It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


"Running into Oil..."

page: 1

log in


posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 10:05 PM
Because a fact seems strange to you, you conclude that it is not one. ... All science, however, commences by being strange. Science is successive. It goes from one wonder to another.
It mounts by a ladder. The science of to-day would seem extravagant to the science of a former time.
- Victor Hugo

All that is Organic...

Organic Matter in the Universe

The term organic matter was originally created to refer to compounds derived from natural living things which are fundamentally different from those derived from nonliving substances (inorganic matter). It was believed that living things posses a "vital force" which is absent in nonliving things. By the early nineteenth century, advances in chemical techniques had let to the isolation and discovery of an increasing number of molecules from living biological organisms.

At the same time it was commonly and firmly believed by many chemists that these moloecles could only be produced by living organisms. While inorganic matter could be produced in he laboratory by chemical means, scientists thought organic matter could not synthesized from inorganic matter because it lacked the "vital force".

Now our definition of organic matter has evolved from something that posses a special nonphysical element such as the "vital force" to a group of molecules and compounds based on the chemical element carbon (C). The element carbon is unique in its versatility for forming different chemical bonds (...) it can also combine with other elements such as hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), sulfur (S) and phosphorus (P). This group of elements froms the basis of living organisms. We note that four elements - hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen - make up more than 99% of the mass of most cells. These four elements are also the first, third, fourth and fifth most abundant elements in the Universe.

Conventional wisdom is, in most cases, based on a present dominant paradigm. Although the change in the definition of organic matter took place almost a century ago, 'organic' when referring to matter is today still often strongly associated with biological life.

The first traces of evidence of molecules with increasing complexity in space were detected in the late 1930's, with spectral analysis of early-type stars. Since then, all variations of large, complex molecules (PAH's, amino acids, sugars) have been detected in the vicinty of interstellar nebulae and sun-like stars, along with light-and heavy hydrocarbons on comets, asteroids and virtually every planet (or its moons) in the solar system.

Today it is conventional wisdom amongst scientist that practically every process related to the formation of hydrocarbons and the complex molecular structures based on the element, happens in space in the absence of life.

We might think of most of the Universe as a vast, cold, uncaring place where elements rule… But we’d be wrong. Astronomers are now reporting that organic compounds of high diversity exist throughout the Cosmos and aren’t the primary property of life. Are we all just “star stuff”? You bet. Complex organic materials can be produced by stars!

While these complex compounds bear a resemblance to our Earthly coal and petroleum, they’re out there. Professor Sun Kwok and Dr. Yong Zhang of the University of Hong Kong have found that organic compounds exists throughout the Universe. These stellar by-products are mixture of aromatic (ring-like) and aliphatic (chain-like) components that closely resemble fossil fuels – a remnant of life. Does this raise eyebrows? Darn right it does. It means that “complex organic compounds can be synthesized in space even when no life forms are present.”

Not only are the stars producing complex organic materials, but they’re pumping them into interstellar space as well. And the idea isn’t new. Kwok had proposed stars as compound factories and this current research supports his vision. “Our work has shown that stars have no problem making complex organic compounds under near-vacuum conditions,” says Kwok. “Theoretically, this is impossible, but observationally we can see it happening.”

Read more:

Interstellar Refinery

An international team of scientists has just detected a new interstellar molecule in our galaxy. This molecule, called the propynylidyne ion (C3H+), is part of the hydrocarbon family, which composes one of the major energy sources on Earth, petroleum and natural gas.

The discovery of this molecule at the heart of the famous Horsehead Nebula in the Constellation of Orion confirms that this nebula is an active petroleum refinery for the interstellar medium.

But how do these hydrocarbons form? In their article, Jérôme Pety and his team propose that they result from the fragmentation of giant carbonaceous molecules named PAHs. These giant molecules could be eroded by ultra-violet light, giving a large amount of small hydrocarbons. This mechanism would be particularly efficient in regions like the Horsehead Nebula where the interstellar gas is directly exposed to the light of a nearby massive star. « We observe the operation of a natural refinery of petroleum of gigantic size », concludes Jérôme Pety.

Precursors of Life in Space?

Hunting PAH's with Spitzer

continued on next post..

posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 10:05 PM
There are no real paradoxes in science; the apparent paradoxes are merely nature's polite way, sotto voce, of informing us that our understanding is incomplete or erroneous.- Thomas Gold

-From Outer Space to Inner Earth-

For the most part of 20th century it was believed that the exclusive domain of life would be the Earth'surface. Rare variations found in the form certain microorganisms (extremophiles), deep ocean species or invertebrates discovered in caves at a depth of 6500 ft, were thought to be the exception to the rule. The paradigm of what is required for biological life to exist is based on certain principles.

Water in liquid form needs to be present, a source for a sufficent supply of energy for an ongoing biochemical reaction and temperatures within a certain range, in addition, the more complex living organisms become, a number of further conditions are essential for life to be sustainable. The range of (atmospheric) pressure, radiation not exeeding a certain limit, the ability to withstand toxic elements, the pH-value and most importantly a habitat not in the state of a chemical equilibrium.

The belief that conditions in the Earth's interior were not suitable for life to form and exist were based on assumptions made according to this paradigm. Pressure, Temperature and Toxicity was believed to be too high for living organisms and because it was assumed that during its formation, Earth had been in molten state for a long time a near chemical equilibrium would exist deep beneath the surface, except for the shallow regions of the Earth's crust.

While the paradigm itself still stands, almost all assumptions regarding the subsurface-conditions have turned out to be incorrect. In the past three decades hundreds of new species of microbiological organisms have been discovered, comprising a rich, diverse biotop that reaches as deep as five miles below the surface. The discoveries have greatly extended the knowledge of the processes happening inside Earth, confirming the central thesis of a Deep Hot Biosphere (T. Gold, G. Ourisson) that exists largely independent from life on the surface.

Life deep down under

For the first time, scientists have discovered microbes living deep inside Earth’s oceanic crust — the dark volcanic rock at the bottom of the sea. This crust is several kilometres thick and covers 60% of the planet’s surface, making it the largest habitat on Earth.

The microbes inside it seem to survive largely by using hydrogen, formed when water flows through the iron-rich rock, to convert carbon dioxide into organic matter. This process, known as chemosynthesis, is distinct from photosynthesis, which uses sunlight for the same purpose.

Life in Asphalt

Environmental scientists at UC Riverside have discovered that the Rancho La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, Calif., house hundreds of new species of bacteria with unusual properties, allowing the bacteria to survive and grow in heavy oil and natural asphalt.

Trapped in soil that was mixed with heavy oil nearly 28,000 years ago, the bacteria are uniquely adapted to the pits’ oil and natural asphalt, and contain three previously undiscovered classes of enzymes that can naturally break down petroleum products, the researchers report.

“We were surprised to find these bacteria because asphalt is an extreme and hostile environment for life to survive,” said Jong-Shik Kim, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Environmental Sciences, who initiated the study. “It’s clear, however, that these living organisms can survive in heavy oil mixtures containing many highly toxic chemicals. Moreover, these bacteria survive with no water and little or no oxygen.”

Deep Surface Life

Life extends far deeper into the Earth's subsurface than presumed possible 30 years ago. In the past, it was assumed that life is a surface phenomenon, and that even ‘hardy prokaryotic types’ are not capable of living deeper than tens of meters below the surface. In the 1990s, it became apparent that genetically and metabolically diverse microbial communities existed under highly reducing conditions in the deep subsurface. Today we know that life in the deep subsurface is ubiquitous and comprises a large proportion of the biomass on Earth.

Deep Hot Biosphere - Thomas Gold - Book Preview

DHB - pnas article - Thomas Gold 1992


New Horizons

A Life Form on Mars?

continued on next post...

posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 10:06 PM
Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained.- Richard Feynman


And then there was Oil...

What does all that have to do with oil. For most scientists in the West there is no question that petroleum - and all carbon-based resources - are in fact, "fossil fuels", formed from the fossilized remains of living organisms. This is also regarded as widely accepted by the general public, including policymakers, the media and all related businesses and industries.
According to most documentation, the alternative theory of an abiogenic origin of natural oil and gas had its strongest support in the former soviet union (therefore also called the Russian-Ukranian theory), were it was and still is part of intensive scientific research.

However, the notion that the results of this research had subsequently led to Russia's success in oil and gas production, is only partly true, as is the argument put forward by critics that there would be no evidence for this claim and that in recent years acceptance has generally shifted in favor for theory of a biogenic origin. As often, the reality is much more complex.

Initially, i was planning to dedicate the next part to an attempt to re-examine both theories or least to the question, if such a reexamination would be warranted in light of the new evidence and discoveries (as posted above).
I dropped the idea, because i had to realize that it would not meet the required standard, not matter how thorough and detailed the analysis would be. I'm no scientist, there are too many things i would have to take for granted and i don't possess the knowledge to assess the validity of certain claims, even if i did, to be comprehensive enough, it would be nothing short of book . A book that has already been written, multiple times.

What i will do instead is to provide some of the source material and references i was planning to use for the thread. Hopefully this will suffice to get at least an overview about the relevant information.
I still believe the question can be answered, within a scientific context. Conformation bias in science is only too often part of the exchange and leads to circular arguments and intellectual dead ends. In order to avoid this, i would ask you to take the time and go through the provided material, before you reply in support of one of the two theories.

Abiogenic Petroleum- Wiki

The Non-Organic Theory

J. F. Kenney on Petroleum

The Russian-Ukrainian Theory

Deep Earth Hydrocarbons No.1

DEH's No.2

DEH's No.3

The Energy Mistake - H.J. Zillmer - Book Preview

Methan & Hydrogen Sulfide Degassing

T. Gold Theoretical Overview

Wired Interview with Thomas Gold


The Abiogenic Theory - Historical Overview - G.P. Glasby

Fossil Fuel

No Free Lunch- A Critique Part 1

No Free Lunch Part 2


Related ATS threads:




continued on next post...

posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 10:06 PM
Resources are highly dynamic functional concepts; they are not, they become, they evolve out of the triune interaction of nature, man, and culture.- Erich Zimmermann


Too much or too little of it...

The last century has been undoubtely "the Age of Oil". For many, Nuclear Power and Space Exploration are amongst the greatest achivements in human history, but it was Oil, Gas and Coal that have fueled an unprecedented economical progress. Oil has been the reason for enormous wealth in some regions of the world and for extreme poverty in regions that have no access to it or where a few have the power and the means to control its supply. Oil has been a reason for governments to go war and it has become one the most effective (geo)political tools, by limiting its production and create an artificial scarcity.

Ever since M. King Hubbert first published his theory of Peak Oil and the Club of Rome's "Limit of Growth" report has alerted the public to an end of Oil in the foreseeable future, the topic has been subject to intense debate and controversy. While the predictions have been adjusted time and time again, and the announced dates for the final decline came and went, the concept of Peak Oil had a profound impact on the Global Economy and the World's Social Structure.

Fast Forward to recent times. Media and web coverage on Peak Oil exponentially increased from the early 2000's up to 2012 with hundreds of articles, op-eds and expert analyses. The quality of the publications varied widley, but the trend was clear.
The point when global demand will outpace supply would come around the year 2020, perhaps as early as 2015, often citing reports of the IEA (2006-2010) and statements from CEO's and Experts in the Oil-Industry. Then, in mid 2012, with Deep Sea Drilling, the Shale Oil Boom, Tar Sands and Natural Liquid Gas Production in full siwng, the predictions and forecasts and with it the coverage changed, again.

We were wrong...?

The facts have changed, now we must change too. For the past 10 years an unlikely coalition of geologists, oil drillers, bankers, military strategists and environmentalists has been warning that peak oil – the decline of global supplies – is just around the corner. We had some strong reasons for doing so: production had slowed, the price had risen sharply, depletion was widespread and appeared to be escalating. The first of the great resource crunches seemed about to strike. (...)

Governments, businesses and voters who seemed impervious to the moral case for cutting the use of fossil fuels might, we hoped, respond to the economic case.

So this is where we are. The automatic correction – resource depletion destroying the machine that was driving it – that many environmentalists foresaw is not going to happen. The problem we face is not that there is too little oil, but that there is too much.

John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil interviewed on CNBC, February 2012

"I think OPEC is about maxed out. when people talk about spare capacity in OPEC, I don't see it. I just don't see it coming through and I'm not sure it's there. And it's not just that they're greedy, but they're really producing what they can produce."

Gerald Schotman, Shell’s chief technology officer, February 2013

“We, as an industry, are now able to see what we had previously not been able to see, and find what we previously had not been able to find. But we are also able to make more out of these reserves, by being cleverer about the ways we manage them.”

International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2010, November 2010

"Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 mb/d, by 2020, but never regains its all-time peak of 70mb/d reached in 2006."

Yves-Louis Darricarrere, President of Total's oil and gas exploration division at CERAWEEK, March 2012

"We think it will be difficult to produce more than 95 to 97 million barrels per day in the foreseeable future."

OPEC reacts to US Shale Boom April 2013

The first signs are emerging that key Persian Gulf members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are adjusting their strategies to cope with the growing threat that North American shale oil is making to their long-term dominance in global energy markets. (...)

Back in the 1980s, vertical integration was a key strategy employed by OPEC’s largest producers to cope with the encroachment of rising non-OPEC production and a related price collapse. The question remains whether the market is about to see a déjà vu or whether geopolitically-driven supply disruptions from traditional production regions like the Middle East or Venezuel

posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 10:10 PM

Collin Campell

"Oil is ultimately controlled by events in the geological past which are immune to politics."

The Oil Drum 2008 articles

Oil Production per Country

IMF Meeting -Spring 2013- OPEC Statement


- Peter Odell

Meanwhile, proven oil reserves worldwide continue to expand - every year more oil is added to reserves than is used. It is thus a fact that the world is running into oil rather than out of it.....?

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 12:20 AM
You've certainly done your research. Maybe more than most people can stomach ina single sitting.

I appreciate your efforts and willingness to take the time to gather the links, pick the relevant excerpts, and then further elucidate that with your thoughts. You have all the hallmarks of a great thread.

Unfortunately for you, Boston is all anyone cares about so a great thread get lost in the shuffle.

Saturn’s orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to new Cassini data.


That's from 2009

"The nebula contains 200 times more hydrocarbons than the total amount of water on Earth!", said IRAM-astronomer Viviana Guzman.

Using IRAM's 30m-telescope, astronomers find indications for vast petroleum reservoirs in the Horsehead Nebula

A little more recent at 2012.

These same scientists will tell you that, yes space may be full of organic compounds, but the only place these things come from on earth is dead dinosaurs and jungles.

My ex wife's godfather was head chemist at one of the oil refineries in Texas City when he retired and did consulting work all over the world even then. The man was a genius, had a couple of patents and gave away more money than I will probably make in my life.

Him and his wife (she was a really neat lady too) have a building or maybe even a wing at a prestigious university named after them.


I had a conversation with him some time before he passed away based on an article I read in Wired that talked about abiotic oil. He told me that what they were finding was that all of our prior conceptions of how oil was formed were wrong and that the true nature of oil's genesis would barely be believed.

It's continually being produced deep in the earth and then finds it's way up through cracks and crevices. It gathers into reservoirs and where we eventually find it.

Organic compounds are part of the gas and dust that nebulae are made of, which are then used to make stars, planets, and moons. Of course there will be concentrations of these compounds and when you add the energy of heat, some amazing chemistry takes place.

I submit we are nowhere near an energy shortage.

But we are extremely short of care for our planet and for each other as witnessed by the pollution and wars we generate daily as a species.

Maybe one day we will learn. I hope it's not too late on that day.

posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 02:59 PM
reply to post by jadedANDcynical

Thanks for your appreciation.

I already anticipated the thread would get buried rather quickly and that probably not many people will read it due to the overload of information. But i could see no point in putting up another "peakoil isn't coming - thread" or a post like "there is oil in space too" and just leave it at that.

In the current climate (no pun) there seems to be no way to openly speculate about the possibilty that some of our basic assumptions might be fundamentally flawed, at least not without running the risk that the debate is becoming highly polarized. I wonder what it will take to change that.

But we are extremely short of care for our planet and for each other as witnessed by the pollution and wars we generate daily as a species. Maybe one day we will learn. I hope it's not too late on that day

I feel the same way. Still strangely optimistic.

posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 03:22 PM
Very good article. It is kinda long but worth the read. I have read quite a few articles addressing non biotic oil out there. It is almost certain that the oil on this planet may not be here from fossil fuels, instead it may be that life here was created because of this oil that did not have origins from lifeforms. It does seem strange that the oil is under the water, oil raises, not sinks in water. I think they may have had it all wrong in the past. I think they are now possibly steering towards the correct conclusions Why does Titan have so many hydrocarbons is a major clue?

S&F for all the work. I hope to see some others input on this also.

top topics


log in