Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Abiotic Oil

I was reading a post by Jonathan at the Past Peak blog about the apparent nearness of peak oil. He got a pretty negative comment from an anonymous contributor who suggested that Jonathan's forecasts of peak oil's imminence were clouded by his apparent desire that it be true (something I'm guilty of, too, I'm sure). Anyway, I thought it was pretty harsh, so I rushed to Jonathan's defense. This led to an exchange of comments between anonymous which may not have stopped yet. Along the way, I learned of the concept of "abiotic oil," the idea that oil isn't a fossil fuel at all but results from inorganic reactions at high temperature and pressure deep below the earth's surface. Apparently there has been lots of research into this in Russia for over 50 years. Anonymous referred me to a couple of articles on the topic, one of which extrapolated the idea that oil is produced abiotically into the idea that it is therefore much more abundant than we think, and that it is even a "renewable" resource. This extrapolation is presented with very little evidence (one oil field in the Gulf of Mexico that seems to refill itself), and used to suggest therefore that peak oil isn't real--it's just a hoax being pulled by the oil companies and countries to drive prices higher.

Anyway, there's a lot more detail, including links to the articles I mentioned above and a lot more ranting by yours truly, over at Past Peak--if you're interested (or not).