Are Coal, Natural Gas, and Crude Oil Really "Fossil Fuels"?


Is There Any Real Shortage of Oil?

© O. R. Adams Jr. 2011


Several arguments have been used in preventing the development and use of our hydrocarbon resources. One is that smoke and harmful pollutants from the exhausts of automobiles and coal-fired plants generating electricity harm the environment and the people. Certainly there was once some truth in that, but major strides have been made in cleaning up our air. Exhausts of automobiles have been greatly improved, along with efficiency of engines. The output of pollutants of generating plants has been greatly reduced. But things like this will never satisfy the environmental radicals. They want to completely eliminate the use of our hydrocarbon resources, and I believe that the real reason is that they want to destroy our American way of life, in all of its aspects. Since it has been established that both coal generating plants and gasoline automobiles can be used and still have reasonably clean air, and certainly air that is not harmful to living things, these radicals are left with two primary arguments. One is man-made global warming. The falsities and weaknesses of that argument are detailed in the article on this website, The Make-Believe-World of Global Warming.[1] The other is called the Peak Oil Theory.  

The "peak oil theory" is a theory that has long been used by radical environmentalists, and those against the production and use of oil, to try to convince us that we are nearing the end of the world's oil, and should be starting to use alternative energy sources. A basic element of the theory is that oil is a "fossil fuel." A succinct statement of the theory is:

The term "peak oil" is used to describe the point at which the earth's supply of oil will no longer be able to meet our energy needs. Oil is not a renewable energy source, and therefore can and will be exhausted at some point in the future. There is still a lot of debate about the projected date of peak oil due to our inability to accurately take stock of current world oil supplies. As early as the 1950's geologists have been warning of an oil supply collapse.[2]

The Peak Oil Theory was largely the invention of geophysicist M. King Hubbert, with his prediction "that the fossil fuel era would be of very short duration." He originally published a world production curve on the theory in 1956, using the prediction that the world oil production would peak in 1970. That prediction of course proved to be quite untrue, but that does not stop those who want to shut down our oil production. They just revise it when facts force them to, and continue with the theory and their efforts to shut down our oil production as much as possible. Below is a plot of the curve from the Hubbert website, indicating revision over the years.[3]  

A 2008 article on the National Public Radio (which has a well known liberal slant) website direly states: "According to those who believe in what's called 'peak oil theory,' world oil production has already peaked, or flattened, and in the foreseeable future, the declining resource will inevitably change the way we live."[4]

Anyone that has kept up with the news knows recent discoveries and information on oil reserves indicate that something is wrong with the predictions of the peak oil advocates, whether or not oil is a fossil fuel. In addition, more recent information raises grave doubts on whether or not the major hydrocarbons are even "fossil fuels."

It is well established that our earth contains vast reserves of hydrocarbons in the form of coal, natural gas, and crude oil (unrefined petroleum). For ages, these have generally been called "fossil fuels." From a mathematical and common sense standpoint, it has always seemed unreasonable to me that all of these vast reserves could have come from the decaying of the fossils of dead animals and plants, or from them somehow being buried in the crust of the earth and converted to hydrocarbons by the earth's heat and pressure. Also, this would be an ongoing process, and there is no proof of any such ongoing process. On researching the question, I found an enormous amount of scientific writing, and established facts, that are directly contrary to the "accepted wisdom" of "fossil fuels." It also appears that the accepted wisdom that the world is facing an oil shortage is directly contrary to the established evidence.

The basic elements of hydrocarbons are hydrogen and carbon. These elements exist on earth in forms that are both organic and inorganic. Large amounts of inorganic hydrogen and carbon are found in the earth, the atmosphere, and the universe. Examples are carbon contained in limestone and dolomites in the earth. Carbon dioxide, a gas, is one part carbon and two parts oxygen and naturally exists in the earth's atmosphere from inorganic sources, and in the universe.  

Abiotic or abiogenic hydrocarbons are those that did not come from organic sources. Biotic or biogenic hydrocarbons are those that come from organic sources, and which are called "fossil fuels" for that reason.

The "conventional wisdom" today is still that our vast petroleum reserves in the world are fossil fuels. How this came about is interesting. Dr. J. F. Kenney is a Western geophysicist who has taught and worked in Russia, studying under Vladilen Krayushkin, who developed the huge Dnieper-Donets Basin oil and gas fields.[5] Kenney, in 1996, wrote the paper, Considerations About Recent Predictions Of Impending Shortages Of Petroleum Evaluated From The Perspective Of Modern Petroleum Science.[6] In it he explains that the fossil fuel idea originated from a 1757 paper by the Russian, Mikhailo V. Lomonosov. To this day there has been no real proof of the theory, but it was cited and repeated over the years, until it was considered actual fact. [Such things have been a most unfortunate occurrence in various branches of science on a number of subjects over the years.] The biotic theory of oil was actually discarded by the Russians in 1956, when another Russian, Professor Vladimir B. Porfir’yev, senior petroleum exploration geologist for the U.S.S.R, published a paper concluding:

The overwhelming preponderance of geological evidence compels the conclusion that crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the Earth. They are primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths.

Kenny's article states that in 1968, another Russian petroleum expert wrote a paper presenting further evidence:

Statistical thermodynamic analysis has established clearly that hydrocarbon molecules which comprise petroleum require very high pressures for their spontaneous formation, comparable to the pressures required for the same of diamond. In that sense, hydrocarbon molecules are the high-pressure polymorphs of the reduced carbon system as is diamond of elemental carbon. Any notion which might suggest that hydrocarbon molecules spontaneously evolve in the regimes of temperature and pressure characterized by the near-surface of the Earth, which are the regimes of methane creation and hydrocarbon destruction, does not even deserve consideration. [Emphasis added]

Also, by 1994, the Russian and Ukrainian scientists were responsible for the discovery and development of "eleven major and one giant oil and gas fields ... in a region which had, forty years ago, been condemned [based on the fossil fuel theory] as possessing no potential for petroleum production" using the new science on origination of oil, and where it might be located. Because of this new abiotic source technology, fields are being developed at depths much deeper in the earth than fossils could be expected to have ever existed. The actual evidence today is all contrary to the fossil fuel theory. Kenney states:

The hypothesis that petroleum might somehow originate from biological detritus in sediments near the surface of the Earth is utterly wrong. It deserves note that Lomonosov himself never meant for that hypothesis to be taken as more than a reasonable suggestion, to be tested against further observation and laboratory experiment. The "biological hypothesis" of petroleum origins has been rejected in this century by scientific petroleum geologists because it is formidably inconsistent with the existing geological records "on the ground." That hypothesis has been rejected also by physicists, chemists, and engineers because it violates fundamental physical law [of thermodynamics]. ... Beginning in 1964, Soviet scientists carried out extensive theoretical statistical thermodynamic analysis which established explicitly that the hypothesis of evolution of hydrocarbon molecules (except methane) from biogenic ones in the temperature and pressure regime of the Earth’s near-surface crust was glaringly in violation of the second law of thermodynamics. They also determined that the evolution of reduced hydrocarbon molecules requires pressures of magnitudes encountered at depths equal to such of the mantle of the Earth. During the second phase of its development, the modern theory of petroleum was entirely recast from a qualitative argument based upon a synthesis of many qualitative facts into a quantitative argument based upon the analytical arguments of quantum statistical mechanics and thermodynamic stability theory. ... [Emphasis added.]

The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins is not controversial nor presently a matter of academic debate. The period of debate about this extensive body of knowledge has been over for approximately two decades (Simakov 1986). The modern theory is presently applied extensively throughout the former U.S.S.R. as the guiding perspective for petroleum exploration and development projects. There are presently more than 80 oil and gas fields in the Caspian district alone which were explored and developed by applying the perspective of the modern theory and which produce from the crystalline basement rock. (Krayushkin, Chebanenko et al. 1994) Similarly, such exploration in the western Siberia cratonic-rift sedimentary basin has developed 90 petroleum fields of which 80 produce either partly or entirely from the crystalline basement. The exploration and discoveries of the 11 major and 1 giant fields on the northern flank of the Dneiper-Donets basin have already been noted. There are presently deep drilling exploration projects under way in Azerbaijan, Tatarstan, and Asian Siberia directed to testing potential oil and gas reservoirs in the crystalline basement.

Although the necessary elements for a mathematical calculation relating to whether or not the vast amounts of hydrocarbon reserves could have reasonably come from fossils cannot be determined with any meaningful accuracy, Kenney's ideas on it are noteworthy. In the article, Confessions of an "ex" Peak Oil Believer,[7] F. William Engdahl noted:  

Kenney told me in a recent interview that “alone to have produced the amount of oil to date that (Saudi Arabia’s) Ghawar field has produced would have required a cube of fossilized dinosaur detritus, assuming 100% conversion efficiency, measuring 19 miles deep, wide and high.” In short, an absurdity. [Of course nothing would have 100% conversion efficiency, either.]

Engdahl also states:

That radically different Russian and Ukrainian scientific approach to the discovery of oil allowed the USSR to develop huge gas and oil discoveries in regions previously judged unsuitable, according to Western geological exploration theories, for presence of oil. The new petroleum theory was used in the early 1990’s, well after the dissolution of the USSR, to drill for oil and gas in a region believed for more than forty-five years, to be geologically barren—the Dnieper-Donets Basin in the region between Russia and Ukraine.

Using its technology on abiotic oil, and where it might be found, Russia has developed huge reserves of the three main hydrocarbon fuels, coal, oil and natural gas. It is now the largest oil producer in the world.[8] And America, crippled by radical environmentalists, and the resulting restrictions on developing and using our natural resources, lags far behind and complains about the shortages, and cries about high gasoline prices. The only shortages that we are faced with are solely caused by these radicals and the influences they have on the Democrats and our President Obama, who is one of them.

At this point, I will comment on a statement in Wikipedia: "Abiogenic petroleum origin is a discredited hypothesis that was proposed as an alternative to theory of biological petroleum origin. It was relatively popular in the past, but it went largely forgotten at the end of the 20th century after it failed to predict the location of new wells."[9] This statement is false and not supported by the material cited, and gives no credence whatsoever to Kenney and the Russian and Ukrainian geologists and physicists, and the major oil fields developed using their theories, although it does make a passing reference to those people. This kind of make-believe world of the radical environmentalists, including the "global warmers," is the primary factor holding back the development and use of the vast deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas in the United States and its coastal waters. On all of the controversial issues that I have researched and written on, I have found this liberal bias of Wikipedia, which I and others have commented on a number of times.

The Russian concentration on oil production, and technology surrounding it, began in 1946 shortly after the Second World War. Stalin and those around him recognized the critical importance, particularly from a military standpoint, of the Soviet Union becoming energy independent. They "launched a massive scientific undertaking that has been compared, in its scale, to the Manhattan Project. The goal of the Soviet project was to study every aspect of petroleum, including how it is created, how reserves are generated, and how to best pursue petroleum exploration and extraction." Their technology and great production of today was the result.[10]

Another significant article by Kenney and several of the Ukrainian scientists is The Drilling & Development of the Oil & Gas Fields in the Dnieper-Donetsk Basin[11] by V. A. Krayushkin, T. I. Tchebanenko, V. P. Klochko, Ye. S. Dvoryanin, Institute of Geological Sciences, Kiev, Ukraine; and J. F. Kenney, Russian Academy of Sciences - Joint Institute of The Physics of the Earth, Moscow, Russia. Gas Resources Corporation, Houston, Texas. The article notes how, with the use of the new technology, Russia moved from oil poor in 1951 to the greatest producer and exporter of oil, today. The article also states the following:

Bacteriological analysis of the oil and the examination for so-called “biological marker” molecules:  The oil produced from the reservoirs in the crystalline basement rock of the Dnieper-Donets Basin has been examined particularly closely for the presence of either porphyrin molecules or “biological marker” molecules, the presence of which used to be misconstrued as "evidence" of a supposed biological origin for petroleum.  None of the oil contains any such molecules, even at the ppm level. There is also research presently under progress which has established the presence of deep, anaerobic, hydrocarbon metabolizing microbes in the oil from the wells in the uppermost petroliferous zones of the crystalline basement rock in the Dnieper-Donets Basin . ...

These results, taken either individually or together, confirm the scientific conclusions that the oil and natural gas found both in the Precambrian crystalline basement and the sedimentary cover of the Northern Monoclinal Flank of the Dnieper-Donets Basin are of deep, and abiotic, origin.

There are a number of scientific papers written by Ukrainian and Russian scientists supporting the theory of the abiotic source of oil. Some, as well as articles by Western experts supporting the idea, can be found on the J. F. Kenney Gas Resources corporation website.[12]

The presence of organic molecules in petroleum deposits has long been taken as evidence for the biological origin of petroleum. In 1999, the late Professor Thomas Gold, of Cornell University, wrote the book, The Deep Hot Biosphere, contending that the organic molecules come from subterranean microbes that feed on hydrocarbons deep in the Earth's crust. Gold's vision of a supply of oil and gas that is essentially inexhaustible drew intense criticism from petroleum geologists.[13] Gold's ideas reflected much of the reasoning of the Russian and Ukrainian experts, but added a theory that crude oil, tar and coal were formed through microbial action on primordial hydrocarbons dating back to when the earth was originally formed.

Instead of merely dismissing these ideas of the Russian and Ukrainian scientists, and of Thomas Gold and others, I believe that Western scientists should have given them careful consideration and further research. It appears that the biotic theory of hydrocarbons has never been proved. There is also another factor that should be considered. Having the world think that there is a shortage of petroleum can work to the benefit of the oil companies by running up the price of oil and gas.

In 1989, Professor Gold wrote an article, about the closed minds of many scientists, in What's Wrong With Science? [14]  He stated:

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth, if it be such as would obliged them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

It seems to be well established now that the only provable bioorganic matter found in petroleum is from contaminants, and that there is no DNA in it. I have found no good scientific articles on the DNA issue, but the "conventional wisdom" of the fossil fuel proponents seems to be that time and pressure would have destroyed the DNA.[15] However, DNA has been found in fossils tens of thousands of years old. The Geology article, Sequence preservation of the osteocalcin protein and mitochondrial DNA in bison bones older than 55 ka [55,000 years], jointly written by a number of authorities, states: "These results suggest that DNA and protein sequences can be used to directly investigate molecular phylogenies over a considerable time period, the absolute limit of which is yet to be determined."[16] Perhaps Science will someday be far enough advanced that good evidence on the question may be established by the existence or lack of existence of DNA in petroleum. Nevertheless, as we will see later in this paper, regarding a writing of Dr. Magdi Ragheb, it is believed that there are important "biomarkers" that give evidence on the possible source of particular hydrocarbons.

There are a number of other articles and papers that add to the information and evidence that the world's major petroleum reserves are abiotic. An article of the United States Geology Survey agency, Petroleum Geology and Resources of the Dnieper-Donets Basin, Ukraine and Russia, states: "The sedimentary succession of the basin consists of four tectono-stratigraphic sequences. ... The postrift sag sequence consists of Carboniferous and Lower Permian clastic marine and alluvial deltaic rocks that are as thick as 11 kilometers in the southeastern part of the basin. ... A single total petroleum system encompassing the entire sedimentary succession is identified in the Dnieper-Donets basin. Discovered reserves of the system are 1.6 billion barrels of oil and 59 trillion cubic feet of gas. More than one-half of the reserves are in Lower Permian rocks below the salt seal."[17] The 11 kilometer part of the basin alone would of course be far deeper than the 16,000 feet which is the deepest scientists have considered there to have been a reasonable possibility of fossils. And this is after you get down to that part of the source rock. I found two more United States Geological Survey papers that give further information about the great potential of these large oil and gas fields in Russia and the Ukraine, and which give more weight to the views of the Russian and Ukrainian scientist. One is a comprehensive 29 page paper, Geology and Natural Gas Potential of Deep Sedimentary Basins in the Former Soviet Union, by Thaddeus S. Dyman, Vadim A. Litinsky, and Gregory F. Ulmishek.[18] It states: "Deep sedimentary basins in the Former Soviet Union (FSU) (having sedimentary rocks in excess of 15,000 feet— 4,572 m thick) comprise a total area greater than 1.5 million mi2 (3.9 million km2). Some of these basins are among the deepest in the world with depths to basement exceeding 65,000 feet (about 20 km) (table 1). ... Existing gas fields are identified on our maps regardless of depth, and the portions of each basin below 15,000 feet (about 4.5 km) are shaded. Our primary emphasis in this report is on natural gas, but deep oil resources are also included in our summary because many deep plays in the FSU have both oil and gas potential." (p. 4.) The other is a short news type article, Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the Dnieper–Donets Basin Province and Pripyat Basin Province, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, 2010,[19] showing an estimate of the great amount of oil and gas potential of yet undiscovered reserves, that are estimated to be "technically recoverable."

It is clear that this country knows about the technology being used by the Russians and Ukrainians, yet we are not researching and following these possibilities, and we are neglecting to develop vast known reserves that this country has – all because of the radical environmentalists in control of our government. It appears that we have enormous potential in the Gulf of Mexico, which we should be developing. Yet Obama has shut down our Gulf exploration and development. What is needed is proper handling of such matters, and not using an oil spill as an excuse to kill the development of our vast energy resources.

An article, Gulf Oil Spill "Could Go on for Years and Years",[20] by F. William Engdahl, June 11, 2010, states in part:

In a recent discussion, Vladimir Kutcherov, Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and the Russian State University of Oil and Gas, predicted that the present oil spill flooding the Gulf Coast shores of the United States “could go on for years and years … many years.” [If the spill is not properly handled.]

According to Kutcherov, a leading specialist in the theory of abiogenic deep origin of petroleum, “What BP drilled into was what we call a ‘migration channel,’ a deep fault on which hydrocarbons generated in the depth of our planet migrate to the crust and are accumulated in rocks, something like Ghawar in Saudi Arabia.” Ghawar, the world’s most prolific oilfield has been producing millions of barrels daily for almost 70 years with no end in sight. According to the abiotic science, Ghawar like all elephant and giant oil and gas deposits all over the world, is located on a migration channel similar to that in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico . ...

... Kutcherov estimates that the entire Gulf of Mexico is one of the planet’s most abundant accessible locations to extract oil and gas ... . [Emphasis added.] [Citations omitted.]

The above information would seem to be supported by the enormous amounts of oil that flowed from the well before it was stopped. Also, later information on the errors indicated that the spill should not have occurred in the first place, with proper handling. 

In connection with the huge BP (formerly known as British Petroleum) oil well spill, two relief wells were drilled to reduce the pressure, so that it could be successfully plugged and sealed down close to the oil reservoir. It is quite interesting that the relief wells were to intersect the main well at over 18,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf, and the well went down deeper than that.[21] This is far deeper than any fossils could ever have been expected to exist.

The huge BP oil discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in other parts of the world, were the subject of a September 2, 2009, U.K. Guardian article, Giant oil find by BP reopens debate about oil supplies; and A New York Times article, September 2, 2009, BP Finds Giant Oil Field Deep in Gulf of Mexico.[22] The New York Times article states: "The discovery, called the Tiber well, is about 250 miles southeast of Houston at a depth of more than 35,000 feet ... ." This strongly support the above statement of Kutcherov and the other scientists who are proponents of the abiotic oil theory, not only because of the great depth, but other factors as well. "BP officials say the oil and gas in the field is extremely hot and under intense pressure, requiring advanced well heads with thick steel and heavy insulation." This certainly indicates that the oil is from a very "deep origin" [as Kutcherov said], and from a large, hot, high pressure source. All of this evidence suggests that this great oil discovery is abiotic, and originating from deep in the bowels of the earth.  

The following is from an article, Oil without End?, [23]  by Julie Creswell, Fortune magazine, 2-4-2003:

"With the White Tiger Field in Vietnam, 90% of the production is coming from basement rock, where there were never any fossils," argues C. Warren Hunt, a geologist in Calgary. "What they've been teaching us in school about oil coming from fossils is wrong."

C. Warren Hunt is a professional geologist in petroleum and mining, and a scientific author living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

The following is from an April 20, 2011, article on the Helium: Earth Sciences website, Study: Petroleum may be abiogenic, not fossil-based,[24] by Terrance Ayum:

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) study:

Scientists at LLNL decided to test the feasibility of abiogenic oil by simulating the conditions of the Earth deep underground. They wanted to see what the heat and pressure would do to hydrogen and carbon atoms buried 40 to 95 miles down.

According to a news release, the LLNL team that conducted the study included researchers at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Shell Projects & Technology.

"One of the researchers, UC Davis Professor Giulia Galli, is the co-chair of the Deep Carbon Observatory's Physics and Chemistry of Deep Carbon Directorate and former LLNL researcher," writes Anne M. Stark of LLNL.

Although most geologists believe that 99 percent of the Earth's hydrocarbons in oil and natural gas are created by the remains of ancient animals and plants subjected to great pressure and heat, producing wells that have struck oil at great depths in Russia shed doubt on that theory.

Until a decade or so ago virtually all oil discovered was in the range of 5-10 miles into the crust. Yet recently, the Russians have discovered major oil pockets as far down as 40 miles.

That amazing depth is far deeper than any prehistoric remains of animals and plants would ever be found.

 Using a supercomputer, the team recreated the conditions deep under the surface of the Earth and discovered that when subjected to a pressure of 50,000 times greater than the surface atmospheric pressure and heat higher than 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit a fusion process occurs.

At 70 miles down they found that methane molecules can fuse with hydrocarbons and produce petroleum.

"Our simulation study shows that methane molecules fuse to form larger hydrocarbon molecules when exposed to the very high temperatures and pressures of the Earth's upper mantle," Galli said. "We don't say that higher hydrocarbons actually occur under the realistic 'dirty' Earth mantle conditions, but we say that the pressures and temperatures alone are right for it to happen." [Emphasis added.]

A group of eight scientists have determined the existence of abiotic hydrocarbons and published the scientific paper, Abiogenic Hydrocarbon Production at Lost City Hydrothermal Field, [25] February 1, 2008, in Science Magazine. They summarized their findings:

Low-molecular-weight hydrocarbons in natural hydrothermal fluids have been attributed to abiogenic production by Fischer-Tropsch type (FTT) reactions, although clear evidence for such a process has been elusive. Here, we present concentration, and stable and radiocarbon isotope, data from hydrocarbons dissolved in hydrogen-rich fluids venting at the ultramafic-hosted Lost City Hydrothermal Field. A distinct “inverse” trend in the stable carbon and hydrogen isotopic composition of C1 to C4 hydrocarbons is compatible with FTT genesis. Radiocarbon evidence rules out seawater bicarbonate as the carbon source for FTT reactions, suggesting that a mantle-derived inorganic carbon source is leached from the host rocks. Our findings illustrate that the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in nature may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks, water, and moderate amounts of heat. (Emphasis added.)

There is also strong scientific evidence that solid hydrocarbons may be abiotic. A study in the Oil and Gas Journal, October 28, 1991, by Robert F. Mahfoud and James M. Beck, of McNeese State University, under the title, Inorganic Origin In Upper Mantle Seen Likely For Solid Hydrocarbon In Syria Plateau Basalt,[26] states:

Drilling to more than 1,100 m in the alkaline plateau basalt did not reveal the presence of sedimentary rocks or any mother rocks (petroleum bearing).

 The absence of mother rocks along with the difficulty of explaining otherwise the sources of all mentioned compounds suggested an inorganic or abiogenic origin in the mantle and/or along rift and fractures in basalt for the concerned hydrocarbon.

 This abiogenic origin explained with ease all reactions, sources of elements, and their relationship with the tectonic events in southern Syria. ...

All chemical and analytical results favor an abiogenic origin for the concerned hydrocarbon in the upper mantle and/or along the rift and fractures in the plateau basalt in southern Syria.

Another factor that should be considered is that oil seeps up from the floors of the oceans all around the world. There are numerous "oil seeps" in the Gulf of Mexico. A U. S. Geological Survey paper, Natural seepage of crude oil into the marine environment,[27] states:

Thus, natural oil seeps may be the single most important source of oil that enters the ocean, exceeding each of the various sources of crude oil that enters the ocean through its exploitation by humankind.

One article, How to Reduce Pollution by Drilling for Oil,[28] takes the position that this seepage of oil is so serious that we should drill and use the oil, instead of letting so much pollute our oceans. And would you believe that this is by a California environmental group. The article states:

Earlier this year, University of California geophysics professor Bruce Luyendyk spoke to a citizens’ town hall forum at Santa Barbara. He told citizens that the oil mucking up Santa Barbara beaches was due to seeps, not spills. According to Luyendyk, the amount of oil escaping naturally from just one set of seeps in the Santa Barbara channel is equal to about 42 thousand gallons a day -- equal to an Exxon Valdez-size oil spill every 5 or 6 years. ...

This is oil and gas we could be capturing and using. Instead, it's going to waste and polluting beaches in the process.

The drilling of wells and extraction would relieve the pressure and reduce the seepage.

Let's use some common sense here. Does this amount of crude oil seeping up from the floors at the bottom of our deep oceans really sound like that it could have come from fossils? And does this sound like that there is any danger of the world running out of oil in the near future?

Other scientific findings show beyond doubt that hydrocarbons are formed that could not possibly be from fossil or such organic sources. "Cassini–Huygens is a joint NASA/ESA/ASI spacecraft mission studying the planet Saturn and its many natural satellites since 2004. Launched in 1997 after nearly two decades of gestation, it includes a Saturn orbiter and an atmospheric probe/lander for the moon Titan, although it has also returned data on a wide variety of other things including the Heliosphere, Jupiter, and relativity tests. The Titan probe — Huygens, entered and landed on the moon in 2005. The current end of mission plan is a 2017 Saturn impact."[29] Our National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reports an "ocean of hydrocarbons on Titan." (1999)[30] The European Space Agency ( ESA ) reports (2008):

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. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.[31]

It is unfortunate that the ESA report also referred to the hydrocarbons as organic, as it is erroneous, misleading, and contrary to all evidence. We have no evidence whatsoever that there were any fossils on Titan, from which "fossil fuels" could have been made. An article in Space Daily clarifies that it was speculated that there might be organisms on Titan that could consume "hydrogen, acetylene, and ethane." It also concluded that the premise supporting that idea was most likely a mistake.[32] A Scientific American article, June 8, 2010, Astrobiology tries to set the record straight about extraterrestrial life on Titan, states:

Now McKay, of the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., has seen fit to clear the air himself, making plain that extraterrestrial life on Titan is but one possible explanation of many—and far from the most likely. ...

Nevertheless, the key finding that hydrogen is vanishing at ground level on Titan needs to be confirmed before jumping to any conclusions. The most plausible explanation for the new results, according to McKay? "The determination that there is a strong flux of hydrogen into the surface is mistaken." Other possible mechanisms for the presumed hydrogen loss include atmospheric processes that transport hydrogen out of the upper atmosphere, or nonbiological chemistry at the surface, driven by some unknown catalyst.[33]

It is quite clear that there is no evidence that there could ever have been life on Titan, as on earth, from which "fossil fuels" could have been organically made; and that most likely there is no evidence of any life such as microorganisms feeding on the hydrocarbons.


This part of the article is on a recent writing which I found while doing research for the article. It is quite refreshing to find such a writing these days, when it appears that so many Western scientists are more interested in complying with what is "politically correct" than objective science. Some actually practice deceit and call it science.  It appears to be completely unbiased and objective, and presents a good review of evidence for and against the question on whether or not our primary petroleum reserves are abiotic. The author presents no conclusions of his own on the ultimate issue. It is a 32 page PDF, and it appears that it may be part of a book being written, as it begins with a heading, Chapter 4. The study is Biogenic and Abiogenic Petroleum, by Professor Magdi Ragheb, dated 3-21-11.[34] Dr. Ragheb is an Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, School of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering. He is a nuclear engineer with exceptional qualifications.[35]  The page references are to the pages in his PDF. Any comments made by me, which are not a description or summary of what is in Ragheb's study, will be in brackets.

Ragheb states:

Two schools of thought exist about the origin of petroleum: a Western school suggesting that its origin is biogenic resulting from decay of organic biological matter and stored in sedimentary basins near the Earth's surface, and an Ukrainian-Russian school proposing that it is abiogenic with inorganic origin deep within the Earth's crust dating back to the creation of the Earth. The first suggestion implies a finite source, whereas the second implies an almost unlimited one. Each school dismisses the other one, leading to interesting discussions and discourses. (p.1)

The study begins with an explanation of how the process of heat generated from radioactive decay and high pressures in  the Earth's crust and mantle "could be related to the postulated formation of abiogenic or inorganic hydrocarbons." Mathematical and scientific information and calculations supporting this are presented. (pp. 1-3) [The radioactive decay referred to is not decay of fossils, it is the spontaneous breakdown of an atomic nucleus resulting in the release of energy and matter from the nucleus.]

Arguments relating to the depths in the Earth that oil has been found are explained. An argument for the existence of abiogenic oil is that the "deepest fossil ever found was at 16,000 feet below sea level, yet oil can be extracted from wells drilled down to 30,000 feet and more." And that fossils would be on the surface of the earth, where they lived. If fossils "did turn into petroleum, at or near the surface, and since oil has a lower density than water it would be expected to rise on top of water and not go under it. The counter argument is that these deep deposits may have resulted from crustal movements or were buried by bolide [meteoric] impacts." (p. 1)

[This latter argument does not seem likely, because, considering the vast amounts of oil, there should still be a lot of newly forming oil at or near the surface, which we do not have. And it would be an ongoing process, and there appears to be no evidence of such an ongoing process. Both plants and animals are still decaying, but we do not see them turning into oil. We see carcasses decaying, being eaten by maggots and birds, bones bleaching out, but we do not see them turning into oil. It appears that the argument is mere unsupported speculation.]  

These important facts are related:

As reported by Deng, Campbell and Burris, abiogenic conversion of inorganic carbon to hydrocarbons can be a reproducible process. By tossing scraps of iron into a glass container and adding some diluted acid, the gasses that form are mostly H, but will also contain some hydrocarbons, from methane right up to the gasoline range compounds. The sources of carbon is the carbide that is normally present in cast iron.

The reaction between calcium carbide and water forms acetylene gas and was used for powering the headlamps in early automobiles, and for the lamps in old miners helmets.

Both reactions occur at room temperatures and pressures, with no special catalysts or promoters needed. (p. 5)

[Such a process as this may explain the formation of hydrocarbons on Titan – or perhaps some further process not yet discovered.]

It is then explained how at Lawrence Livermore laboratories iron oxide was placed under pressure in a diamond anvil, and methane was formed. (p. 5)

Ragheb then explains how petroleum contains high concentrations of helium, and that the helium could not be from biological sources. "The puzzle is that this non-biological material is highly concentrated by a factor of around a thousand in petroleum, and so are the biological molecules." He also explains that the helium could have been in porous places in rocks, and became a part of the oil as it was pumped up [by natural processes] from below. "Then, when it came to shallower levels, which is where we eventually find it, the oil contained whatever it pumped up from the deeper levels below." (p. 6) [As is explained in later parts of the study, all of the biological molecules that are found in oil, and considered "biomarkers," could have gotten in the oil the same way. This is what Professor Gold and the Russian and Ukrainian scientists have always contended. We should also keep in mind that the "oil from the crystalline basement rock of the Dnieper-Donets Basin" was carefully analyzed, and none of what could be considered biomarkers was found, according to the information from the Russian and Ukrainian scientists previously noted, above.]

The Fischer Tropsch Process of formation of abiogenic hydrocarbons is explained. And how synthetic gasoline was manufactured by both the United States and Germany during the Second World War, and that South Africa produced large amounts of synthetic gasoline. It is further explained: "This highly controlled industrial process does not occur in nature and cannot be considered as the sole source for the generation of any natural hydrocarbons." (pp. 7-9) [Emphasis added.]

On page 9, Ragheb makes some very important statements under the subtitle, Abyssal Abiotic Theory. He states:

Astronomers have observed that hydrocarbons occur on many planetary bodies such as meteorites, comets and in particular on Titan, a moon of Saturn. They are a common substance in the known universe. They are found in the kinds of gas clouds or nebulae that were the origin of stellar systems like our solar system. Is it [It is] reasonable to speculate that the Earth contains oil and gas for reasons that are all its own and that these other bodies had it built into them when they were formed. ... [Emphasis added.]  [Of course another possibility is that some hydrocarbons were formed after these bodies were formed, and that they are still being formed. It would seem that what is going on Titan strongly raises that possibility.]

The theory that petroleum was all biological originating had become firmly established before astronomers had definitive evidence of the existence of hydrocarbons on other celestial bodies. In the whole petroleum and coal history, there exists a fact that these substances contain some biological material. However, this could be interpreted with the theory of a primordial hydrocarbon mixture to which biological products have been added. [Emphasis added.] [This biological contamination of abiotic petroleum was also contended by Professor Gold, and by the Russian and Ukrainian scientists, as noted above.]

Geochemists are used to think that hydrocarbons could not occur in the Earth's mantle which begins in depth between 7 and 70 kilometers below the Earth's surface ... . [Also, as noted above, it is not expected that fossils would be found below 16,000 feet.]

In fact, petroleum and natural gas wells are drilled 5 to 10 kilometers in depth. Recent research in high pressure thermodynamics suggest that the mantle's heat generated by radioactivity and its pressure could allow hydrocarbons to form and exist to a depth of 100 to 300 kilometers. It is claimed that the Earth's mantle could contain hydrocarbon reserves larger in magnitude than its crust.

"The Vietnamese White Tiger deep petroleum field is reported to have produced high quality crude petroleum from basalt rock more than 17,000 feet below the surface of the Earth, at 6,000 barrels per day per well ... ." (p.12) [Basalt rock is volcanic rock and not sedimentary rock from which you would expect to find biotic petroleum, under the "fossil fuel" theories. The depth is also deeper than you would expect there to have been fossils of animals.]

Some petroleum engineers have been puzzled by estimates of reserves on some large fields increasing instead of decreasing as oil is extracted. "It could be that their original estimates were underestimated. However, some [including the Russian and Ukrainian scientists] suggested that what they could be observing in deep petroleum wells was in fact leaking hydrocarbons from the mantle of the Earth diffusing upward from the fractures in the common sedimentary petroleum fields, located relatively close to the surface." (p. 14)

A lengthy presentation is made of various theories on the origination of oil, both biotic and abiotic. A study on helium isotope content of petroleum estimated that no more than 220 parts per million of the present global production would be abiogenic. (p. 16)

"... Places on the ocean floor that are cold and at high pressure allow an ice that is a mixture of methane and water to form the methane hydrate. It is possible that the methane has come up from everywhere and met up with the water and there it turned under high pressure into the methane hydrate ice.  It is thought that the total amount of element carbon that is sitting on the ocean floors in the form of methane hydrate exceeds all of the Earth's coal and oil. At some geological times volcanic activity, asteroids or comets impacts may have released this stored methane gas causing bouts of global warming and possibly mass species extinctions. At some geological times volcanic activity, asteroids or comets impacts may have released this stored methane gas ... ." (p. 20) [It is not suggested that this vast amount of methane hydrocarbon could have been from any biotic source.]

An interesting subsection in Ragheb's study is The petroleum and Coal Connection. Information is given about tar pits in California and Trinidad where hard brittle coal is extracted. "In the coal is found well preserved fossils of plants and animals, including saber-toothed tigers. It is thought that the coal was originally a thin liquid that surrounded and hardened around the fossils. So the fact that coal contains fossils does not necessarily mean that it is a fossil fuel."

"One can use the opposite argument that those fossils found in coal prove that coal was not made from those fossils. A forest cannot be completely mulched up so that it is a completely featureless big black substance and then find in it one leaf that is perfectly preserved." (p. 23) [And why did not the leaf turn to coal if coal is made from plant fossils, as claimed? And why did not the other many plant and animal fossils turn to coal, if coal is made from fossils? To me, these things do not add up to the "fossil fuel" theory.]

Under a subsection, Carbonaceous Meteorites (p. 23), Ragheb presents some facts that strongly support the abiogenic argument for petroleum and coal.

"The Idea that complex hydrocarbons, the main components of petroleum, are a natural part of the Earth's crust comes as no surprise to scientists that study comets and asteroids. Some of the meteorites that fall to earth are rich in tar like hydrocarbons."

"The early Earth was made of the same material as comets and asteroids, so the presence of hydrocarbons deep within the earth is to be expected. It used to be thought that the heat from radioactivity deep underground was sufficient to break up the hydrocarbon molecules. However a group of Ukrainian and Russian scientists argue that the enormous pressures prevent their decomposition. ... [Emphasis added.]

"Petroleum and coal could have been made from material in which heavy hydrocarbons were common elements. Meteorites, the debris left over from the formation of planets contain carbons in unoxidized forms as hydrocarbons as oil and coal like particles, yet they definitely did not contain biological life. This is found in one large class of meteorites, the carbonaceous meteorites and on many of the other planetary bodies such as planetary moons in the solar system such as the moon of Saturn, Titan." [Emphasis added.]

[A further explanation is given with a table of materials found both in petroleum and meteorites.]

On pages 25-28, lengthy discussions are made about the methane on Titan and Mars. Methane is the basic ingredient of natural gas. "The source of Titan's and maybe Mars' methane being non biological ... strengthens the argument made by proponents of the theory of abiogenic oil." (p. 25) [Emphasis added.]

"A problem is that to date, nobody has been able to show the inorganic signature in any of the economic deposits, reinforcing the argument that any of the economic deposits found to date are consistent with biological origins. The inorganic signature does not show up in the Gulf of Mexico, Russian or Middle East fields." (pp. 28-29) [Emphasis added.] [This seems to me to be the strongest statement in Ragheb's study against the abiotic theory on the major sources of our oil and gas. It would also be contrary to the bacterial and chemical analyses related by Kenney and the other scientists referred to above.]

[At the top of page 28, Ragheb gives information that could be used to support Professor Gold's theory.] "Mars methane is being released as concentrated plumes at specific latitudes. Underground bacterial communities could be producing the methane. Or now extinct living communities could have produced the methane long ago, with it now being released through pores or fissures created by seasonal temperature variations. On Earth, 90% of the methane in the atmosphere comes from the biochemical activity of life. The rest is produced by geochemical processes. The Mars methane's specific isotope makeup could reveal whether its origins are geological or biochemical. ... On Earth,  microorganisms ... use the hydrogen for energy." [It was also stated that the Mars methane releases were in "massive" amounts. There is no evidence that Mars ever had life comparable to that on earth from which "fossils" resulted. It would therefore appear that the methane was very likely being created by the microorganisms feeding on natural elements, or the geochemical action from natural elements. It is extremely unlikely that it could be "fossil fuel."]

On page 29 is a discussion of what have been considered as "biomarkers" in petroleum, including "pristine and phytane." "However, pristine and phytane ... are not necessarily of biological origin."

"Isoprenoids, including pristane and phytane are also produced in the Fischer Tropsch process, which is not a biological phenomenon.

"Biological markers such as spores and pollen are found in oil, and are considered as biomarkers. It is possible though that they could have been leached into solution in the strong oil solvent from organic matter in sedimentary reservoirs."

[These things on biological markers are consistent with the claims of Professor Gold, Kenney, and the Russian and Ukrainian scientists, that any biological markers found in petroleum are merely contaminants from the earth surrounding the oil, and through which it passes.]

[Ragheb ends his article with a section headed, DISCUSSION. (pp. 29-30) Here he sets out factual points, or things that have been accepted as factual, that it appears he believes should be discussed on issues raised in the article. He obviously does not feel that abiogenic or biogenic origin of crude oil is a closed question, either way.]

"When the Earth was formed it could have contained substantial amounts of carbons and hydrocarbons. It is also possible that the heat from radioactive decay may be contributing to the formation of hydrocarbons in the Earth's mantle.

"The abiogenic petroleum formation hypothesis holds that as petroleum is drawn out through known reservoirs through petroleum wells, the field pressure is slightly reduced, thereby allowing more petroleum to migrate up from the deep mantle and recharge the reservoir from below. This suggests that decreasing the existing reservoirs pressure should be attempted in view of recharging them, rather than increasing their pressure through water and gas injection.

"Care should be taken in management the existing reservoirs so as not to allow circumstances favorable to seismic activity to occur.

"If substantiated, the study of abiotic petroleum origin theory could provide practically unlimited hydrocarbon fuels recharge from beneath the existing sedimentary petroleum basins in the Earth's crust from its mantle.

"It is a fact that the great majority of economically exploitable oil basins are currently sedimentary and shallow in nature. There possibly exist sources of inorganic hydrocarbons and that some deep natural gas deposits may be associated with primordial methane; however it is not clear whether abiogenic liquid hydrocarbon fields exist at this time in economically extractable quantities."

[I believe that this clearly shows that Professor Ragheb believes that the abiogenic theory of oil and gas is very important, and should be diligently pursued, as well as the biogenic theory, until more facts are known on both. He also does not rule out that presently exploitable oil, in shallow and sedimentary basins, may also be abiogenic, and entered into these areas suitable to their retention from beneath in the mantle of the earth.]


In doing my research, I have found great reliance by the "peak oil" and biotic origin supporters, which appear to be in the majority, on the work and research of Barbara Sherwood Lollar. And in particular on her conclusions that our large reserves of oil show a biotic source, because of the lack of "inorganic isotopic signatures." This includes Professor Ragheb, to some extent. However, I have found much to indicate the probable invalidity of that approach.

An example of this reliance on Lollar of the scientific community in this country is an article of October, 2005, in Geotimes, Feuding Over the Origins of Fossil Fuels,[36] by Lisa M. Pinsker, Managing Editor of Geotimes. The article states in part:

A petroleum geochemist at the U.S. Geological Survey, Lewan is an expert on the origins of oil, and quite familiar with an idea that has been lingering within some scientific circles for many years now: that petroleum — oil and natural gas — comes from processes deep in Earth that do not involve organic material. This idea runs contrary to the theory that has driven modern oil exploration: that petroleum comes from the heating of organic material over time in Earth’s shallower crust.

The so-called inorganic or abiogenic oil idea has been getting more attention lately, at a time when it seems that energy is on everyone’s mind. With oil more expensive than ever and many people citing future shortages, understanding the origins of petroleum is increasingly relevant. ...

One thing is for sure, Katz says: Scientists from the minority inorganic oil camp, promoting myriad ideas and lacking a unified hypothesis, have a way to go if they want to overturn the theory of organic petroleum genesis. Although most scientists agree that inorganic petroleum exists, he says, they differ widely in their thoughts on how it forms and how widespread it is versus organic petroleum. ...

Like Gold, Keith suggests that biomarkers are the result of microbes interacting with the inorganic petroleum during its migration up into the crust. “The biosphere has been coexisting with the petroleum system throughout geologic history,” Keith says. But, Gold’s petroleum model “missed something called ‘geology.’ That was always its weak point,” and what led to such divisions in the inorganic/organic oil debate, he says.

Keith is “drawing on processes that no one would argue with,” Sherwood Lollar says. Scientists have known about serpentinization for 30 years, she says, “and it’s always been known that it can produce hydrogen and methane as a byproduct.” She also says that the idea that microbes are using the inorganic gases has been well-understood the past 10 years. But when it comes to the broader implications of mantle-derived hydrocarbons, “the jury’s still very much out,” Sherwood Lollar says, as there is no consensus on the phase in which the gas would move through the mantle. [Emphasis added.]

The key word, though, that Katz and Lewan both emphasize is “economic.” Both acknowledge the existence of abiogenic petroleum and say that it might be an untapped source, but that it is likely present in small quantities only. “The organic origin of petroleum is a theory based on field observations, laboratory experiments and basin models; it explains currently known economic occurrences of natural gas, crude oil and asphalt,” Lewan says. “The inorganic origin remains a hypothesis; it has not been proven to be a significant contributor to currently known economic petroleum accumulations.”  [I consider this last statement to be based on the isotopic inorganic signature work of Lollar who is quoted at length in the article. But it is noteworthy that, Lollar may not now be so emphatic about this from her statement referred to, and emphasized above, in this Geotimes article.]

 I found a good article by a "student," who is not a scientist, but who is obviously a a good researcher, June 11, 2008, Lack Of C13 Isotope Proves Nothing,.[37] It is on a website, Oil is Mastery, and includes a scholarly criticism of the conclusions of Lollar. The following are excerpts from the article.

The key claim for the theory of biogenic petroleum origin is that low concentrations of the C13 isotope are proof of biogenic origin because photosynthesis preferentially selects C12 over C13. ...

This all comes from the biogenic geologist Barbara Sherwood Lollar's paper: reservoirs. Abiogenic formation of alkanes in the Earth's crust as a minor source for global hydrocarbon:

Here, using carbon and hydrogen isotope analyses of abiogenic methane and higher hydrocarbons in crystalline rocks of the Canadian shield, we show a clear distinction between abiogenic and thermogenic hydrocarbons. ... [This 2002 article in Nature by Lollar and others may be viewed in full at a Princeton University website.[38]]

The C-12 to C-13 ratio of methane alone is not always proof of life. For example, the "Lost City" hydrothermal vent field in the Atlantic Ocean did not show a clear isotope signature, says James Kasting, professor of earth and mineral science at Penn State University.

"The methane is not that strongly fractionated, but they still think it might be biological," says Kasting. "At Lost City, you can't figure out if it's biological or not by the isotopes. How are we going to figure that out on Mars?" ...

Carbon stars which are totally deficient in C13 have been observed: The Abundance Ratio of C12 and C13 in Carbon Stars. ...

The reality is that in 2007 ICP-MS showed that all oil has inorganic geochemistry: The Inorganic Geochemistry of Oil.[[39]] ...

Of course the final nail in the coffin would have to be this gem from Giardini and Melton (1991): Evidence That Stable Carbon Isotopes Are Not A Reliable Criterion For Distinguishing Biogenic From Non-Biogenic Petroleum.

The isotopic abundance of presumably-pristine primordial carbon has been determined by analyzing carbon dioxide entrapped in a 8.65 carat natural diamond of African origin. The results were 12C = 98.9275% and13C = 1.0725%, which give δ13C = -35.2‰/00. This value is well within the range used to assign a biogenic origin to carbon-containing compounds, i.e., more negative than -18.0‰/00. Similar negative values have been reported for some natural diamonds and carbon-bearing meteorites. It is concluded, therefore, that stable carbon isotopes can be an unreliable criterion for assigning a biogenic origin to petroleum.

An abstract of Evidence That Stable Carbon Isotopes Are Not A Reliable Criterion For Distinguishing Biogenic From Non-Biogenic Petroleum, by A. A. Giardini and  Charles E. Melton (first published online: 18 DEC 2007, published in Journal of Petroleum Geology, April, 1982), referred to in the above article, may be found online.[40] 

Also on the Oil is Mastery website is an article, Peak Oil is Wrong,[41] September 20, 2008, that, among other things, contains some interesting information on the " serpentinization" referred to by Loller in the above cited Geotimes article. The following are excerpts:

"The peak oil people simply don't know what they're talking about," said environmental futurist Peter Schwartz today at the Cleantech Forum in Washington, D.C. ...

"We don't know how much is out there," he said today. "And they tend to be very conservative, these estimates. And technology changes, and that opens up new reserves deep offshore. When I was at Shell, we could only drill into a thousand feet of water. Today, they're drilling into 10,000 feet of water, and 20,000 feet below that."

As I have previously written and provided scientific documentation, two among several abstracts, provided here and here, serpentinization processes below the seafloor produce Abiotic Oil. [The here and here have hyperlinks, as do a number of other references in the articles on this website, by which the actual material cited may be read.]

Serpentinite has long been documented to be present in abundance below the seafloor: Sections of the earth's crust in the equatorial Atlantic, original publication date, 1976.

As stated in the above abstract:

"One of the inferences drawn from the distribution of rocks in this section is that serpentinites are probably a significant component of the oceanic crust, being emplaced as mantle-derived vertical intrusions in deep fault zones parallel to ridge axis."


These processes involve (1) crustal uplift related to diapiric intrusions into the fracture zones of mantle-derived serpentinized peridotite, (2) intense tectonization of the rock units, (3) minor alkali basalt volcanism, and (4) hydrothermal activity and related metallogenesis."

The Wikipedia entry for serpentinite states:

"Serpentinite is a rock composed of one or more serpentine minerals. Minerals in this group are formed by serpentinization, a hydration and metamorphic transformation of ultramafic rock from the Earth's mantle. The alteration is particularly important at the sea floor at tectonic plate boundaries."

And it's technically and economically viable for the oil industry to recover crude oil from almost anyplace on the seafloor.

The following are excerpts from Dismissal of the Claims of a Biological Connection for Natural Petroleum,[42] by J. F. Kenney and five scientists from Russia and Ukraine, published in Energia, 2001, 22/3, 26-34. [The many references are omitted.] It contains information quite contrary to the abiotic isotope signature theory of Lollar, et al.

5. The carbon isotope ratios, and their inadequacy as indicators of origin.

The claims made concerning the carbon isotope ratios, and specifically such as purport to identify the origin of the material, particularly the hydrocarbons, are especially recondite and outside the experience of most persons not knowledgeable in the physics of hydrogen-carbon [H-C] systems. Furthermore, the claims concerning the carbon isotope ratios most often involve methane, the only hydrocarbon which is thermodynamically stable in the regime of temperatures and pressures of the Earth’s crust, and the only one which spontaneously evolves there.

The carbon nucleus has two stable isotopes, 12C and 13C. The overwhelmingly most abundance stable isotope of carbon is 12C, which possesses six protons and six neutrons; 13C possesses an extra neutron. (There is another, unstable isotope, 14C, which possesses two extra neutrons; 14C results from a high-energy reaction of  the nitrogen nucleus, 14N, with a high-energy cosmic ray particle. The isotope 14C is not involved in the claims about the isotope ratios of carbon.)  The carbon isotope ratio, designated δ13C, is simply the ratio of the abundance of carbon isotopes 13C/12C, normalized to the standard of the marine carbonate named Pee Dee Belemnite. The values of the measured δ13C ratio is expressed as a percentage (compared to the standard).

 During the 1950’s, increasingly numerous measurements of the carbon isotope ratios of hydrocarbon gases were taken, particularly of methane; and too often assertions were made that such ratios could unambiguously determine the origin of the hydrocarbons. The validity of such assertions were tested, independently by Colombo, Gazzarini, and Gonfiantini in Italy and by Galimov in Russia. Both sets of workers established that the carbon isotope ratios cannot be used reliably to determine the origin of the carbon compound tested.

  Colombo, Gazzarini, and Gonfiantini demonstrated conclusively, by a simple experiment the results of which admitted no ambiguity, that the carbon isotope ratios of methane change continuously along its transport path, becoming progressively lighter with distance traveled.  Colombo et al. took a sample of natural gas and passed it through a column of crushed rock, chosen to resemble as closely as possible the terrestrial environment. Their results were definitive: The greater the distance of rock through which the sample of methane passes, the lighter becomes its carbon isotope ratio.

The reason for the result observed by Colombo et al. is straightforward:  there is a slight preference for the heavier isotope of carbon to react chemically with the rock through which the gas passes. Therefore, the greater the transit distance through the rock, the lighter becomes the carbon isotope ratio, as the heavier is preferentially removed by chemical reaction along the transport path. This result is not surprising;  contrarily, such is entirely consistent with the fundamental requirements of quantum mechanics and kinetic theory.

 Pertinent to the matter of any claim that a light carbon isotope ratio might be indicative of a biological origin, the results demonstrated by Colombo et al. establish that such a claim is insupportable. Methane which might have originated from carbon material from the remains of a carbonaceous meteorite in the mantle of the Earth, and possessing initially a heavy carbon isotope ratio, could easily have that ratio diminished, along the path of its transit into the crust of the Earth, to a value comparable to common biological material.

 Galimov demonstrated that the carbon isotope ratio of methane can become progressively heavier while at rest in a reservoir in the crust of the Earth, through the action of methane-consuming microbes. The city of Moscow stores methane in water-wet reservoirs on the outskirts of that city, into which natural gas is injected throughout the year. During summers, the quantity of methane in the reservoirs increases because of less use (primarily by heating), and during winters the quantity is drawn down. By calibrating the reservoir volumes and the distance from the injection facilities, the residency time of the methane in the reservoir is determined. Galimov established that the longer the methane remains in the reservoir, the heavier becomes its carbon isotope ratio.

The reason for the result observed by Galimov is also straightforward: In the water of the reservoir, there live microbes of the common, methane-metabolizing type. There is a slight preference for the lighter isotope of carbon to enter the microbe cell and to be metabolized. The longer the methane remains in the reservoir, the more of it is consumed by the methane-metabolizing microbes, with the molecules possessing lighter isotope being consumed more. Therefore, the longer its residency time in the reservoir, the heavier becomes the carbon isotope ratio, as the lighter is preferentially removed by methane-metabolizing microbes. This result is entirely consistent with the fundamental requirements of kinetic theory.

Furthermore, the carbon isotope ratios in hydrocarbon systems are also strongly influenced by the temperature of reaction. For hydrocarbons produced by the Fischer-Tropsch process, the δ13C varies from -65% at 127 C to -20% at 177 C. No material parameter, the measurement of which varies by almost 70% with a variation of temperature of only approximately 10%, can be used as a reliable determinant of any property of that material.

The δ13C carbon isotope ratio cannot be considered to determine reliably the origin of a sample of methane, - or any other compound.  

The above article of Kenny, et al, is strongly supported by a comprehensive scientific paper, The Non-Organic Theory of the Genesis of Petroleum,[43] by Samar Abbas, Dept. of Physics, Utkal University Bhubaneswar, India and Institute of Physics Bhubaneswar, India, October 15, 1996 (On Cornell University Library website). On the isotope signature theory, this paper states (references are omitted):

Methane-bearing strata in the same column show a progressive depletion in the isotope carbon-13 as one rises from lower levels to higher levels. The organic theory holds that petroleum originating from source rocks buried several km within the earth explains these properties. The oil and gas formed would migrate upwards, thereby explaining both fractionation and Kudryavtsev’s rule. However, this effect would be a natural consequence of the upward migration of primordial gases, with the heavier isotopes of carbon rising more slowly than the lighter one. (p. 8)

This Abbas paper also brings out a number of other factors not mentioned above, in support of the inorganic theory of the origin of petroleum. Other excerpts from this Abbas paper:

Recent advances in interdisciplinary fields as diverse as astrophysics, cosmogeophysics, nuclear geology, etc. have led to interesting developments in the non-organic theory of the genesis of petroleum. This theory, which holds that petroleum is of an abiogenic primordial origin, provides an explanation for certain features of petroleum geology that are hard to explain within the standard organic framework. If the non-organic theory is correct, then hydrocarbon reserves would be enormous and almost inexhaustible. (p. 1) ... [Emphasis added.]

There are two basic frameworks: the standard organic theory; and the non-organic theory. The former holds that petroleum is of an organic origin and is the currently favoured proposal. It predicts limited reserves worldwide; moreover Indian reserves are predicted as minimal. The latter maintains that it is of a non-organic genesis, supposedly of primordial origin. On the basis of this theory, oil resources would be much larger than those predicted by the biogenic theory. India, oil-poor in the biogenic framework, is predicted to be oil-rich in the non-organic one.

Unfortunately the abiogenic theory and its implications are not well known. Moreover, both opposing sides have taken uncompromising, even fundamentalist views on occasions. There is hence a crucial need, especially for nations such as India, to objectively assess the situation and investigate the latter possibility more carefully; especially since, as we shall discuss below, the evidence in favour of either candidate is inconclusive and the question still remains an open one. (p. 2) ...

At the beginning of the paper, Abbas lists the factors for and against the organic theory under the subheadings Advantages and Disadvantages:

(b) Advantages

Traditionally, the following points have been considered as supporting the biological theory:

(1) Since it is known that hydrocarbons can be produced by photosynthesis, it is natural to expect petroleum to be of an organic origin.

(2) Molecules thought to be of biological origin, e.g.: porphyrins, isoprenoids, hopanoids, etc. were found in petroleum, thereby providing support for the organic theory.

(3) The organic carbon in plants is depleted in carbon-13 due to the process of photosynthesis. In dead organic material the C-13 is further depleted due to radioactive decay. Since it was found that most petroleum and natural gas showed the same depletion, it was viewed as a strong proof in favour of an organic origin.

(4) Sediments are the most important host rocks yielding petroleum, i.e. the oil produced from oil wells is generally obtained from a porous sandstone deep below. Often sediments are associated with biological material that could have acted as a source of the petroleum.

(5) The existence of large quantities of oil shale from which a hydrocarbon mix similar to petroleum could be distilled was seen as a support in favour of an organic origin. This followed easily, since the oil shale was taken to be the kerogen source rock which, on sufficient burial, purportedly yielded petroleum. (pp. 3-4)

(c) Disadvantages

However the following observations go against the organic theory :

(1) The discovery that meteorites contain hydrocarbons came as a great blow to advantages no. 1 and 2 of the organic theory. Porphyrins and isoprenoids have been found on meteorites. In addition, the outer planets contain large amounts of hydrocarbon.

(2) The concentration of oil in the Middle East implies that that region must have been exceptionally prolific in plant and animal life over long periods of the Earth's history. This is unlikely, since life tends to be more dispersed, even today.

(3) The biological supports of optical activity and an odd-even effect disappear at low levels. There is a sharp cutoff to the effect of optical activity: Petroleum in Philippi's study was found to be optically active if derived from a reservoir with a temperature below 66 C, but surprisingly petroleum from deeper levels of the same field did not exhibit the phenomenon of optical activity. T. Gold proposed that a certain bacteria ceases action above 66 C, but he unfortunately did not suggest any candidates.

(4) Methane occurs in giant ocean rifts, in continental rifts and the lakes that occur nearby, e.g. dissolved in the waters of the East African Lake Kivu, as methane hydrates in permafrost, in active volcanic and mud volcanic regions, as well as at great depths of more than 10 km as geopressured gas, etc. A biological origin for this methane can be virtually ruled out. In light of these difficulties one should consider the other rival non-organic theories as serious possibilities. They forecast much larger oil reserves than previously imagined and that too in regions which, according to the organic theory, should be devoid of all petroleum. (p. 4) ...

On pages 6 and 7, Abbas states: "From now on, the word `non-organic theory' shall be taken to propound merely a primordial ( i. e. dating from the birth of the Earth ) origin of petroleum which has been migrating outwards from great depths of the Earth to form all hydrocarbon deposits from tar and tar sands to oil shale."  [The primordial origin appears to be the one favored by Abbas, based on all of the evidence. I also believe that it is the one supported by a preponderance of the evidence.]

Abbas does a comprehensive review and analysis of the various theories of origin, including that of Professor Gold. He also presents considerable evidence and information not previously covered in my review of the material from other authors and sources. It is quite informative and interesting. Some of these include "Nebular Condensation Theory, Volcanic Origin Theory, Earthquake Outgassing, and Multilevel Fields." Some of these things are gone into at length. Such problems as the following are noted:

According to the non-organic theory, petroleum should occur universally in areas of tectonic activity. This does not appear to hold true, and this seems to be a problem for the non-organic theory. (p. 8)

 On the Multilevel Fields, he states:

It is observed that petroleum, in at least small quantities, is often present in horizons below many accumulations, largely independant of the composition and mode of formation of the horizon. This is known as Kudryavtsev's rule, and several examples of it have been noted. The suggestion that the petroleum seeps from underneath is supported by the evidence of fractionation, although this can also be explained by migration from deep source rocks within the organic framework as well. ... (p. 8)

A far more natural explanation, which the authors cited above chose not to investigate, is using the non-organic theory. If it is assumed that the hydrocarbons are primordial and originate from the depths of the earth, then they would naturally display the signatures of chemical equilibrium as it would have been subject to high temperatures for a much longer time. As the hydrocarbons migrate upwards, they would, at shallow levels, be invaded by bacteria thereby losing the signatures of equilibrium. (p. 10)

Abbas goes back into history of early civilizations, to get evidence on the effects of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the hydrocarbons disclosed and coming up from such activities in the earth. I found the following of particular interest:

Crater-like markings on the ocean floor have been reported from the Adriatic, the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Orinoco Delta, the South China Sea, the Baltic, the Aegean, near New Zealand, and off Nova Scotia. Sonar experiments in the North Sea reveal shallow, circular ridges ranging from a few metres to 200 metres in diameter over an area of 20000 square kilometres, roughly coinciding with the oil and gas producing region. It appears that individual events were responsible for creating large fields of these `pockmarks', since one set of pockmarks occurs 10m below an overburden of more recent sediment, while the other is visible on the surface. Hence it is estimated that while one such event occurred within the last thousand years, another occurred 10000 years ago. Since small trickles of gas produce small steep-sided cones of mud (as in the Gulf of Mexico, where bubbles issue from the top of these miniature volcanoes), sudden releases of gas must be responsible for the craters. Primordial gas is a good candidate to explain the pockmarks. The author also points out a remarkable coincidence between the major mud volcano regions of the world and the major oil-producing areas:

1. The Persian Gulf

1. The Caspian

3. Indonesia

4. Venezuela

The South Alaskan mud volcanoes emit mostly carbon dioxide and are situated near lava volcanoes. Only 3 mud volcano regions are not correlated with any oil-producing regions: S. Italy, N. Zealand, Black Sea. This connection arises naturally in the non-organic approach, since mud volcanoes indicate cool regions of hydrocarbon migration. (p. 14)

[On page 15, Abbas gives information on the hydrocarbons found in meteorites, comets, and other planets. His article was written before the critically important information was obtained in the space exploration of Saturn and its moon, Titan. Certainly, he would have included this, had it been available.]

The final proof would involve an actual experimental verification of the theory. Deep wells are good tests, since organic materials cannot occur in crystalline basement rocks ... . (p. 16) [Emphasis added.]

At 12 km, this is the world's deepest well (1984). Located in the Kola peninsula, now Russia, it reached deep down into the crystalline basement. The drilling released flows of gas at all levels. The liberated gases included helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, methane and other hydrocarbons and CO2. This provides convincing support for the suggestion that hydrocarbon gases exist at such great depths inside the earth that they cannot be of a biological origin. (p. 16)

The following is a discussion by Abbas under the subtitle, The Swedish Hole:

The discovery of an oil and/or gas field in a location ruled out by the organic theory would settle the matter once and for all. Hence, T. Gold, after studying various formations across the world, concluded that the Siljan Ring, Sweden was the best candidate for the job. This is the largest impact crater in Europe. According to the non-organic theory the impact could have led to the formation of sizeable hydrocarbon deposits since the fractures created by the impact would favour the upward migration of primordial hydrocarbons. Although the field was located primarily on the basis of seismic data, numerous oil seeps have been noted in the small sedimentary deposits of the ring-shaped depression marking the crater, carbonates characteristic of oxidised methane occur in the area and seismic observations reveal zones of porosity stacked on top of one another. Hence the primary indications were favourable.

Finally, T. Gold succeeded in convincing investors and a project began to prospect for petroleum in the area. This was largely supported by the state-owned Swedish electricity utility Vattenfall. Drilling began in 1986. By late 1987 a depth of 6.5 km had been attained, but no large commercial deposits had been discovered. Opponents saw in this the death knell of the non-organic theory (claiming the hydrocarbons detected were from the lubricating drilling mud injected into the ground during drilling), while T. Gold proclaimed a victory (claiming that significant amounts of hydrocarbons were discovered, and that large amounts lay beneath). Due to drilling difficulties, the project stopped short of its target. It can be said that this did not rule in favour of either proposition.

However, in 1989 the Swedish drilling company Dala Djupgas Produktions recovered a small quantity of oil from 6.7 km below the Siljan Ring. Again critics dismissed the find as being recycled drilling fluid. The tables were turned yet again when the same co. discovered oil in 1991 even at the shallow depth of 2.8 km at a nearby well, the horizon of the petroleum being basement granite. Moreover the previous objection was nullified as the drilling fluid used in this case was water only. The proponents of the organic theory claimed that this oil was merely oil that had seeped into underlying fissures in the basement rock from oil shales, since the petroleum found in the oil shales and that in the basement rock were chemically very similar. However, the non-organic theory explains this as being due to the upward migration of primordial petroleum; the two oils are similar because their common source is the same. The upward migrating hydrocarbons would have produced both the deep oil and the oil shales, the shale providing a good trap rock that could absorb the oil on its way up. Hence, the case appears to have recently swung in favour of the non-organists.

Only drilling in the future by men of the calibre of Col. Drake ( the discoverer of the world's first oilfield ), Dad Joiner ( the discoverer of the giant E. Texas oilfield ) and P. Higgins ( the discoverer of the Spindletop oilfield ) can yield the answer to this intriguing question. (p. 17-18)

CONCLUSION [Of Abbas article.]

The positive and negative features of the classical organic theory have been discussed. This has been the traditionally accepted proposal, much work having been done in this field. The rival non-organic theory has so far not been accepted due to the successes of the biological theory to date in elucidating certain properties of oilfields. However, new results from deep holes all across the world are difficult to describe in terms of the biological theory. It has been shown that these new observations can be naturally explained within the non-organic framework, and that the older biological supports (mainly relating to the presence of supposedly biological material in petroleum) can also be incorporated. Hence a duplex theory combining features of both theories may be the final victor. This would perhaps involve the enrichment of existing organic hydrocarbon deposits through non-organic hydrocarbons.

The abiogenic theory derives much of its support from diverse and exotic fields such as astrophysics, cosmo geophysics, thermodynamics, nuclear geology, etc, and considerable strides in the comprehension of these fields has led to a impressive growth of information in support of the non-organic theory. (p. 18)


I believe that the theory that the primary origin of the great hydrocarbon resources of the world is abiotic is supported by the great preponderance of the evidence. This is particularly true of the vast petroleum reserves. J. F. Kenney and others who have done the most studying and work on the question, consider the evidence in support of abiotic hydrocarbons "overwhelming."

The idea that meteors, comets, other planets, and their moons would have abiotic hydrocarbons, yet earth, which was formed with all the necessary elements in it, would not contain abiotic hydrocarbons, does not make sense to me at all.

In addition, the idea that these vast reserves could have come from fossils of dead plants and animals just does not seem plausible from a common sense and mathematical standpoint. As has been pointed out, even with a 100% rate of conversion (which is of course impossible), the weight of the fossils would have been astronomical – beyond belief. In addition, we have had dead carcasses of animals lying around on the ground throughout recorded history, and the process of them actually turning into oil has not been observed. However, their being eaten by maggots, other worms, birds, and various other animals has been observed, along with their decay and disintegration by the sun and the weather. Some methane does result form this, as well as from animal discharges and excrement, but this methane goes into the air. It is not petroleum that goes into the earth – and certainly not in the astronomical amounts that would create our great hydrocarbon reserves – whether that creation would be by a process on the ground, or by some unknown process where they would have somehow remained intact and then been buried so deep that there would be sufficient heat and pressure from the earth's crust to convert them to hydrocarbons.

Also, scientists are now forced to admit that the earth does contain abiotic hydrocarbons, including inorganic crude oil, and the argument is now about how much and whether the large known reserves are biotic or abiotic.

One thing is certain, and that is that we have been grossly misled by the radical environmentalists, using the "peak oil theory," who have worked to convince us that our petroleum supply reached its peak some years ago, and that we are in danger of a shortage of oil in the near future. This clearly is not true considering the massive new discoveries that have been made in the past several years in Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, Russia and the Ukraine, and a number of other places around the world. Also, the estimates on the vast oil reserves that have been known for many years continue to increase, instead of decreasing as huge amounts are used. Some claim that they were merely underestimated or understated in the first place, but I believe that the more reasonable answer lies in the modern theory, which is that they are being replenished from channel migrations of abiotic oil from the lower mantle of the earth. 

What we should be doing, and what our government should be encouraging, is exploration and development using both the biotic and the abiotic theories, and the continued study of both theories until the truth on the matter has been established. This would both increase our learning on the matter, and we would have plenty of petroleum from our own sources, without having to rely on imports from other countries – particularly those in the Middle East.

Instead we have a radical president and a Democrat congress that take us in the opposite direction, preventing us from using our vast natural resources. Great damage is being done to America by these radicals.





[5] Confessions of an "ex" Peak Oil Believer, by F. William Engdahl, 2007,


[7] Confessions of an "ex" Peak Oil Believer, Supra. .



[10] Stalin And Abiotic Oil, by Dave McGowan,