I tend to agree with insite on this and would also add some good news on the plus side of it.
"Deep underwater, and deeper underground, scientists see surprising hints that gas and oil deposits can be replenished, filling up again, sometimes
Although it sounds too good to be true, increasing evidence from the Gulf of Mexico suggests that some old oil fields are being refilled by
petroleum surging up from deep below, scientists report. That may mean that estimates of oil and gas abundance are far too low.
According to marine geologist Harry Roberts, at Louisiana State University, "petroleum geologists don't accept it as a general phenomenon because it
doesn't happen in most reservoirs. But in this case, it does seem to be happening. You have a very leaky fault system that does allow it (petroleum)
to migrate in. It's directly connected to an oil and gas generating system at great depth."
What the scientists suspect is that very old petroleum -- formed tens of millions of years ago -- has continued migrating up into reservoirs that
oil companies have been exploiting for years. But no one had expected that depleted oil fields might refill themselves.
Now, if it is found that gas and oil are coming up in significant amounts, and if the same is occurring in oil fields around the globe, then a lot
more fuel than anyone expected could become available eventually. It hints that the world may not, in fact, be running out of petroleum.
"No one has been more astonished by the potential implications of our work than myself," said analytic chemist Jean Whelan, at the Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts. "There already appears to be a large body of evidence consistent with ... oil and gas generation and
migration on very short time scales in many areas globally," she wrote in the journal Sea Technology.
"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.
They found clams and tube worms that experts recognized as "chemo-synthetic communities," creatures that get their energy from hydrocarbons --
oil and gas -- rather than from ordinary foods.
It has long been known by geologists and oil industry workers that seeps exist. Roberts said it's clear that "the Gulf of Mexico leaks like a
sieve. You can't take a submarine dive without running into an oil or gas seep. And on a calm day, you can't take a boat ride without seeing
gigantic oil slicks."
Analysis of the ancient oil that seems to be coming up from deep below in the Gulf of Mexico suggests that the flow of new oil "is coming from
deeper, hotter formations" and is not simply a lateral inflow from the old deposits that surround oil fields, she said. The chemical composition of
the migrating oil also indicates it is being driven upward and is being altered by highly pressurized gases squeezing up from below.
It is suspected that the process of upward migration of petroleum is driven by natural gas that is being continually produced by deeply buried
bacteria and from oil being broken down in the deeper, hotter layers of sediment. "