal archeological tools for sorting and cataloguing their finds. It destroys many of the green’s arguments on this subject.

        uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid1369.htm

      • Cool. If true we have paper resources for centuries to come, but doesn’t that also mean that all the other stuff in there is more easily mined too? As soon as all the over regulation is removed I think technology, or better said, entrepreneurs will find a way to recover all sorts of things at a profit. It’s what we Americans do.

    • The only metals that humanity loses are those that make up spacecraft that exit the solar system. This deficit is made up many times over by incoming meteorites.

      • Almost true. As ALL of the satellites placed into orbit will eventually return to mother earth, we won’t be recovering any of the materials sent off to the other planets. It should also be noted that most of the meteors/bolides/meteorites are not metallic but stony. I am unsure as to the amount of metals brought by meteorites raining down on earth versus the mass of metals and other materials being exported, but I believe it to be far less than we send up each year. And, each year we are sending up less and less metal as it becomes replaced with better strength/weight materials.

      • Even stony meteorites contain some iron and nickel, with the exception of very few, ie the achondrites, with little or no metals.

      • To the extent that metals corrode, and the brittle corrosion products are dispersed into the environment at a concentration that makes them unrecoverable economically, there is a slow loss. Some high value metals like gold have very high recycle rates, others like steel, much less so.

    • Well, I don’t have access to a lot of data to add to these excellent posts on the future prospects of landfill mining, but I do have a personal observation that you might find interesting.

      About 8 years ago (give or take a few) when the price of scrap metal got pretty high, some company with mobile car crusher/shredders went through Northern Indiana and cleared out all the old junkyards. Used to be every county had at least one, and usually several. Several acres of junk cars, along with a few piles of broken appliances, torn off tin roofing, and other scrap. All of it got shredded and loaded into hopper trailers and trucked off (to China according to local rumor).

      Nowadays there are a few auto junkyards still around, but they usually only hold cars that are up to 25 years old, and only those that can be parted out for someone looking for a few used parts. Most of the scrap gets hauled across the scales at a recycling Plant like OmniSource. In fact, now every county has a metal recycling center, and usually several. ^¿^

      We probably will one day mine the old town dumps and landfills, but they might not be as full of treasure as you’d think. Most of it isn’t making it there anymore.

    • David,

      Peak anything also depends on new technologies not expanding the existing reserves. One can never know what will happen in the future with technology and discovery. So peaks will exist for some things but it will be rare for us to know when it will peak or if it will be a permanent peak. Sperm whale oil could be something that has peaked but if it comes into demand and someone comes up with a biological (or other) way to make it outside the sperm whale, it will “unpeak”.
      Other things may never peak as new supplies are continuously discovered and new technologies develop. More likely is what happened with whale oil for most uses: something better like petroleum will come along and fewer people will care about the former resource. As things approach peak, whether temporary or not (no one knows at the time if it is temporary), supply and demand may cause prices to rise, which can either drive new technology for that same resource or drive development of alternate replacement resources. Just thinking out loud here.

    • MarkW, you should see our landfill today as compared to 35 years ago. A tremendous amount of garbage is being separated and recycled. They are siphoning off methane gas and use to produce the electricity to run the operation and even feed excess into the grid. They chomp up yard waste and are turning it into compost and re selling it to the public. Are they getting all of it? Not yet but I believe eventually we will do better. I am not a warmist but even so we do need to take care of the place as best as we can ( One of my uncles in the 50’s actually became a multimillionaire being in the recycling business , it is nothing new)

  2. Biggest problem is….people really have no concept of how big this planet really is…
    …and how little of it we really know

    • To paraphrase Billy Bob Thornton in Armageddon

      Beg’n your pardon sir, but it’s a big-ass Earth.

    • You can start by erasing all the oceanic plates from your oil prospecting map. Then take all regions where volcanics, granite and metamorphic rocks are at the surface or within 100 meters of the surface and erase that as well. Erase Antarctica. Erase every rock layer hotter than 250 degrees C. Erase everything deeper than 10 thousand meters below the surface. What’s leftover is where we can have a remote chance to produce oil. If there’s no source rock you can erase it as well. If it’s dilled up like say the Gulf of Mexico shelf or the large Saudi fields there’s very low chance of finding anything meaningful beyond what we already know about. There just isn’t that much we don’t know about that will make a difference.

      • Why erase Antarctica, except for political reasons? IIRC, there was some chatter about huge coal deposits being found there. Where there is coal, isn’t there frequently oil?

      • Fernando,

        The shelf’s “not dead yet.” I’m just one geo, working EC South Addition and a few other areas and I find at least a couple of million barrel plus prospects every March lease sale. I’ve discovered about 15 millions barrels in EC South Addition over the past ten years, mostly from one field that I’ve worked for four different companies since 1988. This was largely the result of reprocessing 1990’s vintage 3d data several times as computer technology advanced. I like to think that I am exceptional; but i’m probably only a bit better than average and there are a lot of other people doing what I do.

      • David, that oil you find doesn’t help worldwide oil production go above 100 million BArrels of crude oil and condensate PER DAY. (I don’t count NGL and biofuels). I have seen plans for mega developments in Venezuela, Russia, Kazakstan and Iran/Iraq. And even those cant help us from reaching a C&C peak by 2040. Why do you think all agencies and oil companies stop their forecasts by 2040? They don’t want to let the cat out of the bag.

  3. When do you think that the abiotic theory of “fossil” fuel origin will become the new discovery. Tom Gold needs a disciple to carry forth his work.There is just too much oil under the earth’s surface.

    Dan Kurt

      • Just what evidence is there to support the biotic theory? This can be traced back to an idea originally put forward in the Eighteenth Century and not seriously reconsidered since.

        The Russians are very supportive of the abiotic theory, and they are no slouches at petroleum geology.

      • Ah yes, the Russian claim. Funny, I’ve been to many international conferences, and still can’t find those Russians who are looking for abiotic oil. I worked on one of the largest fields on earth which produces from basement granite, Bach Ho in Viet Nam. The geologists from Viet Nam and their Russian partner, VietSovPetro were all of the opinion that the oil was produced in the Eocene organic shales which lap up onto the fractured granitic reservoir rock. I have a very nice Russian seismic line demonstrating that quite clearly.

      • @Roger Graves

        It’s possible that oil forms in the mantle all the time. However, without viable migration pathways, it rapidly cooks off. It’s also possible that oil’s biogeochemical markers were leached out of organic rich shales rather than being formational components. There just isn’t any evidence to support either of these scenarios.

        Biogenic vs abiogenic is really a poor way to characterize the issue. It implies that the formation of crude oil is either a biological or non-biological process. The process is thermogenic. The original source material is considered to be of organic origin because all of the evidence supports this. Every phase of the process can be observed in nature it has been repeated under laboratory conditions.

        Ultimately, the entire debate is academic. “Oil is where you find it.” However it originally formed, it has to be found in economic accumulations.

      • @Doug,

        Source Rocks
        The effective source rocks are the Upper Oligocene shale that is present throughout the basin and the Lower Oligocene interbedded shale. They contain mostly kerogen type I/II generated from lacustrine sediments. The average TOC is from more than 1% up to nearly 10%; the hydrogen index ranges from 300 to more than 600 mg/gTOC (Figure 5).

        Fractured Basement Reservoir
        Fractured basement reservoirs are the unique characteristics of the Cuu Long basin, although there are other oil discoveries in clastics and volcanics plays. The first oil discovery in basement was made by Vietsopetro in the Bach Ho field in 1988. Oil was stored in macro-fractures, micro-fractures, and vuggy pores. The matrix porosity of the magmatic body is negligible. Fractures inside the basement may originate from one or a combination of the following factors:
        1) The cooling of the magmatic body
        2) Tectonic activity
        3) Hydrothermal processes
        4) Weathering and exfoliation.

        http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/documents/2004/hung/

        Organic markers in the oil match the kerogen in the Oligocene shale. For the “abiotic theory” to work, the oil would have had to migrate out of the granite, leach the organic material from the shale and then migrate back into the granite.

      • Roger: What evidence is there to support the biotic theory?
        For one thing, ALL deposits found to date are located where the biotic theory says the should be located.
        Every attempt to find oil in other places has ended in failure.

      • Here’s an interesting item I posted on sci.space.policy, way back when, from Space Studies Institute”s “Update,Jan/Feb 1995, p. 3:

        Organic Element Composition of Celestial and Terrestrial Sources(from J. Lewis, “Resources of Near-Earth Space,” p 552) The composition of (astroidal) meteorites is remarkably similar to fossil fuel sources on Earth. The resources available to humanity in non-planetary space are enormous compared to our knowledge base at the beginning of the space age.

        COMPOSITION BY WEIGHT (Percent)

        C1 Meteorite: carbon: 74; hydrogen: 5; oxygen:10; nitrogen:2;
        sulphur:7.

        C2 Meteorite: carbon: 78; hydrogen: 3; oxygen:13; nitrogen: 2;
        sulphur: 4.

        Oil Shale, KY: carbon: 82; hydrogen: 7; oxygen: 6; nitrogen: 2;
        sulphur: 2.

        Bituminous,PA: carbon: 82; hydrogen: 6; oxygen: 9; nitrogen: 2;
        sulphur:1.

        Anthracite: carbon: 89; hydrogen: 4; oxygen: 5; nitrogen: 1;
        sulphur: 1.

        Petroleum: carbon: 85; hydrogen:11; oxygen:1; nitrogen:1;
        sulphur:3.

      • “For the “abiotic theory” to work, the oil would have had to migrate out of the granite, leach the organic material from the shale and then migrate back into the granite.”

        My understanding is the abiotic theory proposes mineral methane as the source and its conversion “biotically” to kerogens. While this is no holy grail, there is the problem of explaining why there appear to be orders of magnitude too much methane to have been produced by the living biomass thought to have ever existed.

      • @gymnosperm,

        Inorganically sourced methane is massively abundant. I’ve stated this several times.

        Methane is not oil. It’s not even remotely close to being oil.

        Regarding the fractured granite reservoirs. The oil has organic markers which match the kerogen in the adjacent shale formations. This means that the oil could not have formed in the granite.

      • Methane is not oil. It’s not even remotely close to being oil.
        ==================
        Crude oil is mostly made of Alkanes: C(n)H(2n+2)

        CH4 (methane) is an Alkane, where n=1
        ethane, n=2
        propane, n=3
        butane, n=4
        gasoline, n=8

      • While it’s not impossible, there is absolutely no evidence to support it.

        Actually there is

        Russia, who developed the theory and who Tom Gold (astronomer) plagiarized as his own in 1979 (he spoke and read Russian.) has 4,000 published scientific monographs describing how it works . . . all currently untranslated into English. Through lack of interest by western science who view it with the same disdain with which they greeted–and vilified–Wegener’s ideas on Continental Drift throughout the 20s/30s/40s/50s. That is, until a couple of adventurous Canadian geologists used Wegener’s ideas in the 60s to prove teutonic plates existed.

        Evidence of the existence of abiotic oil is the massive Dneiper-Donatz Basin field in Eastern Ukraine, which was brought in using abiotic theory. Eastern Ukraine being the present site of geopolitical trouble, and where Joe Biden’s son is waiting to take the fields over.

        This website contains some of the archival material about it; that is, what’s available in English.
        http://www.gasresources.net
        Dr. J F Kenney, the only American scientist working with them, published a paper about it with his Russian colleagues here:
        http://www.pnas.org/content/99/17/10976.full

      • @MRW,

        Evidence of abiogenic crude oil would consist of an actual example of a significant volume of abiogenic crude oil. The possibility of something is not evidence of it.

      • David M,
        You said, “It’s possible that oil forms in the mantle all the time. However, without viable migration pathways, it rapidly cooks off. ” What would be the nature of what cooks off — diamonds or methane?

      • I never understood the hydrocarbons from dinosaurs, hence the term fossil fuels. We are finding hydrocarbons everywhere we look for it in our galaxy. Regardless of what is an accepted proven theory, which is more plausible? That the subduction of rock, seawater and organic material into the mantle where under high pressure and temperature, hydrocarbons are formed. They rise to the surface and are sometimes blocked by impermeable rock and form underground reservoirs. Or at one time, dinosaurs ruled the galaxy.

      • There is no oil from dinosaurs. In the VietNam example nicely illustrated by Dave, it is from a laccustrine algae known as botryococcus. Algae, plankton, higher plants are the source, not the dinos..

      • The dinosaur nonsense is just one more example of abiotic oil affcianados being totally ignorant of the actual conventional theory of hydrocarbon formation.

      • Clyde,

        The dry gas doesn’t cook off. However, pressure and temperature eventually make the rock unproducible.

    • Jack Kenney of Gas Resources Corporation, collaborating with Ukrainian and Russian colleagues, has carried on Gold’s work. IMO there might be some abiotic petroleum or oil produced from deep microbes, but most if not all of it found to date is of biological origin. Gas is produced both biotically and abiotically, but IMO coal is of organic origin.

      • MRW November 17, 2016 at 8:34 am Edit
        The East Ukraine Dneiper-Donetsk Basin oil is proof of bringing in a field using the Russian/Ukraine abiotic theory.

        Nonsense on two levels.

        1) We don’t bring oil fields on using any theories about hydrocarbon formation. The theory was deveoped from the observations of hydrocarbon accumulations.

        2) Dneiper-Donetsk Basin has clearly identifiable sedimentary source rocks…

        Palaeozoic source rocks in the Dniepr–Donets Basin, Ukraine

        Reinhard F. Sachsenhofer, Viacheslav A. Shymanovskyy, Achim Bechtel, Reinhard Gratzer, Brian Horsfield, Doris Reischenbacher
        DOI: 10.1144/1354-079309-032 Published on November 2010, First Published on October 20, 2010
        ArticleFiguresInfo & Metrics PDF
        Abstract

        ABSTRACT The Dniepr–Donets Basin (DDB) is a major petroleum province in Eastern Europe. In order to understand the regional and stratigraphic distribution of source rocks for the dominantly gas-prone petroleum system, 676 fine-grained rocks from 30 wells were analysed for bulk parameters (total organic carbon (TOC), carbonate, sulphur, RockEval). A subset of samples was selected for maceral and biomarker analysis, pyrolysis-gas chromatography and kinetic investigations. Organic-rich sediments occur in different intervals within the basin fill. Maximum TOC contents (5.0 ± 1.9%) occur in the Rudov Beds, several tens of metres thick. The oil-prone rocks (Type III–II kerogen) were deposited in basinal settings above an unconformity separating Lower and Upper Visean sections. While maximum TOC contents occur in the Rudov Beds, high TOC contents are observed in the entire Tournaisian and Visean section. However, these rocks are mainly gas condensate-prone. Highly oil-prone black shales with up to 16% TOC and hydrogen index values up to 550 mgHC g–1TOC occur in Serpukhovian intervals in the northwestern part of the DDB. Oil-prone Lower Serpukhovian and gas condensate-prone Middle Carboniferous coal is widespread in the southern and southeastern part of the basin. Although no source rocks with a Devonian age were detected, their presence cannot be excluded.

        http://pg.geoscienceworld.org/content/16/4/377.abstract

      • The East Ukraine Dneiper-Donetsk Basin oil is proof of bringing in a field using the Russian/Ukraine abiotic theory.

      • MRW November 17, 2016 at 8:34 am Edit
        The East Ukraine Dneiper-Donetsk Basin oil is proof of bringing in a field using the Russian/Ukraine abiotic theory.

        Nonsense on two levels.

        1) We don’t bring oil fields on using any theories about hydrocarbon formation. The theory was deveoped from the observations of hydrocarbon accumulations.

        2) Dneiper-Donetsk Basin has clearly identifiable sedimentary source rocks…

        Palaeozoic source rocks in the Dniepr–Donets Basin, Ukraine

        Reinhard F. Sachsenhofer, Viacheslav A. Shymanovskyy, Achim Bechtel, Reinhard Gratzer, Brian Horsfield, Doris Reischenbacher
        DOI: 10.1144/1354-079309-032 Published on November 2010, First Published on October 20, 2010
        ArticleFiguresInfo & Metrics PDF
        Abstract

        ABSTRACT The Dniepr–Donets Basin (DDB) is a major petroleum province in Eastern Europe. In order to understand the regional and stratigraphic distribution of source rocks for the dominantly gas-prone petroleum system, 676 fine-grained rocks from 30 wells were analysed for bulk parameters (total organic carbon (TOC), carbonate, sulphur, RockEval). A subset of samples was selected for maceral and biomarker analysis, pyrolysis-gas chromatography and kinetic investigations. Organic-rich sediments occur in different intervals within the basin fill. Maximum TOC contents (5.0 ± 1.9%) occur in the Rudov Beds, several tens of metres thick. The oil-prone rocks (Type III–II kerogen) were deposited in basinal settings above an unconformity separating Lower and Upper Visean sections. While maximum TOC contents occur in the Rudov Beds, high TOC contents are observed in the entire Tournaisian and Visean section. However, these rocks are mainly gas condensate-prone. Highly oil-prone black shales with up to 16% TOC and hydrogen index values up to 550 mgHC g–1TOC occur in Serpukhovian intervals in the northwestern part of the DDB. Oil-prone Lower Serpukhovian and gas condensate-prone Middle Carboniferous coal is widespread in the southern and southeastern part of the basin. Although no source rocks with a Devonian age were detected, their presence cannot be excluded.

        http://pg.geoscienceworld.org/content/16/4/377.abstract

  4. There are big fights currently between the oil companies in a quest to get royalty agreements with landowners within the Wolfcamp formation. For the US, this is a huge deal. The oil is in an area that can be easily exploited and a lot of the infrastructure is in place to deliver it. And it is in a oil friendly state.

    Saudi Arabia and Russia are in big trouble with this one. With oil supply probably just now matching oil consumption across the world and oil pricing at levels that can’t support further development of a lot of oil fields, they are counting on reduced overall production in the future to bring the price of oil up. This will just prolong soft oil prices. Both these countries main source of revenue is oil, and with Trump changing our energy policy to favor domestic production, I think what gives will be SA and Russia.

    • There is so much oil, that oil tankers are simply drifting about the oceans waiting for a buyer; consequently, the price will remain low. Once the EPA is off the backs of American fossil fuel energy producers, the price might be cheaper than a gallon of sea water.

    • Saudia Arabia and Russia are not the only OPEC members who need the benchmark price of crude to be to be significantly above $50 per barrel to balance their budget. These data showing the price of oil needed to balance the budgets of OPEC members are from a table that is about 1/2 way down in the article at cnbc.com/2015/12/03/oil-prices-and-budgetsthe-opec-countries-most-at-risk.html

      Algeria $96.10
      Angola $110.00
      Ecuador n/a
      Iran $87.20
      Iraq $81.00
      Kuwait $49.10
      Libya $269.00
      Nigeria $122.70
      Qatar $55.50
      Saudi Arabia $105.60
      UAE $72.60
      Venezuela $117.50

      How sad for them! Not!

      • Ecuador is around $50 if the government delivers a better business environment. But the only big one we know about is ITT and that’s in a very delicate jungle. Venezuela is lower than $117 for the top rated sectors like say Carabobo 1 – if the government changes. I’ve seen these charts for where the prospects for a whole country are given a single value, but each country has dozens of tiers.

        I’m extremely familiar with Venezuela, and there are some spots where, if the tax regime changes to a production sharing agreement and the government isn’t run by a nutty dictator, we can turn a decent profit at $50. The problem I see is that Maduro is incredibly stupid and a very repressive ruler, mentored by Raúl Castro, and Obama (and a majority of the USA illuminati) think Raúl Castro is a nice old man and deserves USA help. Big mistake. Might as well write off Venezuela if Trump doesn’t deal with Raúl Castro to get Maduro out of the picture.

    • What “gives” is easiest to predict. The follow up “takes” is more interesting scenario … how does Russia react when it needs to quickly adjust its economic model, & which direction does SA go when the disposable income is cut by 80%.

  5. “The Malthusian record of failed predictions is perfect. Every single Malthusian prediction in recorded history has turned out to be wrong…” Despite that, the world is full of true believers.

    • People believe what they want to believe.
      Also, people tend to believe that whatever their environment is, must be universal.
      Thus people who live in crowded cities find it easy to believe that the entire world is over crowded.
      Mere data can’t over come the view out their window, despite the fact that the percentage of the world being viewed out their window is microscopically minuscule.

      • MarkW,

        You are so right about this. Even my fairly conservative friends (ie those not normally inclined to catastrophic doomsdaying) living in big cities complain about overcrowding. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about it. Having just driven across the country, from northern Idaho to Virginia, I can tell you, we’re not overcrowded one teensie little bit!

        rip

      • ripshin,
        The interior is not crowded because 91% of the people live in big cities, mostly along the coasts, It would be a much different story if everyone were distributed uniformly. Even so, except for public lands in the west, there are few places one can hunt or hike on without trespassing. Also, if people were to migrate out of the cities, there would less agricultural land to feed everyone if homes were built on flat land. Your urban friends are viewing the future out their windows.

      • Clyde, nobody has suggested moving people out of cities.
        The point was that people’s personal environments impact their view of the world as a whole.

    • Eschatology reveals more about human foibles than it does about the future.
      Doomsday predictions have two things in common: they have a track record of being perfectly wrong, and they have an ability to gather believers.
      “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” – Niels Bohr

  6. Five posts to the “abiotic” troll. Might be a new record. All these rather impermiable organic shales producing oil after fracking are actually proof of the biotic origins of the hydrocarbons we produce. The hydrocarbons did not frack their way into those shales, they were deposited with them.

    I don’t know what “too much oil” would be, but geologic time is a powerful fact. Slow sedimentation coupled with a high level of biologic activity can result in a layer of rock with one heck of a lot of oil in it when you have millions of years to work with.

  7. Now that we have hope the EPA will revisit their notion of “Carbon pollution”, will they also publically acknowledge that CO2 is the base of the food chain, and the singular point of failure in the Carbon cycle of life?

    Extracting as much efficiency as possible from fossil fuels is a worthy goal, but what’s the reason for weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels if CO2 is considered necessary for life?

    • “Carbon pollution”
      =============
      fossil fuel burning releases tons of water in addition to carbon dioxide, and water is a powerful GHG. So why do we not hear about “Hydrogen Pollution”?

    • We already seem to be heading towards an optimum concentration, say 500 ppm. That amount of co2 won’t get down below 300 ppm for a while. And we do need to save coal to help us deal with future ice ages.

  8. One of the United States’ greatest untapped resources is the highway system in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas and other lightly populated and lightly developed states. Driving through these places, one is impressed by the vast and beautiful wilderness that fills most of the nation. Alternatively one could take a window seat on a transcontinental flight and enjoy the view instead of watching a movie.

  9. What’s even more interesting is that there are a lot of well-proved reserves that we previously tapped and abandoned, that are perfect candidates for re-drilling and extracting with new technologies.

    I know for a fact that there are a lot of big oil reserves under east Texas that were never touched because they only used conventional drilling at the time. My father used to sell oil rig drill bits in that area, and he used to show me all of the deposits that everyone knew were there, but were “impossible” to extract because of the geology. He actually talked about horizontal drilling, which wasn’t popular at the time because it was harder to control.

    There’s also a lot of old abandoned oil wells that would probably be good producers if you could just drop a fracking package down the hole to open things back up. Unfortunately, due to some silly regulations, it’s illegal to reopen old wells…

    • It’s not that simple and it’s not a regulatory issue. Most of the oil production from East Texas is from conventional carbonate and sandstone reservoirs. Fracking or re-fracking these wells wouldn’t increase recovery. The wells either watered-out or pressure-depleted. While enhanced recovery methods like water-flood and CO2 injection could recover more oil, they are not currently economic in most cases.

      Some plays in East Texas were among the first horizontal drilling and fracking success stories. While Mitchell Energy’s success in the Barrett Shale in North Central Texas got all the headlines, they also had a lot of success in the Bossier Shale in East Texas. However, the Bossier and most East Texas shale plays are gas-prone.

      • You’re considering the “easy” fields that were actually exploited – and not the ones that were passed over because they were uneconomic to produce at the time. There’s a LOT of stuff in between that was effectively ignored because it was too much trouble with the tech they had. Hell, there’s probably still wide stretches of that area that haven’t been seriously explored since the “set off some dynamite and listen for echoes” days.

        Don’t look at the main body of the Bossier Shale, look at all of the little stuff west of there, out to about Dallas. There’s a crapton of oil there that was never touched because it was too hard to extract at the time.

        There were quite a few fields that were irregular enough in contour underground that normal drilling wouldn’t touch multiple reservoirs – you’d be surprised. My dad knew those fields like the back of his hand, and talked about that sort of thing all the time, to the point where I still remember it decades later.

        Don’t forget that the vast majority of “old” wells that slowed down too much to be uneconomic were never touched by enhanced recovery techniques, including just not even replacing the original 1920s pumpjacks when they wore out.

    • A lot if not all old wells have had the straw in the ground filled with concrete. Be much easier to drill ten feet or less away to get to the same destination.

      • That’s not legal, unless they’ve changed the rules recently. Supposedly, once a well has been capped, you can’t open it back up. Tax laws, too (writing off as a loss because it no longer produced enough takes it out of consideration, I think).

      • An abandoned well can be reentered. I’ve done it. Regulations change from country to country, and state to state. The problem we face is the junk they leave in, or drop down the well when they think nobody is getting back in there. When I’ve looked at re-entry I’ve found the junk and cement make it too much of a gamble. But we can drill a new well nearby knowing exactly what we will find, so it can be easy. Or it can be much harder if the old well dropped pressures so low we have trouble getting through the low pressure zone. I wouldn’t put much into the volumes to be produced from old abandoned wells. It’s peanuts.

  10. Cornucopians tend to forget the concentration of the ores and the extremes we have to go now to get what we need, As the low hanging fruit has been already collected we have to go higher and with a greater expense to pick what is left.

    There was a time when all we had to do was to make a hole in the ground and oil would simply come out in great amounts due to its own pressure. Nowadays we have to break the rocks to get tiny streams of oil and a thousand wells are required for what was obtained from a single one. The cost and energy required to continue obtaining our resources is and will always be on the increase to a point when we won’t be able to afford it, whether there is more left or not.

    When that happens we will enter a permanent state of semi-crisis and while the rich will still get everything, a growing number of people will get less and less and they will get so unsatisfied that they will start voting with their feet… Oh, wait. That is already happening.

      • If that was the case, this curve would be moving in the opposite direction…

        Not necessarily. Things can become less affordable because they are more expensive or because people have less means:


        US real household median income.

        And a third way things become less affordable to a society is when the cost is bore by others, like the effect of oil being cheaper that what it costs to be produced has on oil companies. Even if you don’t notice, society becomes poorer.

      • David, Javier strikes me as one of those people who are emotionally invested in the notion that we are running out of stuff and the world needs people like him to force the rest of us to come to our senses.

        It’s a lot like how people cling to various conspiracy theories. It gives them a sense of importance when they realize that they are one of a small group of people who have figured out the conspiracy that has completely fooled the rest of the population. That’s why they won’t let go of their delusion, even when presented with conclusive proof. To abandon the theory means abandoning the one thing that gives their life meaning.

      • Society is not becoming poorer…

        And the cost of natural resources as a % of GDP exhibits no upward trend…

        http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.TOTL.RT.ZS

        The global per capita food supply has steadily increased since 1960…

        Source: UN FAOSTAT

        Per capita real GDP has risen at the same rate as the population…

        Per capita food supply has also risen with the population…

        And… Amazingly… Per capita food supply and per capita GDP are highly correlated…

        The percentage of the world’s population suffering from undernourishment has steadily declined over the last 40 years, despite a rising population…

        Very few nations have failed to reach the MDG 1 target of reducing the percentage of their population suffering from undernourishment by 50%…

        The world isn’t running out of water either. The UN FAO Aquastat data base showed that in the year 2000, the world’s total renewable water resource was 53,730 x 10^9 m3/yr. The total withdrawal was estimated to be 2,871 x 10^9 m3/yr. That’s a 5% utilization rate.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/25/the-simon-erlich-wager-at-seven-billion-people/

      • Society is not becoming poorer…

        David,
        I am not arguing about what you have shown. The point at this time is which society? Asia is consuming an increasing share of world’s oil at the expense mainly of OECD. At the same time there is a transfer of wealth from Occident to Orient. OECD societies are in strain since 2008 and not getting significantly better. If OECD societies are not getting poorer on average, they are getting poorer on median, as the divide between richer and poorer is increasing. Where are you living? Why do you think people in Britain are so afraid of immigration as to vote out of the EU, and the same in the USA. Southern Europe is becoming left populist while Northern Europe is becoming right populist. Surely that is because we are all getting oh so much better and richer. At the same time central banks all over the world are inundating the system with new minted money to keep it afloat. We live in extraordinary times and this is related to the end of new cheap oil that took place around 2004. The expensive oil that we frack is no good substitute, so technology does not solve depletion. The cost of producing oil has been on the increase since, and making it cheap to the consumer by putting the load on the oil companies and oil nations is only a temporary measure.

      • David, Javier strikes me as one of those people who are emotionally invested in the notion that we are running out of stuff and the world needs people like him to force the rest of us to come to our senses.

        MarkW,

        Bullshit. Next thing you will tell us is that you live inside my head and that is how you know what I think and feel.

        If you don’t have anything to add just shut, and everybody else would be grateful.

      • Javier November 16, 2016 at 10:21 am
        “Society is not becoming poorer…”

        David,
        I am not arguing about what you have shown. The point at this time is which society? Asia is consuming an increasing share of world’s oil at the expense mainly of OECD. At the same time there is a transfer of wealth from Occident to Orient. OECD societies are in strain since 2008 and not getting significantly better. If OECD societies are not getting poorer on average, they are getting poorer on median, as the divide between richer and poorer is increasing. Where are you living?

        […]

        Where else?

        The “strain since 2008” is due to a sharp recession and the weakest recovery since 1947. We can’t undo the former and we fixed the latter on November 8.

      • The “strain since 2008” is due to a sharp recession and the weakest recovery since 1947. We can’t undo the former and we fixed the latter on November 8.

        Well good luck with that fix. Japan has been trying to fix its situation since 1990. A person can improve things or make them worse, but cannot change what it is beyond his powers.

      • Javier, Bullshit back at ya.
        Society isn’t getting poorer. Just because your professors have programmed you to believe something, doesn’t make it so.
        Your rich getting richer whine is cute, but it just shows that the only thing that matters to you is that there are people who have more than you do, and that makes you feel awful.
        As to the east getting richer. So what, more power to them.
        They aren’t getting richer at our expense, that’s discredited Malthusian thinking.

      • Javier: Japan has been struggling for years, and this proves that the current US recession is permanent?
        Sheesh, that’s got to take a record in terms of shallow thinking.
        Japan is stagnating because it has adopted the same failed policies that the Democrats want to force on the country. Raise taxes so that the government can spend more.

      • Javier November 16, 2016 at 9:35 am

        Hello Javier,
        Pretty picture. but what does it have to do with the price of tea in china? Our financial melt down in2008 was not caused by the cost of oil.

        The interesting thing about the costs of oil coal and natural gas is almost everyone is on a equal playing field if you must import. You pay market price. A government can subsidize it so some industries pay less for power and can thus under cut foreign competition, but in the end that society is still paying market valve, they’re just shifting fool in their society pays. Th U.S. may be able to produce fuel for market consumption that is below extra national prices. That means we might re open the alum smelters and subsidize their foreign exports, do to the Chinese what they did to us. Wreck their industry. If the Brits ditch the Paris agreement like us and fire up oil and coal power plants they may also be able to start producing their own metals.

        Note that your down word line coincides with all the green initiatives? Destroy jobs the household income goes down. And boy but does that green revolution, kill jobs

        michael

    • So far, we are being rescued by technology. We are doing a lot more and using less material. Consider the amount of material needed to make an old fashioned rotary phone. Compare that with a cell phone. Technical sophistication results in more and more efficiency.

      A one-quarter-ton communication satellite is now outperforming the previously used 175,000 tons of transatlantic copper cables, with this 700,000-fold reduction in system-equipment weight providing greater message-carrying capacity and transmission fidelity, as well as using vastly fewer kilowatts of operational energy. link

      Sometimes the saving is dramatic.

      • Jevons paradox explains why any apparent saving is turned into increased consumption. We are not being saved by anything. We are just marching on towards depletion. You cannot fool physics and this is after all a finite planet.

      • Increased consumption means each of us has more.
        Why do you consider having more to be such a bad thing.
        The planet may be finite, but intelligence is infinite. Intelligence allows us to find ways to do the same with less, or to use something else for the same purpose.
        As I wrote above, nothing is really thrown away, it just goes into storage till we need it again.

      • MARKW says: “Increased consumption means each of us has more.”
        ….
        That is not true. If the population of the planet doubles, and total consumption increases by 10%, each of us has less.

      • Why do you consider having more to be such a bad thing.

        Being in a party with free punch is great. But sooner or later the party is over.

        The planet may be finite, but intelligence is infinite.

        You are getting this quote backwards. Einstein said:
        “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

      • Henry, true, but not responsive to the point that Javier made.
        IE, cheaper prices results in people just consuming more.

      • Javier, why do you work so hard to defend the disproven belief that things are getting worse?
        I wasn’t referencing the Einstein quote. My point about human intelligence constantly finding better ways to do old things still stands.
        From your attempts to evade rather than deal with that fact, I can only conclude that you agree with me.

      • MarkW,

        That’s an opinion based on shaky assumptions. A look at the evolution of capital expenditures by oil companies over the last 25 years indicates that we might already be in trouble.

      • Javier November 16, 2016 at 10:03 am Edit
        MarkW,

        That’s an opinion based on shaky assumptions. A look at the evolution of capital expenditures by oil companies over the last 25 years indicates that we might already be in trouble.

        The graph is of “Listed Oil Majors”… It’s just the publicly traded major integrated oil companies like Shell, ExxonMobil, etc. It excludes about 85% of oil producers.

      • The graph is of “Listed Oil Majors”… It’s just the publicly traded major integrated oil companies like Shell, ExxonMobil, etc. It excludes about 85% of oil producers.

        David,
        you won’t think that oil is getting more expensive only for IOCs, do you? It is not only the majors that are getting in trouble. Venezuela, Nigeria and Libya are having very serious troubles, but even Saudi Arabia has started selling huge amounts of bonds. 17.5 billions just last month. This is all an indication of business as usual, right?

      • Javier, there you go with that one dimensional thinking again.
        There are many, many reasons behind why oil companies decide to make capital investments.
        Your belief that it MUST be because they know we are running out of oil is cute, but unsupported by anything in this world.

      • Javier: Sheesh, study a little for once. You have a habit of taking any fact that might support your position and then torture it until it does.
        Venezuela is in trouble because their communist government is corrupt and incompetant.
        Libya is having trouble because their society is falling apart.
        Saudia Arabia is having troubles because current oil prices do not support their domestinc spending budget.

      • Javier is right, MarkW is wrong. We as an industry need more $ to get a given amount of oil extracted. I won’t get into the details, this is a climate blog. Anybody who thinks we don’t face a long term trend of increasing input costs just doesn’t understand the industry. However, they are in good company, the bean counters at Morgan Stanley had “predicted” $25 per barrel. And I remember when the turkeys at The Economist wrote in 1996 that we faced $6 oil forever.

      • Mark W,
        I’m going to play Devil’ Advocate here. There is good reason to believe that human intelligence will always save us because we have such a good track record. However, that isn’t proof. It is at least a possibility that our vaunted intelligence will fail us at some point in the future, or even if we know how to solve a particularly difficult problem, we may fail because of time constraints. Therefore, I’d suggest a little humility and at least entertain the idea that we are fallible. We should be looking forward and try to anticipate problems before they become a serious threat. Many people discount Hubbert’s Peak Oil theory. However, I think it at least gives us a guide to know what path we have to follow in the future. If we act like Pollyannas, and only live for the moment with the expectation that we will always be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat when needed, we may be very sorely disappointed in the future.

      • Increasing Capex for oil production is no more indicative of running out of oil than increasing Capex for automobile production is indicative of running out of automobiles. I do wish that increasing Capex required to elect politicians would be indicative of running out of politicians.

    • Javier, this is why it is a worldwide imperative that ALL govts must transition, sooner rather than later, from centralized command-and-control mode — where totalitarian govts see themselves as paramount — to ones of individual freedom where the protection of those freedoms, fairly and equally for all citizens, is the top responsibility of that govt.

      Alas, worldwide, so few people, relatively speaking, comprehend, appreciate and desire this govt construct; however, most govts, especially the dictatorships, want to keep it this way. [read: global warming scam … which is the hoax of the century … used as a tool to keep people “under control”.]

      Such has been the history of mankind, and, such will lead to our destruction unless we, as a global society, whether as individual nations, begin to transition much more proactively toward the welcoming of the universal freedom of the individual.

      To wit:

      [a] it has been the totalitarian state — put any label on it that you may want: socialist, marxist, communist, etc — which have, and continue to be, responsible for, by far, the most destructive environmental practices and results. there are so many examples of this … and one can begin in the Paleolithic [and probably before].

      [b] it is the societies of free people — where their freedoms are protected by the govts, by LAW as constructed by the citizens — where such societies have flourished and environmental concerns have been largely addressed. [read: mostly western-type societies … although, of course, far from perfect.]

      There is a simple and basic reason for this: totalitarian govts — through lies, deceptions, mandates, brute force, etc — are motivated by holding their positions of power by ANY means necessary; on the other hand, free people, who are able to pursue their dreams, are motivated primarily by building their families and their communities and, as a rule, do not “soil their own nests”. [Happy people tend not to f**k with others.]

      Further, oppressed peoples, third world peoples and etc are more concerned about living day-to-day … where environmental concerns are not front-burner issues [if they are issues at all].

      There are no guarantees regarding the future of humanity and nature in our forward path, but, I have yet to hear a “reasonable” argument as to why any such totalitarian govt will not result in the same outcome — where “we will enter a permanent state of semi-crisis and while the rich will still get everything” — should we continue down the totalitarian path to any degree whatsoever. [We are all familiar with the adage: the definition of insanity is repeating the same things … and you know the rest.]

      In the meantime, I and many others, are of the belief that with FREE PEOPLE the world may not find perfection, but, more than likely we will find “excellence” and we will find the “right way” and we will survive, and, perhaps thrive. [Note: we are NOT seeking “perfection”.]

      How do I know? Ask our grandparents, their grandparents … ad nauseum. I am sure that they faced challenges, if not similar than much more difficult than ours … and they did okay … as we are the living proof of their acceptance of those challenges and their persistence in life’s struggle.

      [Note: we can solve the man-made environmental problems very simply: total human suicide. Any takers? Otherwise, we have challenges to meet and work to do, and then, yes, we will die and most likley our offspring will carry on.]

      • Johnny Cuyana, thank you so much for a clear and concise comment on the cruel failure of totalitarianism and the bright hope of freedom. Far too many people lack freedom, and the solution to their suffering is freedom. Proof: Totalitarianism (Kings, Communists, Socialists, leftists of all kinds, etc.; anyone willing to enslave you for their own benefit) always produce death, suffering of all kind, and a poor life or the majority of their people. On the other hand, freedom brings health, wealth, and happiness to more people than any other system.
        Thanks again for your insightful comments that show your love for your fellow man.

      • the world may not find perfection
        ================
        perfection is the enemy of good.

        the cost of perfection is infinite. so for example, if the EPA was to require 0.00000% pollution from all human activity, all human activity would be illegal.

        however, if you require 0.01% pollution of less, this can be achieved at reasonable cost and the health effects will be minimal. The problem comes about because there is a bureaucratic tendency to “improve” upon good. So what starts out as 0.01% get changed to 0.001%, then 0.0001%, and ultimately to 0.00000% and what started as a good idea ends up as a nightmare of runaway costs chasing unobtainable goals.

    • Eventually the sun is going to run out of hydrogen as well.
      Just because something is going to happen doesn’t mean that it is going to happen any time soon.

      • Yes, but we have gone from 2 billion to 7.4 billion in just 85 years tremendously increasing our resources consumption. In the same time we went from finding the giant oil fields of Arabia to crack the rocks to obtain oil. Somehow I don’t think we have eons to continue this game.

      • Nobody said we can continue this for eons. We have enough for 100 years or more. At the rate technology is advancing, I have no doubt that future technology will extend that time frame tremendously.
        Beyond that, future technology that we can’t even imagine today may make oil obsolete long before it runs out.
        This is a problem for our great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren to worry about.

      • PS: EVen the UN thinks the population is going to peak by 2050 at around 10 billion.
        In reality the peak will be sooner and the max population lower.
        Given current trends, the population should peak in the next 15 to 20 years with a max population between 8 and 8.5 billion.

      • MarkW November 16, 2016 at 9:52 am

        … Beyond that, future technology that we can’t even imagine today may make oil obsolete long before it runs out.

        Exactly so. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. :-)

      • The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.

        We are using a lot more stone per capita than during the stone age, and a lot more wood, and a lot more iron than during the iron age. So I guess that is not a good example.

        We are using a lot less whale oil than one century and a half ago, and we almost exterminated whales. We would have exterminated them if we hadn’t stopped using it. And when the oil age ends, most of the oil will have been burnt, so our descendants will use a lot less oil per capita. There won’t be much oil but there will be plenty of stones. Perhaps a new stone age will be in order.

      • Javier,
        You are consuming too many bits – there is a finite supply of them you know. So to conserve bits, you should stop posting.

      • commieBob November 16, 2016 at 10:32 am
        “Exactly so. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. :-)Exactly so. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. :-)”

        I will agree it is a cute come back but a bit short sighted and may not be applicable in regards to oil. We have some wiggle room before a lack of new oil recourse starts taking effect but not forever. Next while we are all thrilled with the rate of tech advances, historically the human race has a habit of hitting a plateau and staying, stuck there from anywheres from a hundred to a thousand years.
        Lets take our last great power, energy, do anything resource. The horse.

        http://www.history.com/news/horse-domestication-happened-across-eurasia-study-shows

        We relied on this sturdy beast for almost all of our power needs in one way or another. We refined and adapted our ways of employing good old “Mr Ed” over a span of six thousand years.

        To replace the horse we needed several new techs developed at the same time. The ability to use AC and DC current reliably and the ability to forge steel and other alloys on a industrial scale.

        The cascade of thinking and experimentation could have occurred at an time in the last five to six thousand years. There were individuals in the past who if they had made the mental connections could have then preformed the same early experiments that lead to the industrial revolution. The physical tools were there, and most of the great minds of the past used the scientific method though it wad not yet defined. Think Archimedes.

        The human spark in the mind, took over five thousand years, we don’t know for sure if we are at a plateau as with the horse, just making refinements to existing technologies, or on the cusp of a new and radical leap in human knowledge and creativity.

        Anyway we have enough alternative energy sources to keep us going, but we would have to do some adapting to how we do things, (Physically move people goods, methods and locations of production.) but not much in so far as what we do.

        michael

      • Javier November 16, 2016 at 11:03 am

        We are using a lot more stone per capita than during the stone age, and a lot more wood, and a lot more iron than during the iron age. So I guess that is not a good example.

        Consider the houses of our ancestors. A decent log house uses much more wood than a modern stick-built house. A decent stone house uses a whole pile of stone. How about an old iron cook stove, holy Moses they were heavy.

        Have you ever had to split wood to heat a two hundred year old stone farmhouse?

        Dematerialization is everywhere and Buckminster Fuller’s idea of Ephemeralization is now so wide spread that only the ideological blind cannot see it. link

      • Oh forgive spelling, the letters on my keyboard are gone on a lot of the keys the r t and i now all look the same and at a glance …
        michael

      • commieBob November 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        Javier is totally one hundred and ten percent right. To paraphrase : What, DO YOU THINK WOOD GROWS ON TREES!

        (someone had to say it)

        michael :-D

      • Javier, as usual, your example does not support your point.
        We stopped using whale oil because we found something better. Had we not found oil, the whales would be extinct by now.

      • Mike, the rate of advancement is increasing every year.
        Yes, with we stayed with the horse for years, but during that time, we were improving.
        Bareback to saddles. Horse collars, improved horse collars.
        The wooden horse shoe, the metal horse shoe.
        Eventually horse breeding to create a better horse.
        5000 years ago, there may have been one or two people who qualified as “scientists” alive at any given time. So of course progress was slow.
        As society got wealthier, we were able to free up more people to become scientists.
        Something like 90% of all scientists who have ever lived, are living today, and that ratio is going to continue for the foreseeable future.

      • MarkW November 16, 2016 at 1:30 pm

        “Something like 90% of all scientists who have ever lived, are living today,” Depends what you call scientists.
        You can say the same thing about teachers politicians and priests.
        And you’re pointing out all the refinements in regards to the horse is true, but you missed the point they kept making the refinements because it was all they had.
        Yes we have a lot of what appears to be new stuff. But how much of it is just piling the same blocks just a different way.

        The biggest deal breaker that I see is the 3D printer, can it become the anything box?

        But we are going to have to find the next step in the use, creation and control of energy/power/force.
        and I fear we are not even at the stage that we are imagining it. We are just making stirrups and horse collars. Yup we may be in one of those ruts. This is a concern some of those 90% of living scientists have pointed out.

        But note, even if we are in one of those droughts we have centuries of playing with the adaption to existing knowledge, I just want to get there sooner.

        michael

      • Depends on how you look at it.
        Each refinement improved the lot of the people who worked with horses.
        Steam couldn’t develop until steel reached sufficient purity and strength as well as other developments. All of the necessary components were continually improving over time.
        Even while people were still plowing with horses, first wind and then water powered mills were making products cheaper and better.
        There was continuous improvement all during that time period. Then one day, there was enough accumulated improvement that people were able to use them to make a radically new invention. The steam engine. Then the steam engine began it’s slow process of improvement. Lighter, more powerful, etc.
        If you want to fixate on one thing, IE the horse, yes we did use only the horse for a long time, but that is not evidence that society was stagnant, it was just that for a long time the horse was superior to all alternatives.
        But there was continual improvement all the time, and as society became wealthier there was more money for people who did not have to spend all their waking hours worrying about where their next meal was coming from.
        That’s the point about the scientists. Wealth makes science possible. More wealth will always equal more science. Some of it, like Women’s studies, will be wasted science.

        To finish, your notion of plateauing is a result of fixating on a single thing and not noticing all of the improvements that are going on around it.
        And as I pointed out, even though we were still using the horse, over time, we were able to get more work out of each horse.
        Fixating on the horse, is like saying that since today’s vehicles and the Model T’s are both cars, that we have plateaued and there has been no improvement.

      • We don’t have enough for 100 years at say 100 million barrels of oil per day. And please don’t give me the baloney about ethane and propane being oil. I don’t want to have to give a basic course on oil molecules and refining.

  11. From the 2007 Simpsons movie :
    “And if we kept our thermostats at 68 in winter…
    We’d be free from our dependency on foreign oil in 17 years.”

    Looks like it might happen even sooner.

  12. Is this proper phrasing/attribution?

    “The U.S. Geological Survey has MADE its largest DISCOVERY of recoverable crude ever under parts of West Texas, the federal agency announced Tuesday …”

    Should this not be written, much more properly, thusly:

    “The U.S. Geological Survey has RELEASED its ASSESSMENT of the largest PRIVATE INDUSTRY discovery of recoverable crude ever under parts of West Texas, the federal agency announced Tuesday …”

    Q: Does the USGS — or any federal or state govt agency, for that matter — have any of its own wellbores, whether fully funded internally w/ taxpayer dollars or in partnership with industry players, by which it arrived at this “discovery”? Otherwise, for what reason does the USGS make this announcement of this “discovery” in this manner … with the clear implication that it is THEIR discovery?

    I can think of a few reasons for which they did this … none of them flattering.

    • In defense of the USGS, it was the Texas Tribune who called it a discovery.

      Release Date: NOVEMBER 15, 2016
      This is the largest estimate of continuous oil that USGS has ever assessed in the United States.

      The Wolfcamp shale in the Midland Basin portion of Texas’ Permian Basin province contains an estimated mean of 20 billion barrels of oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of associated natural gas, and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey. This estimate is for continuous (unconventional) oil, and consists of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources.

      The estimate of continuous oil in the Midland Basin Wolfcamp shale assessment is nearly three times larger than that of the 2013 USGS Bakken-Three Forks resource assessment, making this the largest estimated continuous oil accumulation that USGS has assessed in the United States to date.

      “The fact that this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done just goes to show that, even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more,” said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the USGS Energy Resources Program. “Changes in technology and industry practices can have significant effects on what resources are technically recoverable, and that’s why we continue to perform resource assessments throughout the United States and the world.”

      […]

      https://www.usgs.gov/news/usgs-estimates-20-billion-barrels-oil-texas-wolfcamp-shale-formation

    • The issue is academic. Inorganically-sourced methane is abundant. Heavier inorganically-sourced hydrocarbons have only been observed in trace quantities.

      The chemistry is possible. There’s just not much evidence of inorganically formed complex hydrocarbons.

      • May I recommend Robert Zubrin’s book, Merchants of Despair?
        Zubrin is a PhD nuclear engineer with 9 patents to his name, or pending.
        Outlines the Malthusian/Darwinist roots of the anti-humanist “environmental” movement, & shows that our safe, clean & free nuclear powered future is being suppressed.
        The issue is indeed academic.

  13. Thank you David for a most enlightening article: much appreciated.

    Nit-Pick
    “Past history shows us …”. The first word is NOT necessary.

    Thanks and Regards,
    WL

  14. “The U.S. Geological Survey has made its largest discovery of recoverable crude ever under parts of West Texas, the federal agency announced Tuesday.”

    Er, no. The USGS did not discovery any oil. That was discovered by the industries’ hard working employees utilizing developing technology. The USGS people just counted the barrels.

  15. It’s all a question of cost of recovery. Oil at $200/barrel has no value to a society. Antarctica has a lot of coal, don’t hold your breath waiting for it to be mined….

  16. The timing of course is interesting, it pretty much short stops any donkey baying, about us running out of oil, as an excuse to not stop funding “renewables” prior to Jan.20th.

    Also the screeching, mouth foaming and teeth gashing with be so soothing and relaxing to watch.

    Ah and some appropriate “mood music” as we con-soul with the anguish the poor CAGW mob must be sinking into at this very minute.

    Beautiful Dreamer.

    michael

  17. There is plenty oil, there’s no doubt about that, and plenty more to find. Which is why the left works so hard to stop it.

    • There isn’t that much oil. One issue that hasn’t been touched on is that “shales” produce at semi commercial volumes only if the oil is light, gassy, has very low viscosity, etc. This means we are producing a lot of very light oil which has more of the small molecules we use for chemicals, and aren’t nearly as good as say West Texas Intermediate.

      I’m hardly a left winger, I’m more of a libertarian/Pat Buchanan type. And I just don’t see the rationale for that razzmatazz we get from neocons (I started voting GOP with Nixon, so I consider most of you youngsters who embraced the Bush-Fox News-Bill Kristol line neo-conservatives who have a long ways to go). The left, as far as I can see, peddles the idea that fossil fuel resources are nearly infinite. This they use to craft the idea that emissions will increase at a fast pace, which in turn gives him the ability to write thousands of crazy papers “showing” that global warming will bake the planet. It’s baloney, but some of you work very hard to fall in their trap. It would be funny if it wasn’t costing us so much.

    • Earth makes oil 24/7… Correct.

      Oil does not come from fossils… Sort of correct. Oil comes from organic material, mostly algae,which was quickly buried in mud at the bottom of oceans and lakes – So, it never had a chance to fossilize. Pressure, heat and time converted the organic material into kerogen, oil and natural gas…

      As the biomass is buried more deeply in the sedimentary column, increasing pressure compacts it, increasing temperature cooks it and over time, the hydrocarbons slowly migrate toward the surface because they are less dense than connate/formation water. The kerogen first cooks to heavy oil, then light oil, then wet thermogenic gas, then thermogenic light gas, then cooks away…

      Oil and gas simply can’t exist very long outside of their thermal maturity windows.

      Crude oil cracks at temperatures above about 300°F. It can’t exist at depths anywhere close to the mantle. If oil was forming in the mantle, it would be flowing out of mid-ocean ridges (methane flowing out of mid-ocean ridges is not oil).

      Walker Ridge 758 Chevron #1 is the deepest Gulf of Mexico active oil producer; drilled to a TVD of 28,497’ (8.7 km) in a water depth of 6,959’. It was completed in a Lower Tertiary Wilcox sandstone (26,831’ – 27,385’). The bottom hole temperature was 226°F. The oil migrated upward from deeper Mesozoic and Lower Tertiary source rocks. Even deeper oil reservoirs have been discovered in the oil window, many of these will be coming on production over the next few years.

      There are no oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico with bottom hole temperatures outside of the oil window. The ultra-deepwater Lower Tertiary oil discoveries are well within the oil window. The shallow water Lower Tertiary gas discovery at Davy Jones is well out of the oil window, but in the gas window…

      The depths on the chart are approximations based on a generalized geothermal gradient. The geothermal gradient is highly variable. Water and halite (salt) are less dense than most rocks. When the overburden consists of 8,000’ of seawater and 2,000’ of halite, 30,000’ of overburden weighs a lot less than it does when it’s all composed of more dense rocks.

      The ultra-deepwater Lower Tertiary play in the Gulf of Mexico and the deep subsalt plays offshore Brazil are often cited as examples of abiotic oil because the reservoirs are supposedly too deep, too hot and/or too highly pressured to be in the oil window. This is simply abject nonsense.

      Tabular salt acts like a radiator. It conducts heat away from the substrata toward the surface. The combination of thick layers of salt and deep water depths enable oil to exist at depths previously unexpected. Salt and water are also less dense than most other overburden. This enables reservoir quality rocks to exist at deeper depths than previously expected.

      I’ve drilled wells deeper than 20,000’ in the Gulf of Mexico. The bottom hole temperatures were in the range of 215°F (100°C). Ten wells in the Gulf of Mexico, drilled to true vertical depths greater than 20,000’ have each produced more than 20 million barrels of oil. The maximum bottom hole temperature (213°F) was encountered in the Mississippi Canyon (MC) 777 TF001 well, drilled by BP. The average bottom hole temperature of those ten 20 million barrel producers was 197°F.

      The process is very organized, has been observed at all stages in nature, can be quantified in a rigorous scientific theory and can be largely simulated under laboratory conditions. The only part of the process that cannot be directly repeated in the laboratory is time.

      While it is possible for oil to form through mantle serpentinization or the Fischer–Tropsch process, there simply isn’t any evidence that any crude oil has ever naturally formed through these processes on Earth. There are very few crude oil accumulations that are even consistent with the abiogenic hypotheses and no significant accumulations inconsistent with the generally accepted theory of hydrocarbon formation.

      • hydrocarbons are common elsewhere in our solar system = PROOF beyond a doubt for me that they DO form without life being involved.

        Then you are set to start looking for a significant abiogenic oil deposit. Once you find it you will become simultaneously rich and famous. No risk since you have such strong proof.

      • First off, a thousand thanks Dave. You’ve explained this perfectly.
        Second, Jim Bob’s cross section there (Moffitt) is a thing of beauty, and folks watching this thread would be well served to pay attention to the left portion of the cross section.

        Two key points on this: Note the part where the green colored section (representing Oligocene) goes from being laid down on top of the salt to magically being now under the salt layer.
        First: This was a huge monster sized WTF in the geologic community when oil and gas executives realized what had happened. The geoscientists had argued it could happen – after all, it was a known thing in Europe, this so called “table” action of the salt. But geophysics couldn’t properly image below the salt layer. ( A “table” is formed when the salt moves up in the section and forms a new, conformable and mostly horizontal layer, isolating the younger section, and in this case, often forming a trap for the hydrocarbons generated below)
        Second, the age of the deep water reservoirs. Oh, this was a mighty WTF, because (and I was there with one of the first discoveries in an unrelated role) when the folks studying the critters came back with Miocene as the age, the oil execs were convinced this was wrong. Later, other deep drilling came back with Oligocene (Wilcox) deep sea deposits literally hundreds of miles out of place. That the section was there was one thing. That there was porosity (sand and silt) there required a complete rethink of what went on during that part of the formation of the Gulf of Mexico.

        Suffice to say, Mr. Moffitt has proposed that during the time when the Wilcox (Oligocene) was being laid down, the middle of the Gulf of Mexico was far less than a thousand feet deep. (he said 400 in a speech I heard him give) but I’m not sure which part of the Gulf he was referring to.

        Many oil executives have had their minds changed by the facts of drilling and the results of modern engineering. And that’s a good thing.

      • Fernando… You’ll have to get permission from the people I stole the slides from… including Jim Bob Moffitt… LOL!

      • Walt… IIRC, they thought they were drilling for a Mid-Cretaceous target in Shell’s Baja well. They were shocked to find reservoir-quality Lower Tertiary sandstones.

    • The discovery of complex hydrocarbons (PAH and PANH) outside our solar system doesn’t provide any evidence about their origin,

      While organic compounds have been discovered in meteorites that have landed on Earth, this is the first direct evidence for the presence of complex, important biogenic compounds in space. So far evidence suggests that PANHs are formed in the winds of dying stars and spread all over interstellar space.

      “This stuff contains the building blocks of life, and now we can say they’re abundant in space,” Hudgins said. “And wherever there’s a planet out there, we know that these things are going to be raining down on it. It did here and it does elsewhere.”

      Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, Hudgins and his colleagues detected the familiar chemical signature of regular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the spiral galaxy M81, as well as a similar, but unknown signature.

      http://www.space.com/1686-life-building-blocks-abundant-space.html

      Inorganically sourced methane is common throughout our solar system. Titan has seas of liquid methane. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are pollutants that occur naturally in crude oil and coal deposits and as the result of burning of carbon-based fuels.

      The fact that Titan’s methane-rich atmosphere can generate PAH’s and trace amounts of heavy and complex hydrocarbons has no relevancy to how petroleum and natural gas liquids form on Earth. Even if it was relevant to the formation of petroleum, it would be totally irrelevant to how oil and gas accumulate in the Earth’s crust.

      Methane is not oil. Methane, ethane and other alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cycloalkanes and alkadienes are simple hydrocarbons.

      Oil is a mixture of complex hydrocarbons:

      On Earth, almost all crude oil is found in and around sedimentary basins and contains geochemical markers which tie them to organic sources.

      If the abiotic hypothesis had any merit, oil would be seeping out of the mid-ocean ridges. Abiotic, abiogenic or inorganically formed oil is possible. There might even be some traces of it in a well drilled into the Siljan Ring in Sweden.

      Most of the other oft cited examples (crystalline basement rock reservoirs like Offshore Vietnam and in the Dneiper-Donets Basin) of abiogenic oil are obviously organic in origin.

      As yet, no one has demonstrated that abiotic oil is anything more than a novelty.

      Even if oil was commonly formed inorganically… It wouldn’t alter how and where oil companies look for oil. It still has to be trapped in porous and permeable reservoirs – Sandstones, limestones shales and other sedimentary rocks. Even the oil that’s trapped in fractured granites and other basement rocks, had to migrate through and be trapped by sedimentary rocks.

      • It seeps into the oceans from sedimentary rocks because that’s where it formed. If it was formed in the mantle, it would be seeping into the oceans from the mid-ocean ridges and volcanic vents.

      • Here’s the math…

        • The crust is ~1% of the Earth’s volume.
        • Sedimentary rocks comprise ~5% of the volume of the crust.
        • Total world crude production since 1900 has been ~1.3 trillion barrels.
        • If there are ~3.0 trillion barrels remaining to be found and produced, sedimentary rocks contain an average of 0.01 barrels of recoverable crude oil per acre*ft.
        • A typical oil reservoir has a recovery factor of ~300 barrels per acre*ft.
        • This means that only 0.003% of the Earth’s sedimentary rocks would have to be charged with crude oil to explain all of the crude oil ever likely to be produced on Earth.

        The volume of organic carbon-rich sediment in the Earth’s crust is massively large. The Gulf of Mexico has accumulated more than 60,000′ of sedimentary column over the last 200 million years. The Cenozoic section, alone, is more than 40,000′ thick in places. The Quaternary can be more than 30,000′ thick in some locations. Most ot the sedimentary column is composed of thick, organic-rich shale.

        Oil is still being formed and migrating from source to reservoir rocks in the Gulf of Mexico. The Pleistocene reservoirs are less than 2.5 million years old and many have only been charged over the last 275,000 years. The reservoirs simply aren’t being charged as quickly as we are producing them.

        Red areas indicate ~20,000 meter sediment thickness.

        Oceanic Sedimentary Isopach Map

        Marine black shales, deposited under anoxic conditions are loaded with the stuff that oil is made of…

        Total organic carbon (TOC) averaged 10% by weight.

        The Cretaceous, in particular, was a hydrocarbon “kitchen.” Marine conditions couldn’t have been more favorable for the deposition of source rocks even if they had been designed for such a purpose…

        “DSDP sites at which Cretaceous sediments rich in organic matter were encountered. From Dean and Arthur, 1986.”

        Cretaceous Proto-Atlantic

        The Lower Tertiary Eocene was also a hydrocarbon kitchen (up to 21% TOC).

        There is no shortage of organic matter in the sedimentary basins of the Earth’s crust.

  18. As for how long our lead and mercury will last: After 1971, we started recycling automotive batteries and that will make our lead supplies last longer. And starting sometime in the 1990s, 4-foot fluorescent lamps – the size that most fluorescent lamps are made in – were made with 1/8 as much mercury as they did in 1980 and before.

  19. Resources are infinite, because human ingenuity is: “The Ultimate Resource 2”, a book I highly recommend, by economist interested in population numbers, resources & the environment, Julian Simon, who won a 10 year bet against Paul Ehrlich & his sidekick John Holdren.
    John Doran.

    • The “bear” is always just out of sight in the woods. For centuries, Malthusians have trotted out one invisible bogeyman after another (Malthusians pre-date Malthus by at least a few thousand years). The disaster is just over the horizon, just around the corner or lurking in the woods.

      The Earth is finite; but humans have barely tapped its resources… We will still barely be tapping the Earth’s resources when we hit the 10 billion mark about 90 years down the road… And the Malthusians will still be warning us about the bear in the woods.

      The only thing the world has a genuine shortage of is honest and competent people in gov’t. Almost all of our problems are due to political interference with market forces.

      • Indeed. Zubrin’s book I reco’d above makes the point, convincingly IMHO, that nuclear fusion power would open up the solar system, galaxy & universe to us. Simon’s book makes the point, convincingly IMHO, that human ingenuity will always find a solution to whatever problem faces us, & that, historically, larger populations correlate exactly to, & are a driver of human progress.
        Mucho reco’d.
        John Doran.

      • David Middleton, thank you for a great article and your great comments. Your depth and breath of knowledge of these areas if very, very impressive. Your data and knowledge are presented in a clear and pleasant way. I appreciate this, as the crude and unpleasant back and forth of some writers and commenters is tiresome and unnecessary.

  20. Peak oil Indefinitely Postponed is a misleading statement based on this announcement. America uses 19 million barrels of crude oil per day. This find provides enough new oil for 1,053 days or 2.9 years (rounded ^.)

    • The title was meant to be “tongue-in-cheek”… However…

      This Wolcamp one formation in one basin and it’s not new oil. The USGS just underestimated how much oil could be recovered in it. There are dozens of oil reservoirs in the Permian Basin…

      The Permian Basin is just one of many sedimentary basins in the US…

      And the world…

      The odds are that the USGS underestimated the recoverable oil in most, if not all, of the the reservoirs they assessed.

      • Maybe. But I’m in the oil business, and a little map showing basins doesn’t cut it with me. I look at this with anal detail because I can get rich if we do find something. And I’m not seeing much out there. Nor do I see companies bidding up acreage or working it actively in all those brown spots in your map. And if we in the business don’t invest in it, then it’s mpnot ready for prime time. And please don’t tell me you are selling a shale lease on the North Slope.

    • Indefinite does not mean not-going-to-happen. It means “uncertain.” My doctor looked at me earlier this week and claims my death is indefinitely postponed. My response was, I was thinking of buying a young African Grey Parrot. Not a good idea he said, you are going to die, we just don’t know when.

  21. My favorite:
    Peak Copper at Wikipedia
    Concern about the copper supply is not new. In 1924, noted geologist and copper-mining expert Ira Joralemon warned:
    “… the age of electricity and of copper will be short. At the intense rate of production that must come, the copper supply of the world will last hardly a score of years. … Our civilization based on electrical power will dwindle and die.”[3]

  22. some here need to consider this reality……ONE person stood alone against the accepted science on stomach ulcers……he was mocked but in the end he was CORRECT and the rest were WRONG.

      • It’s evidence of inorganically sourced methane and associated simple hydrocarbons. Methane and traces of other hydrocarbons don’t prove anything about how oil forms on Earth or whether it formed elsewhere in the Universe.

        Inorganically formed methane is extremely abundant. Methane is not oil.

        Oil is a blend of parafins, napthenes, aromatics and asphaltines.

        Proof of abiogenic oil would consist of the discovery of a significant volume of abiogenic oil. So far, the closest thing to evidence has been the recovery of an “asphaltenic-type material removed from the drillstem at 5945 m [19,505 ft] in Well Gravberg-1 from the Precambrian granite, Siljan, Sweden.”

        The chemical characterization showed that this material contains small amounts of hydrocarbons maximizing in the diesel range. No heavy hydrocarbons were identified, except for trace amounts of polycyclic aliphatics. From the chemical and stable isotopic characterizations, we concluded that the black gelatinous material is derived predominantly from the alteration of biodegradable nontoxic lubricant (BNTL) additives by caustic soda, admixed with diesel oil and trace amounts of polycyclic hydrocarbons from recirculating local lake water. No evidence for an indigenous or deep source for the hydrocarbons could be justified.

        https://www.onepetro.org/journal-paper/SPE-19898-PA

      • “No evidence for an indigenous or deep source for the hydrocarbons could be justified.”
        The evidence is that the hydrocarbons were likely introduced contaminants arising from the drilling process itself.
        I once analyzed a sample from the Siljan well for helium isotopes. Helium isotope ratios are the most variable known. Interplanetary He3/He4 ratios are about 0.25 (as found in superficial moon rock samples), and geological He3/He4 runs about 0.000002, plus or minus. Tommy Gold’s idea was that deep geological methane (and other gases) was ‘primordial’, having been captured when the earth formed and trapped. He expected the same of the helium, but the He3/He4 ratio did not support his idea.
        All the chemical data on the composition of petroleum is consistent with the anaerobic pyrolysis of biological materials under heat and pressure, but in the absence of oxygen. This biological material originally consisted of mainly algae. The association with ‘dinosaurs’ is something I attribute to the marketing gimmicks of Sinclair Oil Company.

    • Bill,
      I’ll put it more succinctly than David. Sparse, simple hydrocarbons are not the same thing as crude oil!

    • Bill Taylor – why don’t you go and get a geology degree and then spend 30 or 40 years in the oil industry and then come back and discuss the provenance of oil deposits with us! I can’t believe someone so ignorant can be so pigheaded. Bill did you ever take a science course at school?
      As one of my old bosses used to joke you are someone “who couldn’t find oil at Walmart”.

      • stewart TY for the personal insult……nothing could be gained by further discussion with you……the FACT remains abiotic hydrocarbons are plentiful elsewhere in our own solar system which to a thinking person means they indeed can and do form without life involved.

  23. Quote: … 20 billion barrels of accessible oil along with 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids …

    As a matter of interest what are the current US consumption rates of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids? Asked another way when the title to the article says peak oil has been postponed indefinitely, how many years is indefinitely?

  24. Correction: “Oil shale (Green River Formation) and tar sands (Athabasca oil sands) are unconventional oils because they are bituminous kerogen – essentially incompletely formed crude oil”.

    You are correct to say the Green River Formation is kerogen, an unformed or incompletely formed oil but the Athabasca tar sands are not kerogen. The oil in the Athabasca sands is completely formed oil that has since become a degraded oil, or tar, with the tar a remnant from oil once formed beneath a wide swathe and considerable thickness of oil source rock of the Rocky Mountain Front, near Calgary, Alberta which has migrated eastward to a location where due to its viscosity it has “frozen” in place by process of degrading. It has been degraded by loss of volatile components and by water washing of soluble components by near surface aquifers. The original oil formed has been estimated to be immensely larger in volume that the volume of tar in the tar sands that remains as estimated today, an amazing statement as to the efficiency of the thermogenesis of the kerogen, the time required to accomplish this feat, and the original volume of the original organic matter in rock beneath the Rocky Mountain Front to form such gigantic quantities of oil. The processing of the tar sands to form marketable oil is also less costly than to make oil from the kerogen of the Green River Formation, with three major differences in cost, according to an early plan, being a need to mine the kerogen shale and transport it to a process plant and then heat the kerogen to thermogenically “crack” or convert the kerogen into oil that requires a considerable more cost of the high temperature needed to accomplish this task and then dispose of the “spent” shale. In-situ thermogenesis processing of the kerogen has been considered.

    • You are correct. I should have written:

      Oil shale (Green River Formation) and tar sands (Athabasca oil sands) are unconventional oils because the former is bituminous kerogen and the latter is bitumen.

      • I would classify oil shale to be a shade above or similar to coal if it can be surface mined. When I look at the whole process I think a coal to oil plant in Wyoming is a better bet than shale oil. We can take methane to make hydrogen and use a heavy oil and coal mix to feed the process, hydrogenate it, and make a really nice syncrude.

      • Additionally, many of the Paleozoic limestones and dolostones in the Midwest are so rich in organics that when they are hit with a hammer they give off a sickening odor. One quarry operator told me that the DOE acquired a test load of his rock but apparently weren’t impressed with what they could get out of it by heating. However, with global warming, perhaps solar stills will make the material economical in the future. :-)

  25. There will likely be no peak oil and there certainly will be no peak ‘natural’ gas.

    Fracking helps in the recovery and will certainly delay ‘peak oil’.

    To determine how much hydrocarbon reservoirs there are and where to look for the new reservoirs however requires answering the following deeper questions:

    1) What is the source of ‘natural’ gas and liquid petroleum?

    2) Question 2 is directly related to question 1. Where to look for more hydrocarbons (why are there now massive natural gas reservoirs being found in super deep locations (20,000 feet)? and how much is ultimately recoverable?

    We are not going to run out of non-oxidized hydrocarbons to burn, as the source of most of the hydrocarbons in the crust and the reason why 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, is that liquid super high pressure CH4 is extruded from the earth’s liquid core as the liquid core solidifies.

    It is astonishing how long zombie theories persist.

    The trick to solving pure science problems is to look for paradoxes and anomalies, which is a sign that are multiple fundamental errors in the base theory. There is typically an old half formed competing theory which no one looks at which is at least on the correct page, that provides a guide to find the anomalies and paradoxes.

    The paradoxes and anomalies are not included in text books which explains why most of the specialists are ignorant concerning the paradoxes and anomalies and have hence never looked at a competing theory.

    There is a physical explanation for everything that has or will happen. Incorrect theories generate paradoxes and anomalies. There are now more than a 100 paradoxes and anomalies associated with the formation of ‘natural’ gas and liquid petroleum. (I found a dozen or so in the 1979 API publication of papers “What is the Origin of Crude Oil?)

    A few of the hundred or so, basic paradoxes and anomalies concerning the formation of ‘natural’ gas and liquid petroleum:

    1. Why is there helium in natural gas and liquid petroleum reservoirs? (William: The helium problem is a paradox, not an anomaly for the fossil theory of the origin of natural gas and liquid petroleum.)
    2. Why are there super large deposits of ‘natural’ gas and liquid petroleum?
    For example Qatar: Wikipedia

    natural gas in Qatar covers a large portion of the world supply of natural gas. According to Oil & Gas Journal, as of January 1, 2011, reserves of natural gas in Qatar were measured at approximately 896 trillion cubic feet (25.4 trillion cubic metres); this measurement means that the state contains 14% of all known natural-gas reserves, as the world’s third-largest reserves, behind Russia and Iran.[citation needed] The majority of Qatar’s natural gas is located in the massive offshore North Field, which spans an area roughly equivalent to Qatar itself.

    3. Why is there evidence of some oil and natural gas fields refilling?
    4. Why are there 1000s and 1000s of methane seeps on the ocean floor?
    5. Why is there such a large variance of C13 in ‘natural’ gas reservoirs?
    6. Why is the upper ocean saturated with CH4?
    7. Why are there super deep deposits of natural gas (20,000 feet). This explains why the Russian have developed super deep drilling techniques.

    P.S. The standard theory for the origin of oil and natural gas in Russia and the Ukraine (The old Soviet Union) is the deep earth theory. The Ukraine institute of science alleged Thomas Gold of plagiarism, as there are more than 1000 Soviet era papers supporting the abiogenic origin of oil and natural gas, that were published prior to the Gold’s first paper.

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

    1. [to the question: “Are there key Soviet papers and Soviet ideas Prof. Gold fails to cite ?] by Vladilen A. Krayushkin,

    Yes, there are many Soviet papers, articles, books and ideas of key significance dealing with the subject of the deep petroleum (i.e., oil and gas) theory which Prof. Gold fails to cite correctly or adequately.

    It should be recognized that Gold’s priority [related to the subject of the modern Soviet theory of abiotic petroleum origins] must be set at 1979 when he published his article: Gold, T, 1979, Terrestrial sources of carbon and earthquake outgassing, J. Petrol. Geol., Vol. 1, No. 3, p. 3-19.

    Concerning this article, one must pay particular attention to the following fact: The references given in that article do not contain even one of the works of any of the Soviet scientists. The well-known key leaders of the problem of abiogenic petroleum origins had already published their ideas and theory on that subject in many books and articles, beginning in the year 1951. The quantity of such publications exceeds a thousand, and for short I shall limit myself with the list of several key sources following below:

    More anomalies and paradoxes from Thomas Gold’s book.

    (8) Petroleum and methane are found frequently in geographic patterns of long lines or arcs, which are related more to deep-seated large-scale structural features of the crust, than to the smaller scale patchwork of the sedimentary deposits.

    (9) Hydrocarbon-rich areas tend to be hydrocarbon-rich at many different levels, corresponding to quite different geological epochs, and extending down to the crystalline basement that underlies the sediment. An invasion of an area by hydrocarbon fluids from below could better account for this than the chance of successive deposition.

    (10) Some petroleum from deeper and hotter levels almost completely lack the biological evidence. Optical activity and the odd-even carbon number effect are sometimes totally absent, and it would be difficult to suppose that such a thorough destruction of the biological molecules had occurred as would be required to account for this, yet leaving the bulk substance quite similar to other crude oils.

    (11) Methane is found in many locations where a biogenic origin is improbable or where biological deposits seem inadequate: in great ocean rifts in the absence of any substantial sediments; in fissures in igneous and metamorphic rocks, even at great depth; in active volcanic regions, even where there is a minimum of sediments; and there are massive amounts of methane hydrates (methane-water ice combinations) in permafrost and ocean deposits, where it is doubtful that an adequate quantity and distribution of biological source material is present.

    (12) The hydrocarbon deposits of a large area often show common chemical or isotopic features, quite independent of the varied composition or the geological ages of the formations in which they are found. Such chemical signatures may be seen in the abundance ratios of some minor constituents such as traces of certain metals that are carried in petroleum; or a common tendency may be seen in the ratio of isotopes of some elements, or in the abundance ratio of some of the different molecules that make up petroleum. Thus a chemical analysis of a sample of petroleum could often allow the general area of its origin to be identified, even though quite different formations in that area may be producing petroleum. For example a crude oil from anywhere in the Middle East can be distinguished from an oil originating in any part of South America, or from the oils of West Africa; almost any of the oils from California can be distinguished from that of other regions by the carbon isotope ratio.

    http://www.offshore-mag.com/articles/print/volume-55/issue-4/news/general-interest/middle-east-geology-why-the-middle-east-fields-may-produce-oil-forever.html

    MIDDLE EAST GEOLOGY Why the Middle East fields may produce oil forever

    http://www.rense.com/general63/refil.htm

    Recent measurements in a major oil field show “that the fluids were changing over time; that very light oil and gas were being injected from below, even as the producing [oil pumping] was going on,” said chemical oceanographer Mahlon “Chuck” Kennicutt. “They are refilling as we speak. But whether this is a worldwide phenomenon, we don’t know.”

    Also not known, Kennicutt said, is whether the injection of new oil from deeper strata is of any economic significance, whether there will be enough to be exploitable. The discovery was unexpected, and it is still “somewhat controversial” within the oil industry.

    Kennicutt, a faculty member at Texas A&M University, said it is now clear that gas and oil are coming into the known reservoirs very rapidly in terms of geologic time. The inflow of new gas, and some oil, has been detectable in as little as three to 10 years. In the past, it was not suspected that oil fields can refill because it was assumed the oil formed in place, or nearby, rather than far below.

    The first sketchy evidence of this emerged in 1984, when Kennicutt and colleagues from Texas A&M University were in the Gulf of Mexico trying to understand a phenomenon called “seeps,” areas on the seafloor where sometimes large amounts of oil and gas escape through natural fissures.

    “Our first discovery was with trawls. We knew it was an area of massive seepage, and we expected that the oil seeps would poison everything around” the site. But they found just the opposite.

    “On the first trawl, we brought up over two tons of stuff. We had a tough time getting the nets back on board because they were so full” of very odd-looking sea.floor creatures, Kennicutt said. “They were long strawlike things that turned out to be tube worms.

    “The clams were the first thing I noticed,” he added. “They were pretty big, like the size of your hand, and it was obvious they had red blood inside, which is unusual. And these long tubes — 3, 4 and 5 feet long — we didn’t know what they were, but they started bleeding red fluid, too. We didn’t know what to make of it.”

    The biologists they consulted did know what to make of it. “The experts immediately recognized them as chemo-synthetic communities,” creatures that get their energy from hydrocarbons — oil and gas — rather than from ordinary foods. So these animals are very much like, but still different from, recently discovered creatures living near very hot seafloor vent sites in the Pacific, Atlantic and other oceans.

    The difference, Kennicutt said, is that the animals living around cold seeps live on methane and oil, while the creatures growing near hot water vents exploit sulfur compounds in the hot water.

    The discovery of abundant life where scientists expected a deserted seafloor also suggested that the seeps are a long-duration phenomenon. Indeed, the clams are thought to be about 100 years old, and the tube worms may live as long as 600 years, or more, Kennicutt said.

    Comment:
    CH4 is constantly released from the earth at specific plate boundaries in the ocean. The deep earth released CH4 is the primary source of CO2 in the atmosphere, not volcanic eruptions. In the upper atmosphere, ultra violet light breaks the CH4 bond and CO2 and H2O forms from the disassociated CH4.

    The super high pressure liquid CH4 that is extruded from the liquid core is the force that drives tectonic plate movement and is the cause of mountain formation on the earth.

    Comment:
    There are also roughly 50 paradoxes associated with trying to explain the formation of mountains and trying to explain what moves the tectonic plates.

    The liquid core started to solidify roughly a billion years ago, which correlates with the sudden explosion of new life on the planet as the continents started to rise above the ocean driven by the liquid CH4 and the oceans increased in volume.

    At high pressures the liquid CH4 forms longer chain hydrocarbons.

    The deep earth CH4 explains why there is helium gas associated with both ‘natural’ gas deposits and liquid petroleum. Heavy metals dissolve in the super high pressure liquid CH4 that moves through the crust. At specific pressures, some of the metals drop out which explains why there are concentrations of metals in the earth’s crust that are a million times concentrated.

    The helium gas is formed from radioactive decay of uranium and thorium. The deep earth CH4 theory explains why there are uranium and thorium deposits below all CH4 and liquid petroleum deposits. In some locations, the super high pressure liquid CH4 and liquid hydrocarbons continues to be pushed up from the core breaking the mantel, providing a path way for the helium gas that is released from the decaying uranium and thorium to flow into the near surface CH4 and liquid petroleum deposits.

    The late astrophysics Thomas Gold provides includes his 1998 published book a detailed explanation of roughly 50 observations to support the deep earth CH4 hypothesis. There are now dozens and dozens of new observations that support Gold’s deep earth CH4 hypothesis.

    The following is an excerpt (another comment) from Thomas Gold’s book the “Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels’ which that outlines some of the observations which supports an abiogenic origin (non-biological, primeval origin), for petroleum and natural gas.

    http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9780387952536

    • This demonstrates nothing other than total ignorance of the conventional theory of hydrocarbon formation and accumulation…

      (8) Petroleum and methane are found frequently in geographic patterns of long lines or arcs, which are related more to deep-seated large-scale structural features of the crust, than to the smaller scale patchwork of the sedimentary deposits.

      Oil is generally trapped by structural features, commonly fault systems. Structural trends tend to follow linear and arc-like patterns…

      (9) Hydrocarbon-rich areas tend to be hydrocarbon-rich at many different levels, corresponding to quite different geological epochs, and extending down to the crystalline basement that underlies the sediment. An invasion of an area by hydrocarbon fluids from below could better account for this than the chance of successive deposition.

      This is just plain ignorance. The conventional theory of oil formation and accumulation doesn’t state that oil forms in situ. It forms in deeper sedimentary rocks and migrates upwards to accumulate in structural and stratigraphic traps… In other words, “an invasion of an area by hydrocarbon fluids from below.”

      “Hydrocarbon-rich areas tend to be hydrocarbon-rich at many different levels” because structural deformation creates traps at many levels and the oil migrates into them from below.

      (10) Some petroleum from deeper and hotter levels almost completely lack the biological evidence. Optical activity and the odd-even carbon number effect are sometimes totally absent, and it would be difficult to suppose that such a thorough destruction of the biological molecules had occurred as would be required to account for this, yet leaving the bulk substance quite similar to other crude oils.

      Abject nonsense.

      (11) Methane is found in many locations where a biogenic origin is improbable or where biological deposits seem inadequate: in great ocean rifts in the absence of any substantial sediments; in fissures in igneous and metamorphic rocks, even at great depth; in active volcanic regions, even where there is a minimum of sediments; and there are massive amounts of methane hydrates (methane-water ice combinations) in permafrost and ocean deposits, where it is doubtful that an adequate quantity and distribution of biological source material is present.

      The methane straw man. No one has argued against inorganically sourced methane.

      (12) The hydrocarbon deposits of a large area often show common chemical or isotopic features, quite independent of the varied composition or the geological ages of the formations in which they are found. Such chemical signatures may be seen in the abundance ratios of some minor constituents such as traces of certain metals that are carried in petroleum; or a common tendency may be seen in the ratio of isotopes of some elements, or in the abundance ratio of some of the different molecules that make up petroleum. Thus a chemical analysis of a sample of petroleum could often allow the general area of its origin to be identified, even though quite different formations in that area may be producing petroleum. For example a crude oil from anywhere in the Middle East can be distinguished from an oil originating in any part of South America, or from the oils of West Africa; almost any of the oils from California can be distinguished from that of other regions by the carbon isotope ratio.

      This is because the source rocks are “independent of the varied composition or the geological ages of the formations in which” the oil has been tapped.

      • Hi David,

        Excellent discussion on fracking. I notice your above comment concerning the non-fossil origin of oil, gas, and black coal, does not address the fact that helium is found in oil and natural gas deposits.

        The source of helium gas in oil and natural gas deposit must be from uranium and thorium deposits below the reservoirs.

        Paradox 1: How did the uranium and thorium become concentrated below the oil and natural gas deposits.

        Paradox 2: How does the helium gas travel through the crust to get to oil and gas reservoirs.

        The deep earth super high pressure CH4 hypothesis explains both. The super high pressure liquid CH4 that is extruded from the liquid core as it solidifies picks up metals in solution. At specific pressures the metals that were in solution in the super high pressure liquid CH4 drop out. The super high pressure liquid CH4 flows through the same pathway for likely millions of years which concentrates the metals at specific depths in the pathway which explains why there is uranium and thorium deposits below oil and gas reservoirs. The super high pressure CH4 continues to flow breaking the mantel to provide a path for the helium to flow into the natural gas and crude oil deposits.

        I notice you also did not address the how the metals get into the oil.

        You note that you do not dispute the assertion that CH4, natural gas could be or is from non biological sources. The question is how much?

        As most are aware, the earth was struck by a Mars size object roughly 100 million years after formation. That impact removed almost all of the volatile elements from the mantel.

        There are two theories to explains how the earth became 70% covered with water:

        1) The late veneer theory where comets or another source strike the earth after the big splat.

        2) The deep earth hypothesis where liquid CH4 is gradually released from the core.

        Do you know anything about core research? The core of the earth is roughly the size of the moon. It is a fact that there is a significant amount of a light element(s) in the liquid core (determined by measuring the speed of disturbances that travel through the earth) and that from the physics of solids, that the light element would be extruded when the core solidifies.

        There is no question that there is tectonic plate motion. The problem is what causes the plates to move. The lack of mechanism to move the plates is the reason why it took 20 years for the tectonic plate theory to be accepted.

        Your cartoon pictures have a source which is conveniently near the reservoir. It is a fact that there are major reservoirs where there is no source rock.

        More on your cartoon pictures verses geological reality for the middle east.

        This author who has an extensive background in the middle-east petroleum geology lists issue after issue that cannot be explained by a fossil theory.

        http://www.offshore-mag.com/articles/print/volume-55/issue-4/news/general-interest/middle-east-geology-why-the-middle-east-fields-may-produce-oil-forever.html

        MIDDLE EAST GEOLOGY Why the Middle East fields may produce oil forever

        The continuous formation of hydrocarbons by this process, and the field locations along, near, or above subduction/rift zones, would account for the continuous increase in oil reserves, would explain why hydrocarbons are found close to those zones, and why the reserves are modest in Syria, Turkey, and Oman, relative to the huge oil reserves found in the countries along the Gulf.

        The extensive literature on Middle East oils and oilfields, especially in the Persian/Arabian Gulf area, point out that hydrocarbons are formed from sedimentary petroliferous beds, mostly shales and carbonates.

        Organic materials locked in rocks have become accepted as the de facto source for the formation of huge hydrocarbon accumulations, despite the inability to pinpoint the exact source beds. The assumption is that petroliferous layers, above or below oil fields, are the source for the formation of hydrocarbons. This assumption leaves many unanswered questions, some of which are:

        • Inexhaustible reserves: Why are yearly oil reserves increasing steadily despite the 10-20 million bbl of oil that have been pumped daily for decades from the Gulf area?
        • Location: Why is oil found only to the west and south of the ophiolite mountain in Oman, and not also to the east, despite the presence of carbonates and favorable subsurface structures?
        • Same environment: Why are the oil reserves in Turkey, Syria, and Oman ( the end-countries along the Gulf region) modest relative to the other reserves, despite the fact that all the countries of that region (except Iran) were under the same marine (organic) environment along the shore of the ancient Tethys?
        • Similar geology: Why are hydrocarbons also found in serpentinites (Turkey – North, 1985), ophiolitic rocks (Hormuz area in West Oman and Sharjah – North, 1985), rift zones (north of Dead Sea – Hemer et al, 1982; southern Syria – Mahfoud and Beck, 1991), and Precambrian rocks (Libya – North, 1985; SE Gaza – Hemer et al, 1982), in addition to their presence in carbonates and sandstones?

        From a scientific perspective, one can deduce that organic sources alone are not enough to explain them with satisfaction. Therefore, there should be another source and/or process capable of providing convincing answers. In addition to background on Gulf geodynamic activities, this article seeks to provide an explanation for the ongoing genesis of hydrocarbons in the Middle East and outline promising locations for future exploration.

        Hydrocarbon origins
        The question to ask then is where have the hydrocarbons originated. The answer should be a process capable of clarifying scientifically and logically such perplexing problems as:
        1. Why are the oil fields concentrated in porous-permeable beds around and along the subduction and rift zones, and not also away from those zones? The oil fields, newly discovered in the south central part of the Arabian plate (south of Riyadh), show over 50° gravity API (super light). They are considered concentrates, and therefore, excluded here.
        2. Why do oil reserves increase annually, despite the daily high production, as already described?
        3. Why are most oil fields strictly located in favorable structures (anticlines, domes, reefs) over deep fractures, horsts, faults, etc present only in or near the subduction and rift zones?
        4. Why are some hydrocarbons produced from, or exist in, organically barren rocks (sepentinites, carbonatites, Precambrian and ophiolitic rocks) present only in or near the subduction and rift zones?
        5. Why are hydrocarbons found to the west and south, but not to the east, of the ophiolite mountain in Oman where carbonates, anticlines, fractures, and faults are also present? Is that because the subduction zone is present to the west and south, and not to the east?
        6. Why are the oil reserves very modest in Syria, Turkey, and Oman, when compared to those in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, The Emirates, and Qatar? Is that because of the inadequate seepage of water (source of hydrogen) into the subduction and rift-zones?
        7. Why are the oil and gas fields located in NW-trending anticlines along the foothills of the Zagros and in N-trending anticlines in Ghowar oil field (Saudi Arabia), Burgan (Kuwait), Dukhan (Qatar), and others, inshore and offshore the Gulf ? What has caused those structures, and the fractures, faults, and horsts beneath them, to form? Aren’t the movements of the Arabian plate and the successive events a product of subduction?
        8. Where are the sulfur (S), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), iron (Fe), and magnesium (Mg) found in oil likely to originate? Aren’t they all found in basalts and mafic minerals such as olivine and pyroxene (pyrolite) in ultramafics in the lithosphere and asthenosphere?
        9. What is the significance of pyrolitic (presence of olivine and pyroxene) characteristics found in drilling cores from producing wells in Israel, in carbonatites in rifted southern Syria, and in serpentinites in Turkey? Don’t those characteristics relate the hydrocarbons to pyroxene and olivine, which release CO2 (source of carbon) upon fracturing (Wyllie -1975, 1977; Wyllie and Huang -1975, 1976; Eggler – 1976, 1978; Wallace and Green – 1988; (Mahfoud and Beck – 1991)?
        10. Why are oil and gas fields found in traps ranging in age from Upper Paleozoic to Miocene? Has every field originated from a separate petroliferous lithologic source, which petroleum geologists have tried, to no avail, to pinpoint? Could it be that those fields originated from one source and by the some process afterward, differentiated into gas and oil, and driven under pressure to their actual places through fractures and faults? Which of the two approaches is more logical and easier to understand?

        The second approach would solve the age problem without any difficulty. Moreover, it would continuously supply hydrocarbons to the fields, and would increase the reserves as the subduction movements continue. The additional hydrocarbons, which are greater than production, are certainly a factor that prevents the depletion of oil and gas in Middle East.

        P.S. The origin of CH4 is particularly important. A large source of CH4 that is continuously released in the biosphere is a game changer for AGW. As noted the CH4 is quickly disassociated by ultra violet light and the resultants form water vapour and CO2. Also as noted the upper ocean is saturated with CH4. A large continuous source of CH4 into the atmosphere, reduces the relative importance of the anthropogenic CO2 and requires that that there are larger natural sinks of CO2 in the atmosphere.

      • William both paradoxes are due to your insufficient knowledge of geology.
        1) Uranium et al is found everywhere. Yes there are places where they are concentrated, but they exist everywhere. If you doubt me take a Geiger counter to any granite countertop.
        2) Helium migrates through the rock the same way that oil and natural gas migrate through the rocks.

      • I don’t have time today to address every bizarre point….

        Helium is a product of radioactive decay. It gets into natural gas reservoirs in the same manner as natural gas, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and all of the other gases that are often associated with natural gas reservoirs and the same manner in which radon gas gets trapped in basements.

        Where Does Helium Come From?

        Very little helium is present in Earth’s atmosphere. It is such a light element that Earth’s gravity cannot hold it. When present at Earth’s surface, unconfined helium immediately begins rising until it escapes the planet. That’s why party balloons rise!

        The helium that is produced commercially is obtained from the ground. Some natural gas fields have enough helium mingled with the gas that it can be extracted at an economical cost. A few fields in the United States contain over 7% helium by volume. Companies that drill for natural gas in these areas produce the natural gas, process it and remove the helium as a byproduct.

        Why is Helium in Some Natural Gas?

        Most of the helium that is removed from natural gas is thought to form from radioactive decay of uranium and thorium in granitoid rocks of Earth’s continental crust. As a very light gas, it is buoyant and seeks to move upward as soon as it forms. The richest helium accumulations are found where three conditions exist: 1) granitoid basement rocks are rich in uranium and thorium; 2) the basement rocks are fractured and faulted to provide escape paths for the helium; and, 3) porous sedimentary rocks above the basement faults are capped by an impermeable seal of halite or anhydrite. [1] When all three of these conditions are met, helium might accumulate in the porous sedimentary rock layer.

        Helium has the smallest atomic radius of any element, about 0.2 nanometers. So, when it forms and starts moving upward, it can fit through very small pore spaces within the rocks. Halite and anhydrite are the only sedimentary rocks that can block the upward migration of helium atoms. Shales that have their pore spaces plugged with abundant organic materials (kerogen) sometimes serve as a less effective barrier.

        Helium-bearing natural gas deposits: Deposit model for helium-bearing natural gas fields in the United States. Helium is produced by the decay of uranium and thorium in granitoid basement rocks. The liberated helium is buoyant and moves toward the surface in porosity associated with basement faults. The helium then moves upward through porous sedimentary cover until it is trapped with natural gas under beds of anhydrite or salt. These are the only laterally-persistent rock types that are able to trap and contain the tiny, buoyant helium atoms. This geological situation only occurs at a few locations in the world and is why rich helium accumulations are rare.

        Helium-bearing natural gas deposits: Map showing the natural gas fields that serve as important sources of helium in the United States. The natural gas produced from these fields contains between 0.3% to over 7% helium. The helium is removed from the gas for commercial sale. Image by Geology.com using location data from the United States Geological Survey. [2]

        http://geology.com/articles/helium/

        This person is simply totally ignorant of everything related to oil fields and basic geology…

        Hydrocarbon origins

        The question to ask then is where have the hydrocarbons originated. The answer should be a process capable of clarifying scientifically and logically such perplexing problems as:
        1. Why are the oil fields concentrated in porous-permeable beds around and along the subduction and rift zones, and not also away from those zones? The oil fields, newly discovered in the south central part of the Arabian plate (south of Riyadh), show over 50° gravity API (super light). They are considered concentrates, and therefore, excluded here.

        Oil fields are “concentrated in porous-permeable beds” because oil can freely move through porous and permeable beds. The shale boom has demonstrated that permeability isn’t always necessary. Texas, the North Sea, North Dakota and a whole lot of other major oil producing regions are nowhere near subduction zones. Many sedimentary basins start out as rift systems, which created accommodation space for deposition.

        2. Why do oil reserves increase annually, despite the daily high production, as already described?

        Proved reserves has a specific legal definition. Publicly traded US oil companies have to “book” proved reserves according to very strict SEC rules.

        Here’s a very simplistic example of proved reserves (1P):

        Proved

        Schematic cross section of an oil-bearing sandstone trapped on the up-thrown side of a normal fault, up-dip to a dry hole with an oil show (lowest known oil, LKO).

        Since the well was drilled up-dip to a dry hole with an oil show, the entire volume can be booked as proved because the down-dip well has an oil-water contact.

        Here’s a very simplistic example of proved plus probable reserves(2P)

        Probable

        Schematic cross section of an oil-bearing sandstone up-dip to a wet well with no oil show (highest known water, HKW).

        In this scenario, the down-dip well has no oil show, just a wet sandstone. If there is geological or geophysical evidence (e.g. seismic hydrocarbon indicator) demonstrating that the hydrocarbon column extends down-dip, the volume below the lowest known oil can be booked as probable reserves.  Otherwise, it would have to be categorized as possible reserves.

        Production data from the well, pressure decline, water cut, etc. enables the company to increase the booked reserves simply based on well performance.

        Furthermore, fields are continuously developed. Additional drilling and well recompletions add new reserves to old fields.

        Proved reserves are also increased through new discoveries.

        All private sector oil companies have to strive to grow their proved reserves sufficiently to more than replace their production.

        3. Why are most oil fields strictly located in favorable structures (anticlines, domes, reefs) over deep fractures, horsts, faults, etc present only in or near the subduction and rift zones?

        They are located “in favorable structures (anticlines, domes, reefs)” because oil is less dense than water and it accumulates there. Most oil fields aren’t “in or near the subduction and rift zones.”

        4. Why are some hydrocarbons produced from, or exist in, organically barren rocks (sepentinites, carbonatites, Precambrian and ophiolitic rocks) present only in or near the subduction and rift zones?

        Because the rocks were porous and permeable and adjacent to organically rich source rocks.

        5. Why are hydrocarbons found to the west and south, but not to the east, of the ophiolite mountain in Oman where carbonates, anticlines, fractures, and faults are also present? Is that because the subduction zone is present to the west and south, and not to the east?
        6. Why are the oil reserves very modest in Syria, Turkey, and Oman, when compared to those in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, The Emirates, and Qatar? Is that because of the inadequate seepage of water (source of hydrogen) into the subduction and rift-zones?
        7. Why are the oil and gas fields located in NW-trending anticlines along the foothills of the Zagros and in N-trending anticlines in Ghowar oil field (Saudi Arabia), Burgan (Kuwait), Dukhan (Qatar), and others, inshore and offshore the Gulf ? What has caused those structures, and the fractures, faults, and horsts beneath them, to form? Aren’t the movements of the Arabian plate and the successive events a product of subduction?

        The same reason that hydrocarbons are found in Texas, North Dakota, the Gulf of Mexico and many other places nowhere near subduction zones.

        8. Where are the sulfur (S), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), iron (Fe), and magnesium (Mg) found in oil likely to originate? Aren’t they all found in basalts and mafic minerals such as olivine and pyroxene (pyrolite) in ultramafics in the lithosphere and asthenosphere?

        The same place that the same trace metals in kerogen originate.

        9. What is the significance of pyrolitic (presence of olivine and pyroxene) characteristics found in drilling cores from producing wells in Israel, in carbonatites in rifted southern Syria, and in serpentinites in Turkey? Don’t those characteristics relate the hydrocarbons to pyroxene and olivine, which release CO2 (source of carbon) upon fracturing (Wyllie -1975, 1977; Wyllie and Huang -1975, 1976; Eggler – 1976, 1978; Wallace and Green – 1988; (Mahfoud and Beck – 1991)?

        Pyrolysis is the thermochemical decomposition of organic matter in the absence of oxygen or other halogens. The question doesn’t make any sense,

        10. Why are oil and gas fields found in traps ranging in age from Upper Paleozoic to Miocene? Has every field originated from a separate petroliferous lithologic source, which petroleum geologists have tried, to no avail, to pinpoint? Could it be that those fields originated from one source and by the some process afterward, differentiated into gas and oil, and driven under pressure to their actual places through fractures and faults? Which of the two approaches is more logical and easier to understand?

        They are also found in the Pliocene and Pleistocene. This is simply more total ignorance of the conventional theory of hydrocarbon formation and accumulation. Some basins have one or two source rock formations. Some, like the Gulf of Mexico, have multiple source rock formations of varying ages…

        The petroleum system elements

        Source Rocks

        Many petroleum basins rely on only one or two principal source rock intervals to generate most of their contained hydrocarbons. The GOM contains multiple, thick, source rock intervals, including Upper Jurassic limestone and marl, Lower Cretaceous marl, lower Upper Cretaceous marl and mudstone and lower Tertiary mudstone (Fig. 2). Cumulatively, these source rocks are dispersed throughout most of the basin’s area.

        Importantly, the bulk of the source rocks lie within the lower portion of the basin fill. The widespread accumulation of organic-rich sediment at multiple stratigraphic levels reflects the beneficial interplay of basin isolation and restricted circulation, tropical paleoclimate, development of a deep, often stratified and/or sediment-starved marine basin center, and high rates of terrestrial organic matter input.

        Hydrocarbon Generation

        The long depositional history and large size of the GOM has resulted in a great diversity of regional burial histories. Mesozoic source rocks of the landward basin margin were buried slowly by younger Cretaceous and relatively thin early Cenozoic sediments (Fig. 3); here petroleum generation progressed slowly in response to burial duration. Basinward, beneath the modern coastal plain and shelf, rapid burial of source rocks led to generation in the early to middle Cenozoic. Beneath the late Cenozoic outer shelf and continental slope depocenters, deep burial brought source rocks into oil and gas kitchens only within the last few million years. The overall pattern of basinward advancing deposition illustrated in the regional dip cross section (Fig. 3) created successive waves of maturation of source rocks. The result was multiple petroleum systems whose peak generation times spanned the 65 million years of the Cenozoic and continue today.

        Migration

        It has long been recognized that the principal GOM source rocks lie far beneath the center of mass of reservoired hydrocarbons. Large-scale upward migration of thousands of meters is commonly required, especially in the Cenozoic reservoirs that contain the bulk of the oil and gas. Here, structures created by the long history of gravity tectonics acting on the salt and overpressured mudstone have played a critical role. Faults, salt bodies, and welds created pathways that extend through source rocks many kilometers into overlying Cenozoic sediments (Fig. 3). The long history of formation and reactivation of these growth structures provided condiuts that were ready and available when pulses of peak generation provided a charge of movable hydrocarbons.

        Reservoirs

        The long history of deposition in the Gulf, with multiple rock types ranging from dolomite and limestone and highly cemented sandstone and mudstone to unconsolidated sand and mud, and depositional environments from carbonate platforms and reefs to deep-marine submarine fans has provided a multiplicity of potential reservoirs. Petroleum has been found and produced from every major stratigraphic unit from the Jurassic Norphlet age eolian siltstones and Smackover age shallow-water limestones directly above the Louann to Pleistocene turbidite sands of the modern continental slope (Fig. 2). Porosity types range from simple intergranular pores to secondary leached pores in deeply buried, highly cemented sandstones. Jurassic and Cretaceous carbonate reservoirs commonly exhibit fracture porosity. As conventional reservoirs have been exploited onshore, effort has successfully shifted to unconventional reservoirs, including fractured chalk (Austin), tight sand (Cotton Valley-Hosston), and shale (Bossier). Here, source rock and reservoir can be intimately mixed.

        The pattern of Cenozoic continental margin progradation due to the high rate of sediment supply placed a succession of reservoir systems one on top of the other. Unlike many basins, storage space for sediment on the basin margins was quickly filled by rapid sediment supply through multiple rivers. Coastlines prograded to and over the shelf edge much of the time, transporting sand directly to the upper slope and into the deep basin. Sandy submarine fans were overlain and buried by continental slope turbidites. Slope sands were commonly trapped and ponded within intra-slope basins and troughs created by salt evacuation and extensional faulting. In turn, delta and shore-zone sand bodies prograded across the shelf and over the continental slope succession. Many of these depositional systems, such as submarine fans and coastal barrier bars, created naturally isolated reservoir systems that efficiently retain hydrocarbons. Syn-depositional and post-depositional structural deformation further disrupted sand-body continuity, enhancing retention potential.

        The high rates of sediment supply and rapid subsidence resulted in vertically stacked sand bodies with depositional patterns repeated tens of times over kilometer-thick successions; multistory reservoir systems are a characteristic feature of GOM Cenozoic petroleum fields. The thick, repetitious sand successions provide immense available pore volumes. Thus, Gulf reservoirs are commonly under-filled. The widespread development of overpressure further increases productivity of many reservoirs.

        Traps and Seals

        The GOM is a mud-dominated basin. Seals are abundantly interleaved with potential reservoir facies. The complex depositional and structural architectures combine to create a diverse array of trap types. A short list of important trap types include basement structural highs, primary salt domes and turtle anticlines, growth faults and roll-over anticlines, complex faults, folds and discontinuities associated with salt canopies, basin-floor fold and thrust belts, sub-unconformity truncations, facies changes, and terminations against salt.

        Like reservoir successions, structural features of the Gulf display great vertical extent (Fig. 3). The interplay between syn-depositional deformation and deposition enhanced the vertical stacking of reservoirs in the trapping structures. In general, the GOM may be thought of as a high-impedance basin. Pathways up and out of the very thick, structurally compartmentalized basin fill are laced with detours, delays, and dead ends.

        A multitude of possibilities

        The Gulf of Mexico basin is a contradiction: a highly mature petroleum province that continues to yield new frontier plays.

        Over much of the basin, drilling has penetrated only the upper one-half to two-thirds of the sediment column. Exploration of complex structures beneath canopies is in its infancy. Discoveries beneath the deep continental slope argue for the presence of thick sand-rich intervals in this untested section. Deep-water Jurassic and Cretaceous objectives of the eastern Gulf remain largely undrilled, as does much of the continental slope of the western Gulf.

        Technologic advances and changing energy economics, together with this vast untapped volume of demonstrably hydrocarbon-rich basin fill ensure that the GOM will continue as a major player for decades to come.

        http://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2009/03/gulf-of-mexico

        Hydrocarbon Systems Analysis of the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Delineation of Hydrocarbon Migration Pathways Using Seeps and Seismic Imaging

    • After the nonsense about helium, I stopped reading.
      Formations that can trap natural gas can also trap helium, which is a byproduct of radioactive decay which occurs throughout the crust.

      • I have a headache because I didn’t stop reading after “anomalies and paradoxes.” The anomalies and paradoxes are a series of red herrings and straw men built around total ignorance of the conventional theory of hydrocarbon formation and accumulation.

      • So you completely lack any ability to consider simultaneously two competing theories.

        Helium of course is a gas and cannot just travel through solid rock. The amount of helium concentration in the oil and gas is hundreds of times higher than natural.

        Explain the concentrations of heavy metals in the oil.

      • You seem to be completely ignorant of the fact that heavy metals exist everywhere, even in rock.
        As the oil/gas migrates through rock that has heavy metals in them, some of those heavy metals will leach into the oil/gas.
        You seem to be ignorant of the fact that if natural gas can more through rock, helium can even more easily since it’s a smaller molecule.

      • And, when one drills into capped formations that have no natural gas or oil there is no helium.

        It is a fact that helium is found with natural gas and oil reservoirs and that fact is one of the commercial methods that is used to find the look for oil and gas. i.e. They look for helium released in the area.

      • Many explanations. Not all capped formations are completely impermeable.
        The area below the capped formation may be impermeable.
        The fact that helium is a lot more mobile than either oil or gas is also a factor.

      • William Astley November 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm
        And, when one drills into capped formations that have no natural gas or oil there is no helium.

        It is a fact that helium is found with natural gas and oil reservoirs and that fact is one of the commercial methods that is used to find the look for oil and gas. i.e. They look for helium released in the area.

        Helium is not “one of the commercial methods that is used to find the look for oil and gas.” Helium is the product of radioactive decay of granite and other basement rocks. Most gas reservoirs have at least a trace of helium because all sedimentary basins are underlain by crustal basement rocks. Since helium has such a tiny atomic radius, only the most impermeable rocks can trap significant volumes of it. The highest helium concentrations are found in gas fields underlain by granitoid rocks, rich in uranium and/or thorium and capped by very impermeable seals, like halite or anhydrite.

        http://geology.com/articles/helium/

    • @William Astley
      William, I really enjoyed reading your debate here with David concerning the possible origins of our “fossil Fuels”. You bring up many interesting points that deserve further thought and study and expand the conversation. It is disappointing when someone like MarkW would ‘seemingly’ rather shut down any debate and condescend to you than debate with a positive response to your points. Thank you for bringing your points to the front.

      • @William Astley
        Ps. One thing I would like to add is that it seems to me that many oil fields are located at or near what once were old river beds leading out to seas or lakes where a great amount of sediments would have been deposited over great timespans. You mentioned that many of the oil deposits have been found at or near the continental plate boundaries. Perhaps the runoff sediments from the rivers into the seas / oceans (and past inland seas) are why this occurs.

        My being a novice only inspires my interest in the subject, but, to me, it seems that if oil is organic, these river runoff areas from the continents would be the places where oil would be found. OTOH, your ideas are very interesting for consideration because there are, perhaps, many more things happening at plate boundaries from inside the Earth, beneath the mantel, than we are aware of. It sounds like the subject hasn’t been fully ‘put to rest’ yet. So, again, thanks for putting in your two cents. And to heck with the naysayers

  26. I may be having a senior moment here, but I do not understand the following calculation of MPGe, the EPS’s number for gasoline equivalent energy for electric cars. It’s supposed to be “well to wheel”.

    ———————————————————————————-
    Eg = gasoline-equivalent energy content of electricity = (Tg * Tt * C) / Tp ?? equation

    where:

    Tg = U.S. average fossil-fuel electricity generation efficiency = 0.328
    Tt = U.S. average electricity transmission efficiency = 0.924
    Tp = Petroleum refining and distribution efficiency = 0.830
    C = Watt-hours of energy per gallon of gasoline conversion factor = 33,705 Wh/gal
    Eg = (0.328 * 0.924 * 33705)/0.830 = 12,307 Wh/gal

    PEF = Eg * 1/0.15 * AF * DPF = 12,307 Wh/gal/0.15 * AF * DPF
    PEF = 82,049 Wh/gal * AF * DPF
    ————————————————————————————-
    Starting at the well it looks to me like it should be:
    Tp*Tg*Tt*C=Wh/gal Each step in the process reduces the amount of energy delivered from a gallon of oil.

    I can’t see why the refining efficiency is used as a divisor, increasing the Wh/gal. 12307 vs 8478 Wh/effective gallon, an increase of about 45%.

    It’s also not clear whether or not the electricity used in the refinery is included.

    • I don’t see any factor for conversion losses from wallplug to wheel. AC to DC, electrical to chemical, chemical to electrical and finally the motor control and the motor itself.

  27. Fusion is coming fast, Energy supplies are then infinite essentially, as is any material shortage in other raw material.

  28. Isn’t it wonderful the CAGWbscam/hoax is going the way of Lysenkoism ,another left wing “Science”

    • Nobody has ever denied that peak oil will happen someday (except for the abiotic crowd). The contention has been on the belief that it has already happened or is about to happen.

  29. It is of course possible to determine using chemical thermal dynamic analysis to determine whether a chemical reaction will or will not occur, at a specific temperature and pressure (see this attached peer reviewed paper for the analysis).

    Plant residue will not change to liquid petroleum at the temperature and pressures where the liquid petroleum is found. The fact there is no natural reaction that will convert biological residue to liquid petroleum in the conditions where the liquid petroleum is found is show stopper number one for the biogenic hypothesis for the origin of oil.

    The biogenic supporters will not discuss biogenic show stopper number 1 as there is no solution. Perhaps show stopper number 2 would be trying to explain the super, super, large middle east, Alberta, and Venezuela petroleum deposits.

    As this paper notes chemical thermal dynamic analysis shows that long chain carbon molecules will not spontaneously be formed, except at great pressures (at pressures that occur at roughly 100 km below the surface of the earth.

    To provide added support for their assertion they perform an experiment that produces long chain hydrocarbons from CH4 using a diamond anvil that can recreate the pressure at great depths.

    The following are excerpts from this paper.

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/99/17/10976

    The evolution of multi-component systems at high pressures: VI. The thermodynamic stability of the hydrogen–carbon system: The genesis of hydrocarbons and the origin of petroleum, By Kenney, Kutcherov, Bendeliani, and Alekseev

    The scientific problem of the genesis of hydrocarbons of natural petroleum, and consequentially of the origin of natural petroleum deposits, regrettably has been one too much neglected by competent physicists and chemists; the subject has been obscured by diverse, unscientific hypotheses, typically connected with the rococo hypothesis (1) that highly reduced hydrocarbon molecules of high chemical potentials might somehow evolve from highly oxidized biotic molecules of low chemical potential. The scientific problem of the spontaneous evolution of the hydrocarbon moleculescomprising natural petroleum is one of chemical thermodynamic-stability theory. This problem does not involve the properties of rocks where petroleum might be found or of microorganisms observed in crude oil.

    Natural petroleum is a hydrogen–carbon (H–C) system, in distinctly nonequilibrium states, composed of mixtures of highly reduced hydrocarbon molecules, all of very high chemical potential and most in the liquid phase. As such, the phenomenon of the terrestrial existence of natural petroleum in the near-surface crust of the Earth has presented several challenges, most of which have remained unresolved until recently. The primary scientific problem of petroleum has been the existence and genesis of the individual hydrocarbon molecules themselves: how, and under what thermodynamic conditions, can such highly reduced molecules of high chemical potential evolve?

    The expression in the second line of Eq. 2 states further that for any circumstance for which the Affinity does not vanish, there exists a generalized thermodynamic force that drives the system toward equilibrium. The constraints of this expression assure that an apple, having disconnected from its bough, does not fall, say, half way to the ground and there stop (a phenomenon not prohibited by the first law) but must continue to fall until the ground. These constraints force a chemically reactive system to evolve always toward the state of lowest thermodynamic Affinity.

    These constraints force a chemically reactive system to evolve always toward the state of lowest thermodynamic Affinity. Thus, the evolution of a chemically reactive, multicomponent system may be determined at any temperature, pressure, or composition whenever the chemical potentials of its components are known. To ascertain the thermodynamic regime of the spontaneous evolution of hydrocarbons, their chemical potentials must be determined.

    There are dozens of other paradoxes and anomalies with biogenic hypothesis.

    See API’s collection of papers in published the book ‘Origin of Crude Oil’ in for a partial list. The solution to a reaction that will not occur is addressed in a API paper by stating the solution is ‘time’ where time is in bold and in italics.

    Another anomaly discussed is the lack of biological material left on ocean floors. The ocean biological systems are highly efficient in consuming all dead biological material so there is minimal amounts of biological material deposited on the ocean floor, yet there are massive liquid petroleum deposits on the continental shelves.

    The explanation as to why there are massive liquid petroleum deposits on the continental shelves is that deep source CH4 moves up with ocean floor crust and is deposited on under the continental shelves. The deep CH4 movement also explains the formation of mountains on the side of the continents and explains the crustal motion itself. The continents float on the mantel.

    • Sheesh, the ignorance is almost unbearable.
      As has been pointed out time and again, oil can and does migrate from where it is formed to where it is found.
      Beyond that the belief that the temperatures where oil is found is always too low for oil to form is completely wrong.
      All of your so called paradoxes have been explained away.

    • William Astley November 16, 2016 at 3:06 pm
      It is of course possible to determine using chemical thermal dynamic analysis to determine whether a chemical reaction will or will not occur, at a specific temperature and pressure (see this attached peer reviewed paper for the analysis).

      Plant residue will not change to liquid petroleum at the temperature and pressures where the liquid petroleum is found. The fact there is no natural reaction that will convert biological residue to liquid petroleum in the conditions where the liquid petroleum is found is show stopper number one for the biogenic hypothesis for the origin of oil.

      Good fracking grief!

      Oil isn’t derived from plant residue. While plant residue (vitronite, etc.) is present in oil, it is formed primarily from algae. It doesn’t form where it is found.

      Every step of the process has been observed in nature and the process has been repeated many times under laboratory conditions. The only part of the process which cannot be replicated is time.

      Petroleum generation by laboratory-scale pyrolysis over six years simulating conditions in a subsiding basin

      J. D. SAXBY & K. W. RILEY

      CSIRO Division of Fossil Fuels, PO Box 136, North Ryde, New South Wales 2113, Australia

      […]

      Consequently, we have heated potential source material from 100 to 400 °C over six years, increasing the temperature by 1 °C per week. This was done in an attempt to simulate the thermal history of a sample being buried in a continuously subsiding basin with a constant geothermal gradient. After four years, a product indistinguishable from a paraffinic crude oil was generated from a torbanite, while a brown coal gave a product distribution that could be related to a wet natural gas. Of great significance is the absence of olefins and carbon monoxide in all products. We believe the present experiments, which are possibly as slow as can be realistically planned within a human time scale, have for the first time successfully duplicated hydrocarbon generation in a continuously subsiding sedimentary basin.

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v308/n5955/abs/308177a0.html

      This bit is pure nonsense…

      Another anomaly discussed is the lack of biological material left on ocean floors. The ocean biological systems are highly efficient in consuming all dead biological material so there is minimal amounts of biological material deposited on the ocean floor, yet there are massive liquid petroleum deposits on the continental shelves.

      The volume of organic carbon-rich sediment in the Earth’s crust is massively large. The Gulf of Mexico has accumulated more than 60,000′ of sedimentary column over the last 200 million years. The Cenozoic section, alone, is more than 40,000′ thick in places. The Quaternary can be more than 30,000′ thick in some locations. Most ot the sedimentary column is composed of thick, organic-rich shale.

      Oil is still being formed and migrating from source to reservoir rocks in the Gulf of Mexico. The Pleistocene reservoirs are less than 2.5 million years old and many have only been charged over the last 275,000 years. The reservoirs simply aren’t being charged as quickly as we are producing them.

      Red areas indicate ~20,000 meter sediment thickness.

      Oceanic Sedimentary Isopach Map

      Marine black shales, deposited under anoxic conditions are loaded with the stuff that oil is made of…

      Total organic carbon (TOC) averaged 10% by weight.

      The Cretaceous, in particular, was a hydrocarbon “kitchen.” Marine conditions couldn’t have been more favorable for the deposition of source rocks even if they had been designed for such a purpose…

      “DSDP sites at which Cretaceous sediments rich in organic matter were encountered. From Dean and Arthur, 1986.”

      Cretaceous Proto-Atlantic

      The Lower Tertiary Eocene was also a hydrocarbon kitchen (up to 21% TOC).

      There is no shortage of organic matter in the sedimentary basins of the Earth’s crust.

  30. Not to poke the abiotic vs biogenic oil origin bear, but aren’t there moons around Jupiter and Saturn with oceans of liquid methane? To be of biogenic origin then life would have to exist now or in the past there, other wise an abioitic origin is the only logical conclusion. Am I missing something?

    • wow, this just posted. I typed it before the exhaustive discussion between Mr. Middleton and Mr. Astley. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

      • Methane isn’t oil… Not even close. For the 300th time in this thread, inorganically sourced methane is abundant. Evidence for inorganically sourced crude oil is as close to nonexistent as it can get. The fact that the process is possible doesn’t provide evidence for inorganically sourced crude oil.

        That said, the issue is 100% academic.

    • Yes there is lots of abiotic methane in the solar system. Not on Earth given its hot rocky formation (Moon and all that). There is some newish, mostly in methane clathrate in the Framm Strait owing to unusual geological seafloor spreading circumstances there and iron catalysis. There is NO abiotic oil. Sweden was a contamination mistake. Ukraine was a gross geological,overthrust mistake, and this can be proven using C12/C13 ratios based on known photosynthesis pathway preferences.

  31. Been travelling today; Wisconsin dairy deer season opens Sat. But spent a couple of hours reading about this new USGS report before coming here. Much BS out there. Two years ago the Wolfcamp minor operators were hyping 3.5% recovery factors. (Bakken is ~1.5). Seemed credible, since some of the 4 Wolfcamp shale members have porosity as high as 4%. (Conventional oil is >5%.)
    But postponing peak oil by decades?!?. Not. Fact. When Saudi Arabia finished reworking the southernmost section of Ghawar with water flood (7million barrels/day) in 2010, Aramco estimated remaining recoverable Ghawar reserves at 65Bbbl. Lasting until ~ 2035 at declining production rates. Wolfcamp hyped is 1/3 of Ghawar alone. In 2012, Ghawar provided 6% of the world’s oil.

  32. Thank you David.

    The reader also needs to be reminded that the USGS and IEA do not have some large drilling and testing budget for backing up these projections. They rely heavily on the private sector to produce the data in the first place and delineate the resource and the technical innovations and rate of efficiency gain to unlock the marginal resource. Any suggestion or claim of special knowledge by official agencies or expertise beyond that is patently false.

  33. David, Thanks for the link to the nature paper. That is the first paper that I have seen concerning the formation of crude oil from biological material, that claims partial success at creating material from biological matter at a temperature of 400C that has some similarity to crude oil.

    As Gold notes there are Isomers of aromatic hydrocarbons in crude oil which have been demonstrated to have a formation temperature of between 700 and 1,100C. He also notes the biological crude origin theory has problems explaining nickel and vanadium prophyrins.

    As Gold also notes the deep earth non biological origin of oil is a not new theory. It is the standard theory in the old Soviet Union and is the theory that the Russians have used to become the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world.

    This is good summary of Gold’s other logical pillars if you are interested.

    http://origeminorganicadopetroleo.blogspot.ca/2011/01/thomas-gold-professional-papers.html

    The discovery of oil, deep in the Baltic Shield, may be considered a decisive factor in the hundred year old debate about the biogenic or abiogenic origin of oil. This discovery was made in deep wells that were drilled in the central part of the crystalline Baltic Shield, on the initiative of T. Gold.

    Can There Be Two Independent Sources of Commercial Hydrocarbon Deposits, One Derived from Biological Materials, the Other from Primordial Carbon and Hydrogen, Incorporated into the Earth at its Formation? Thomas Gold November 1996

    … In any discussion of the ultimate origin of hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) that are commercially extracted, this is a major question: are there two pathways for generating these deposits, or is there evidence that there is only one? If it can be shown that there is only one, then a proof of the derivation of any one hydrocarbon deposit would constitute a proof that this represents the derivation of all.

    The two pathways that are under discussion are a derivation from biological materials deposited in the sediments, or a derivation from carbonaceous materials incorporated into the Earth at its formation. ….

    The similarity of all commercial crude oils encompasses the following factors:
    1.) Nickel and vanadium porphyrins are found in varying proportions, but in all petroleum deposits. Porphyrin molecules are complex molecules made up of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, together with a metal atom. Their presence in petroleum has been attributed to chlorophyll from photosynthesizing plants, and to the haem of the blood of animals, and both these will indeed produce porphyrin molecules. But those would contain the metal atoms of magnesium and iron. However no single case is known of magnesium or iron porphyrins having been found in petroleum anywhere. An explanation that on every occasion in all oils the original metal atoms had been exchanged for just nickel and vanadium from the rocks in their surroundings, seems extremely improbable. No explanation has been offered how plant debris would have produced the nickel and vanadium molecules, while, in the other explanation, nickel and vanadium complexes may well be expected, since these two metals are particularly prone to make organometallic compounds. This find therefore favors a deep origin, and at the same time a common origin for all oils.

    2.) The heavier hydrocarbon molecules have a large variety of isomers (molecules of the same number of hydrogen and carbon atoms, but assembled in different geometrical configurations). The distribution of isomers of aromatic hydrocarbons has been demonstrated to depend upon the temperature range of their formation. Studies of the isomers of 322 oils from various oil fields of the world, have shown that they have a common set of isomers, a set that has been demonstrated to come from a formation temperature of between 700 and 1,100 °C. There is no significant difference in this range between oils coming from different tectonic settings.

    The overall hydrocarbon composition corresponds to the equilibrium state at temperatures 1,300 to 1,500 °C and pressures of 20 to 40 kb. The estimate is that this is the condition in the upper mantle at depths of 60 to 160 km. Temperatures and pressures in the sedimentary blanket are certainly far from the conditions necessary to account for the isomeric composition characteristic of all natural oils. (This information comes primarily from the publications of two chemists and thermodynamicists from the Ukraine, G.E. Boiko and E.B. Chekaliuk, over the years from 1950 to 1982. Although there is much reference to these publications in the Soviet scientific literature, and I have referred to them in my publications, I have found no other reference to these in the U.S., British, German or French literature.) This universal property of oils thus makes it extremely unlikely that two completely different modes of formation could have been responsible for such complex but similar products; at the same time the temperature range indicated is far too high for a sedimentary origin.

    The depth range indicated is also that of the derivation of diamonds, whose formation required the presence of unoxidized carbon under a pressure in excess of 30 kb. Violent gas-driven eruptions from upper mantle depths were required to deliver the diamonds and other deep source materials to the surface.

    3.) The common association of hydrocarbons with helium has no explanation in a biological origin theory; in a theory involving the ascent of hydrocarbons from deep levels, the physical process of sweeping up the gases in the pores of the rock, would be expected; and helium is a significant component of those. This also points to a derivation of the majority of oils from deep levels.

    4.) The arguments of Robert Robinson still stand, that any biological debris would be quite unlikely to produce hydrogen-saturated hydrocarbons. The hydrogen/carbon ratio of biological materials is too low in the first place, and slow chemical processing in geologic settings would lead to a further loss of hydrogen. Yet most commercial hydrocarbon deposits contain methane and other high hydrogen components. The average hydrogen proportion is greater, the deeper the level from which the hydrocarbons are withdrawn, corresponding to a hydrogen loss during the upward migration of the fluids.

    The overall conclusion is therefore that natural petroleum has detailed chemical features that are common to all, and that we must therefore consider that all derived from the same process. Moreover, most oils bear clear evidence of having had a deep origin, and a high temperature of formation.

    Excerpts from the paper by P.N. Kropotkin, entitled “On the History of Science: Professor N.A. Kudryatsev (1893-1971) and the Development of the Theory of Origin of Oil and Gas”

    Presented at a conference in Moscow in 1995, honoring Professor Kudryatsev’s contributions to the field. (William: See link for the presentation.)

    • William,

      The inorganic sourcing of petroleum is not impossible. However, the incessant repetition of its possibility is not evidence that it occurs in any significant manner and the total ignorance of the conventional theory and basic geology doesn’t help whatever case you think you are making.

      • David, Thanks for the above thoughtful comments. I have read everything you have written and checked your links. Regards, William.

        I am of course presenting evidence to support the assertion that super high pressure liquid CH4 is extruded from the earth’s liquid core as it solidifies and that the extruded super high pressure liquid CH4 migrates up through the mantel. A portion of the extruded CH4 is asserted to form natural gas reservoirs and liquid crude reservoirs.

        The assertion that CH4 (CH4 is one of the possibilities based on density) is in the liquid core is consistent with measurements of the transit time of deep earth disturbances. Theoretical studies indicate the CH4 would be extruded when the core solidifies.

        Estimates of the CH4 content of the liquid core is roughly 5%. The liquid and solid core of the earth is roughly the size of the moon. The liquid core of the planet is believed to have started to solidify roughly a billion years ago.

        I am not just stating an assertion is or is not correct. Evidence is presented to support the assertion. Other researchers are following a road that leads to same theory.

        If a theory is correct in most cases in a generation or two the problem will be worked out, as researchers die or retire and new people enter the field looking for unresolved problems.

        The internet may speed up the process as will the consequences of what is currently happening to the sun.

        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090910084259.htm

        Fossils From Animals And Plants Are Not Necessary For Crude Oil And Natural Gas, Swedish Researchers Find

        “There is no doubt that our research proves that crude oil and natural gas are generated without the involvement of fossils. All types of bedrock can serve as reservoirs of oil,” says Vladimir Kutcherov, who adds that this is true of land areas that have not yet been prospected for these energy sources.

        But the discovery has more benefits. The degree of accuracy in finding oil is enhanced dramatically – from 20 to 70 percent. Since drilling for oil and natural gas is a very expensive process, the cost picture will be radically altered for petroleum companies, and in the end probably for consumers as well.
        “The savings will be in the many billions,” says Vladimir Kutcherov.

        …To identify where it is worthwhile to drill for natural gas and oil, Vladimir Kutcherov has used his research to arrive at a new method. It involves dividing the globe into a finely meshed grid. The grid corresponds to fissures, so-called ‘migration channels,’ through underlying layers under the surface of the earth. Wherever these fissures meet, it is suitable to drill.

        http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n8/full/ngeo591.html

        Methane-derived hydrocarbons produced under upper-mantle conditions

        Anton Kolesnikov1,2, Vladimir G. Kutcherov2,3 & Alexander F. Goncharov1
        There is widespread evidence that petroleum originates from biological processes1, 2, 3. Whether hydrocarbons can also be produced from abiogenic precursor molecules under the high-pressure, high-temperature conditions characteristic of the upper mantle remains an open question. It has been proposed that hydrocarbons generated in the upper mantle could be transported through deep faults to shallower regions in the Earth’s crust, and contribute to petroleum reserves4, 5. Here we use in situ Raman spectroscopy in laser-heated diamond anvil cells to monitor the chemical reactivity of methane and ethane under upper-mantle conditions. We show that when methane is exposed to pressures higher than 2 GPa, and to temperatures in the range of 1,000–1,500 K, it partially reacts to form saturated hydrocarbons containing 2–4 carbons (ethane, propane and butane) and molecular hydrogen and graphite. Conversely, exposure of ethane to similar conditions results in the production of methane, suggesting that the synthesis of saturated hydrocarbons is reversible. Our results support the suggestion that hydrocarbons heavier than methane can be produced by abiogenic processes in the upper mantle.

        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161020103858.htm

        Five hundred vents newly discovered off the US West Coast, each bubbling methane from Earth’s belly, top a long list of revelations about “submerged America” being celebrated by leading marine explorers meeting in New York.

        “It appears that the entire coast off Washington, Oregon and California is a giant methane seep,” says RMS Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard, who found the new-to-science vents on summer expeditions by his ship, Nautilus.

        The discoveries double to about 1,000 the number of such vents now known to exist along the continental margins of the USA. This fizzing methane (video: http://bit.ly/2egtF7F) is a powerful greenhouse gas if it escapes into the atmosphere; a clean burning fuel if safely captured.

        “This is an area ripe for discovery,” says Dr. Nicole Raineault, Director of Science Operations with Dr. Ballard’s Ocean Exploration Trust. “We do not know how many seeps exist, even in US waters, how long they have been active, how persistent they are, what activated them or how much methane, if any, makes it into the atmosphere.”

      • William… You keep repeating the argument that inorganically sourced petroleum is chemically possible. I agree with this. However, the possibility of something is not evidence for its existence.

  34. The fossil fable violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    That’s a fact that people David Middleton and Fernado and Doug refuse to acknowledge – simply because it’s not a profitable fact.

    ===============
    The spontaneous genesis of hydrocarbons that comprise natural petroleum have been analyzed by chemical thermodynamic-stability theory. The constraints imposed on chemical evolution by the second law of thermodynamics are briefly reviewed, and the effective prohibition of transformation, in the regime of temperatures and pressures characteristic of the near-surface crust of the Earth, of biological molecules into hydrocarbon molecules heavier than methane is recognized.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/99/17/10976.long
    ===========================

    You can’t can’t convert decaying slime into petroleum without a source of energy. Petroleum has more energy than dead stuff. You can push sh*t uphill without a source of energy.

    What is the balanced chemical equation that converts lipids, triglycerides, carbohydrates and proteins into hydrocarbon species?
    I can tell you the equation for photosynthesis.
    Why can’t fossil proponents do the same for petroleum?
    Why must we have faith?

    Verbage about alleged “biomarkers” and how kerogen equal biological (even though Comet Haley is 1/3 kerogen) has been debunked as many times at has been repeated. But religious people never let facts undermine the basis of their cult.

    * * * *
    The capital fact to note is that petroleum was born in the depths of the earth, and it is only there that we must seek its origin.
    –Dmitri Ivanovitch Mendeléev, 1877
    * * * *

    Petroleum is a crucial feedstock for autotrophs that infest the planet from sediment to surface, from pole to pole…

    ========
    “…methane is the primary food source for most microorganisms thriving in the ocean floor. ”
    Methane Devourer Discovered In The Arctic, ScienceDaily (Oct. 20, 2006)
    ========
    A chemotrophic ecosystem found beneath Antarctic Ice Shelf
    AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION, VOL. 86, NO. 29, PAGE 269, 2005
    ========
    “The input from natural marine oil seeps alone would be enough to cover all of the world’s oceans in a layer of oil 20 molecules thick. That the globe is not swamped with oil is testament to the efficiency and versatility of the networks of microorganisms that degrade hydrocarbons,”
    -Marine microorganisms make a meal of oil (Jones DM, Röling WF, 2006)
    ========

    Life comes from petroleum – not vice versa:
    http://living-petrol.blogspot.com

    The biosphere is doomed when it runs out of petrol.

    • Every step of the process has been observed in nature and the process has been repeated many times under laboratory conditions. The only part of the process which cannot be replicated is time.

      Petroleum generation by laboratory-scale pyrolysis over six years simulating conditions in a subsiding basin

      J. D. SAXBY & K. W. RILEY

      CSIRO Division of Fossil Fuels, PO Box 136, North Ryde, New South Wales 2113, Australia

      […]

      Consequently, we have heated potential source material from 100 to 400 °C over six years, increasing the temperature by 1 °C per week. This was done in an attempt to simulate the thermal history of a sample being buried in a continuously subsiding basin with a constant geothermal gradient. After four years, a product indistinguishable from a paraffinic crude oil was generated from a torbanite, while a brown coal gave a product distribution that could be related to a wet natural gas. Of great significance is the absence of olefins and carbon monoxide in all products. We believe the present experiments, which are possibly as slow as can be realistically planned within a human time scale, have for the first time successfully duplicated hydrocarbon generation in a continuously subsiding sedimentary basin.

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v308/n5955/abs/308177a0.html

    • You can’t can’t convert decaying slime into petroleum without a source of energy.
      How about 20,000psi?

      • It’s not “decaying slime”. The trick is to bury it before it decays. Our friend forgot the planet gets hotter as we go down, pressures increase, and it’s fairly easy to turn fresh moose meat into oil, if we shred it, mix it with salt water and clay, add a pinch of Tabasco, and cook it slowly at 300 F and 15000 psi for 1 million years.

      • Yep. While the geothermal gradient can be quite variable, the deeper something is buried, the hotter it gets…

  35. Peak Oil Indefinitely Postponed

    Putting 20B barrels of oil in perspective, globally we use around 85M barrels per day and so 20B barrels represents 235 days of oil consumption. That’s not exactly cause for “Indefinitely Postponed” celebrations.

    • No, democracy is postponed in Venezuela. How much oil does it have under rational investment and development conditions?

      • What does this to do with the find of 20B barrels?

        Political strife is very real and impacts oil production. You cant just wave it away unless you’re prepared to take the oil by force.

        “You heard me, I would take the oil, I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take the oil.” – Donald Trump.

        Is this the future of oil?

      • Gotta watch Venezuela. China may have it’s eyes on that little parcel of the Americas. The Monroe Doctrine still has some weight, doesn’t it?

      • I watch Venezuela. The outside power controlling Venezuela is Cuba. This is an inconvenient truth the USA media doesn’t care to discuss. I suppose because they don’t want to rile up Obama’s move to get friendly with Raúl Castro. I’m still trying to figure out why the GOP neocons decided to hand over 40 million into slavery in Cuba and Venezuela. Maybe they are too focused on their Arab terrorism wackamole problems and think communists are ok dudes?

    • The resource is in Venezuela but not tapped. That is the relevant issue for global Peak Oil theory and discussion. The same could be said of offshore oil in the Gulf of Mexico on the Mexican side of international line extending into deep water but not drilled or tested.

  36. Geoff the Geo, Brisbane

    As a sceptical geologist this post by David Middleton and the comments generated makes the heart and mind soar to stellar levels. Hydrocarbons also have a role to play in base metal generation. At the Century zinc deposit, the second largest Zn deposit in the world 250km N of Mt Isa, open pit mining since 1990 has now exhausted this amazing deposit. The mineralised shale containing fine-grained grey sphalerite (ZnFe sulphide) and some Pb and Ag is highly laminated and looks like it formed on the seafloor.

    However, it actually formed at depths from 500m to a km or so below the surface, as heated basinal brines rich in chlorides and base metals migrated up fault zones into a subsurface basin containing organic-rich shales. The warm hydrothermal fluids raised rock temperatures to the ‘oil window’ and generated hydrocarbons in the shale, which then migrated out of the source area, leaving significant permeability in the buried strata sufficient for the zinc and Pb and Ag to be deposited in its place, as the oxidised ore fluid was reduced by the carbon-rich shales. The deposit so formed contained 120 million tonnes @ 10% Zn, 1.5% Pb and 36g/t Ag, and although now closed, its legacy has been enormous wealth creation, infrastructure and skills development in a remote part of northern Australia.

  37. Technology has speeded up depletion rates but found ways to get access to 20x more of the thin layer of oil. But since 1859 we have found oil to be located in very narrow layer due to “cooking” recipe that makes sludge vs oil vs gas. Cost goes up as “conventional” oil reserves are depleted of course. Hubbert was right about conventional oil using existing technology and peak conventional production in US did peak in 1970s using known technology.

    Horizontal drillng plus high pressure fracing have us another half century of moderate cost oil…say $35 per barrel at current dollar value. And unconventional oil from offshore or shales is great extender but at $60 or more. So at $150 a barrel another half century perhaps. Its all about costs vs market demand.

    But as alternative energy sources become cheaper (and many are already very cheap) oil like coal may not be sought just as whale oil is no longer sought. I am only 80 and the entire oil industry so far is less than 200 years old while humans have tried to keep warm or cook food for at least 10 or 100 centuries while oil was forming for 1000 or more centuries. Sssslllooowwww.

    But why should WE worry. Life is short.

  38. 20 billion barrels equals about 235 days of global consumption. That’s a strange definition of “indefinite.”

    • Not when you grasp the fact that the Wolfcamp is just one reservoir out of dozens in the Permian Basin, which is just one of dozens of major sedimentary basins in the world, that this is the single largest resource assessment ever issued by the USGS, the USGS has a nearly perfect record of underestimating resource potential and that Peak Oil was already indefinitely postponed prior to this announcement and that I have a penchant for sarcasm.

      • You’re speculating David.

        I’ll be pleased of we dont hit peak oil anytime soon but just because we find another years worth isn’t cause to believe we’re out of the woods.

      • Thing is we can’t find many wolf camps or bakkens or uticas elsewhere. The Monterrey shale was a huge failure, the Polish shales were no good, you won’t find any quality shales to develop in the Gulf of Mexico, there’s nothing viable so far in Australia, the Bazhenov is still being tested, and on and on. The same way Saudi Arabia lucked into Ghawar the USA has lucked into a fairly large family if drillable shales, and an industry able to scrape by drilling these shales thanks to generous banker sugar daddies.

      • @TimTheToolMan,

        Peak oil is dependent on the size of the recoverable resource. Every barrel added to the total recoverable resource pushes peak oil further into the future.

      • David says

        Peak oil is dependent on the size of the recoverable resource

        Peak oil is related to the size of the recoverable resource but is entirely dependent on whether it can be produced at the rate needed globally (currently about 85M barrels per day)

        In this case we’ve potentially pushed peak oil out 235 days. And the important thing about this article is that the USGS says “this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done”

        Well someone needs to do that every 235 days to put peak oil off indefinitely.

  39. Okay I read to wear the USGS claims it made a discovery of oil and had to stop because that is the type of nonsensical bureaucratic BS press release that needs to be cleared up immediately. The USGS did not discovery jack squat, several midmajor oil companies did.

    • Glad it’s the first thing you pointed out.

      It’s really hard to say when oil will price itself out. There are places all over the world on passive margins in stable countries that have hardly even been explored, including Florida and the East Coast in the US. You can never say it’s definitely not there until you truly test it with a drill bit.

  40. from Geoff the Geo

    Whilst the Permian era (300 to 250 million years old) has been extremely productive both in the USA for oil and gas, and in Queensland’s Bowen Basin in Queensland for coal, the Century zinc deposit noted above with hydrocarbon affinity has host rocks dated at 1595 million years old, and mineralisation age of 1575 million years. This shows the laminated zinc ores were formed long after the basin was formed, and that Precambrian oil will always remain somewhat of a novelty, but an important one in the case of Century.

  41. David,
    Your fossil fable violates thermodynamic law, as explained in the pnas paper you fastidiously ignored.
    The unreproducible Australian propaganda you cited has no chemical equation in it.

    • The PNAS paper fundamentally misstates the conventional theory of hydrocarbon formation and then argues against a strawman of their own construction. This passage could only be the product of total ignorance or a bald-faced lie:

      The spontaneous genesis of hydrocarbons that comprise natural petroleum have been analyzed by chemical thermodynamic-stability theory. The constraints imposed on chemical evolution by the second law of thermodynamics are briefly reviewed, and the effective prohibition of transformation, in the regime of temperatures and pressures characteristic of the near-surface crust of the Earthh, of biological molecules into hydrocarbon molecules heavier than methane is recognized.

      The conventional theory of hydrocarbon does not bear any resemblance to a “spontaneous genesis of hydrocarbons” and the sources of energy are heat, pressure and chemical reaction resulting from heat and pressure.

  42. “… stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones …”.

    Currently, we use more of flint on toolmaking?
    Certainly not.
    This ancient method of use flint (existing today) I like the most: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jgdhefeYSbI/USOqZUj019I/AAAAAAAAAMU/iN1LCdASB48/s1600/DSC01777.JPG.

    In many regions the Stone Age ended abruptly. The proof are warehouses full of semi-finished stone for making tools … (https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UE50KiRNQUA/UdFd8fWkPUI/AAAAAAAAIls/-IY7pBzpF-w/s1024/IMG_6330.JPG)
    And so, whether it is proof of “the foresight”, or (rather) alarmists thoughtlessness – folly?

  43. David,

    The C.S.I.R.O. extract does not specify the conditions required for me or you to produce crude oil from:
    (i) carbohydrates
    (ii) lipids
    (iii) triglycerides, and
    (iv) proteins

    * There is no mention of a pressure regime in the abstract.
    * There is no mention of Gibbs free energy available in the products or the reactants, thus no measure of the discrepancy between the two, as is required to calculate if the reaction can occur spontaneously.
    * There is no balanced chemical equation that explains where all the oxygen, nitrogen and trace elements went.

    They can’t even be bothered specifying what “potential source material” they heated in unspecified conditions. It’s pathetic, to say the least. I’m surprised that you cited it.

    Did you bother to read the PNAS paper?

    I ask because you didn’t address a single point in it.
    You also ignored the logistical problem of accumulation presented by hydrocarbon-guzzling microbes infesting the planet since the dawn of life.

    • The PNAS paper fundamentally misstates the conventional theory of hydrocarbon formation and then argues against its own strwaman fallacy.

  44. David: your excellent lead article and subsequent patient and very enlightening replies to so many comments have been exceptional and a perfect example for other essayists.

    Thank you for such committed work. You deserve a medal!

  45. Although coming late to the party here, I couldn’t resist making a few comments.

    USGS press release is crap. Just viewed it on one of the business channels; these guys should get a retired oil industry professional to fact check their BS.
    – oil in place can be determined by a combination of seismic, well bore logs, and well testing results (note that we gotta have wells in place to do this. I’ll give USGS the benefit here in that there is certainly a significant number of wells penetrating the Wolfcamp and it sounds like there has been recorded production. USGS should have stayed away from reporting the oil as “recoverable oil”
    – the conversion to recoverable oil is the big issue. There has to be evidence that the shale can be drilled horizontally and hydraulically fractured successfully and economically. There has to be production testing to prove sustained economical rates. The nature of determining recoverable oil from original oil in place for a shale resource is iffy from a technical standpoint for a large area as referenced in the article. And lastly, to define recoverable oil, one must be aware of the economics of recovery, dependent on the development and operating costs in relation to a specified oil price.

    AND,
    Ristvan sez: “Aramco estimated remaining recoverable Ghawar reserves at 65Bbbl”. That is not a lot of oil. Someone should point this out to Aramco and suggest that they shut in the field. Maybe the post-er missed an M or two. (I’m an old hand and still refer to a million bbls as MMBbl.)

    Sorry, Ristvan – couldn’t help myself.

  46. I too would like to thank David for this post and hope the blood pressure has dropped. Having read the Gold book I found the idea of “inexhaustible” non-biological oil appealing but the explanation and diagrams David has shown seem to me to have disproved the notion.

    Has anyone actually tried the slow-cooked moose? Probably can’t be much worse than the meal I’ve just made myself. On the other hand I do have this theory that there’s a lot of oil to be discovered by horizontally fracking gas stations…

    • I wouldn’t say that I’ve disproven Gold’s theory. It’s just a matter of fact that there is virtually no evidence that significant volumes of petroleum have ever formed in such a manner.

      It’s possible that he’s right and all of the organic matter in petroleum was leached out of shale formations as it migrated to trapped reservoirs. There’s just no evidence to support this.

  47. Understood…I did actually hesitate about “disproved” but found your explanations convincing to the point that the onus of proof is clearly and heavily with those who claim Gold’s ideas are correct.

    The maps and diagrams you used are particularly interesting and the figures on depths of sedimentary material awesome – in the proper sense of the word.

    Thank you David

  48. Lake Tahoe is 191 square miles in area and averages 1000 feet deep. The volume of water it contains is roughly equivalent to the total volume of oil which has been extracted in all human history. An interesting exercise: Superimpose it on the Texas oil basin map in the OP. Visualization hint – the ‘square’ counties are about 900 square miles (each side 30 miles long) in area.

    • The “resource” is the volume of oil in place.

      “Technically recoverable resource” is the fraction of the resource that can be recovered with existing or likely to exist technology.

      “Economically recoverable resource” is the fraction of the technically recoverable resource that can be economically recovered using reasonable product price assumptions.

      Pliocene-Pleistocene reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico can have a resource of 1,500 bbl per acre-foot, with an economically recoverable resource of 500 to 750 bbl per acre-foot.

      • Thanks for the reply. Supplementary question. Is there much of a difference between peak “technically recoverable” and peak “economically recoverable”?

      • The difference can range from 0 to 100%.

        100% technical recovery is possible in some reservoirs. They just have to be large enough accumulations to justify the cost of secondary and tertiary recovery methods.

        The Green River oil shale (actually a marl) has a technically recoverable resource potential of over 1 trillion bbl of unconventional oil. So far, the economically recoverable resource potential has been 0 bbl.

  49. “The PNAS paper fundamentally misstates the conventional theory of hydrocarbon formation”
    ===========

    No it doesn’t.

    * * * * *
    “In the geologic past, conditions have periodically recurred
    in which vast amounts of organic matter
    were preserved within the sediment of shallow, inland seas
    .”
    U.S. Department of Energy
    * * * * *
    “Owing to most oil fields being associated with limestone, many theorists conclude that petroleum is the result of animal fats of pre-historic animals” [!]
    http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/123538155?searchTerm=petroleum%2C%20oil&searchLimits=
    * * * * *

    Even asphalt is food, David:

    Part of the western culture of corruption involves fastidiously ignoring any facts that undermine socially constructed myths. Where did the oil shale on Comet Haley come from, for example?

    Let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist!

  50. from the USGS announcement:
    “This estimate is for continuous (unconventional) oil, and consists of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources.”

    So it’s a crapshoot as to how much can be recovered at a viable price.

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