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Saturday, September 12, 2009


There has been an interesting discussion on CCNet on "peak oil" following this article on abiotic oil (ie produced by the pressure & temperature deep under the earth & thus if the process works should be in enormous amounts) which shows that Swedish scientists have found oil at very deep levels where it has certainly been formed by the geology in the interior of the earth rather than being, as the normal theory suggests, created by the burial of animal bones. (Rereading it like this the animal body death theory sounds somewhat improbable as a way of producing such vast amounts of oil but it is the accepted view.)

Richard Wakefield had said that this would merely put off the date of peak oil, particularly if oil use keeps expanding geometrically.

Max Beran said "On the wider issue, it does seem to me that by essentially dismissing the volume of oil as an irrelevance, Richard Wakefield does not give proper weight to the issue of imminence. A response to an event that has a high chance of afflicting our own or our children's generation should not be the same as one much further down the line. For sure we would need to do something dramatic in the first case, but, given the near certainty of technological advance and the uncertainty of everything else, my view is that the second case is much better addressed by ensuring that the next generation have the wherewithal to keep those advances coming"

Jon Richfield said "The "proven reserves" concept is tricky at best, and even without political difficulties in difficult regions, there are strong incentives for creative interpretation ...What in anything that either of the Richards or I said suggests that there is any reason to modify my opinion that until we have a sufficiently sound substitute for fossil energy, we (fossil-fuel-using humanity) have an imminent and urgent problem?"

I replied on a somewhat different direction that oil from algae will make oil a renewable resource, if peak oil doesn't hit within 50 years, which both sides said it wouldn't.
I believe Jon Richfield is wrong about it being largely irrelevant when conventional oil runs out.

A number of people are experimenting in producing oil grown from algae.

It seems clear this will work though how long it takes to replace much of our conventional oil is an open question. I personally think that the future will involve growing it over square miles of ocean in a variant of a method suggested for the Aquarius floating island concept.

In any case if conventional oil will last even 50 years let alone the "one century or two" he accepts as the options then we need never run out of oil.

Neil Craig
Richard Wakefield disputed whether there was any abiotic oil "Research in the 1950's showed certain molecules in oil are very similar to animal lipids. We don't need to drill into the deep earth (which can take decades to do) to test the theory...It seems a total waste of time, money and energy to start drilling very deep wells or drill in Precambrian rock, when there is no hope of finding any oil. Nor does it make sense to drill just to disprove the abiotic "theory".

David Eden on the other hand said that already existing reserves prove there is no need to worry "The fear about running out of oil in the next few decades has been based on a misunderstanding of oil reserves. Reserves aren't just based on technical studies of oil quantities and recovery rates, they are based on economics. As with any product, it's uneconomic to produce and hold too much inventory in advance of selling it. Inventory in this case is proved reserves, which can be recovered with a high degree of confidence given current technology and prices.

Exploration and characterization of reserves is expensive, so it's not economic to have reserves proved out for decades of future consumption. Fortunately, for the past hundred years or so, technology has steadily improved and we've been able to keep up"

It seems to me that if abiotic oil exists at all & the Swedes have conclusively proven it does, the reserves are bound to be enormous since they require geological conditions that have always existed all round the Earth. The conventional reserves are likely to be considerably more than the official figures, probably at least doubled by both shale oil in Canada & elsewhere & methane clathrate in Arctic & undersea locations. And beyond that that algae & GM will make oil a fully renewable resource anyway. With several different ways in which it is disproven "peak oil" which has been prophesied in 5-10 years since the 1850s should finally be put to rest.

If you are interested in knowing the facts about "global warming", "peak oil" or most of the other pseudo-scientific hobgoblins government & eco-fascists frighten us with I suggest you subscribe to Benny Peiser's CCNet which reports the latest news stories from across the world.

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"probably at least doubled by both shale oil in Canada"...

The quote displays your magnificent ignorance of the topic.

Canada doesn't have shale oil - it has tar sands, the extraction of which is questionable at best.

The USA has HUGE deposits of shale oil (but it's not oil - it's kerogen) which the oil companies have been playing with for about forty years. NOBODY CAN MAKE IT PAY for the simple reason that in both energy and $$$s it cost more in input than you get back out.
Shale oil is bituminous materails found in rocks, of varying sizes. Tar sand is butuminous materials found in sand, of varying size brain. The 2 definitions obviously overlap.

You are also wrong about it being impossible to profitably mine it since Canada is doing just that.
"as the normal theory suggests, created by the burial of animal bones"


Go back to school
You do have a point here. I have to agree about algae oil, which I believe will be pretty helpful. Actually, it might possibly even be our life-saver in the future.

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