Oil is NOT a fossil fuel
by Peter J. Morgan
We all grew up believing that oil is a fossil fuel, and just about every day this ‘fact’ is mentioned in newspapers and on TV. However, let us not forget what Lenin said – “A lie told often enough becomes truth.” It was in 1757 that the great Russian scholar Mikhailo V. Lomonosov enunciated the hypothesis that oil might originate from biological detritus. The scientists who first rejected Lomonsov’s hypothesis, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, were the famous German naturalist and geologist Alexander von Humboldt and the French chemist and thermodynamicist Louis Joseph Gay-Lussac, who together enunciated the proposition that oil is a primordial material erupted from great depth, and is unconnected with any biological matter near the surface of the Earth.
With the development of chemistry during the nineteenth century, and following particularly the enunciation of the second law of thermodynamics by Clausius in 1850, Lomonosov’s biological hypothesis came inevitably under attack. In science, a hypothesis is merely somebody’s attempt to explain something. It is merely that – an attempt. In the scientific method, a hypothesis is also an open invitation for somebody else to discredit it by using physical evidence to demonstrate that the hypothesis is flawed, or incorrect – that is how scientific knowledge is advanced. Einstein is reputed to have remarked that just one fact was all that was needed to invalidate his theory of relativity.
The great French chemist Marcellin Berthelot particularly scorned the hypothesis of a biological origin for petroleum. Berthelot first carried out experiments involving, among others, a series of what are now referred to as Kolbe reactions and demonstrated the generation of petroleum by dissolving steel in strong acid. He produced the suite of n-alkanes and made it plain that such were generated in total absence of any “biological” molecule or process. Berthelot’s investigations were later extended and refined by other scientists, including Biasson and Sokolov, all of whom observed similar phenomena and likewise concluded that petroleum was unconnected to biological matter.
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the great Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev also examined and rejected Lomonosov’s hypothesis of a biological origin for petroleum. In contrast to Berthelot who had made no suggestion as to where or how petroleum might have come, Mendeleev stated clearly that petroleum is a primordial material which has erupted from great depth. With extraordinary perception, Mendeleev hypothesised the existence of geological structures which he called “deep faults,” and correctly identified such as the locus of weakness in the crust of the Earth via which petroleum would travel from the depths. After he made that hypothesis, Mendeleev was abusively criticised by the geologists of his time, for the notion of deep faults was then unknown. Today, of course, an understanding of plate tectonics would be unimaginable without recognition of deep faults.
Soon after the end of World War II, the Soviet dictator, Stalin, realized that the then Soviet Union needed its own substantial oil reserves and production system if it was ever again called upon to defend itself against an attacker such as Hitler’s Germany. In 1947, the Soviet Union had, as its petroleum ‘experts’ then estimated, very limited petroleum reserves, of which the largest were the oil fields in the region of the Abseron Peninsula, near the Caspian city of Baku in what is now the independent country of Azerbaijan. At that time, the oil fields near Baku were considered to be “depleting” and “nearing exhaustion.” During World War II, the Soviets had occupied the two northern provinces of Iran, but in 1946, they were forced out by the British. By 1947, the Soviets realised that the American, British, and French were not going to allow them to operate in the Middle East, nor in the petroleum producing areas of Africa, nor Indonesia, nor Burma, nor Malaysia, nor anywhere in the Far East, nor in Latin America. The government of the Soviet Union recognised then that new petroleum reserves would have to be discovered and developed within the U.S.S.R.
Stalin’s response was to set up a task force of top scientists and engineers in a project similar to the Manhattan Project – the top-secret US program to develop the atom bomb during WWII – and initially under the same secrecy, and charged them with the task of finding out what oil was, where it came from and how to find, recover and efficiently refine it.
In 1951, the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins was first enunciated by Nikolai A. Kudryavtsev at the All-Union petroleum geology congress. Kudryavtsev analyzed the hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum, and pointed out the failures of the claims then commonly put forth to support that hypothesis. Kudryavtsev was soon joined by numerous other Russian and Ukrainian geologists, among the first of whom were P. N. Kropotkin, K. A. Shakhvarstova, G. N. Dolenko, V. F. Linetskii, V. B. Porfir’yev, and K. A. Anikiev.
During the first decade of its existence, the modern theory of petroleum origins was the subject of great contention and controversy. Between the years 1951 and 1965, with the leadership of Kudryavtsev and Porfir’yev, increasing numbers of geologists published articles demonstrating the failures and inconsistencies inherent in the old “biogenic origin” hypothesis. With the passing of the first decade of the modern theory, the failure of Lomonosov’s eighteenth century hypothesis of an origin of petroleum from biological detritus in the near-surface sediments had been thoroughly demonstrated, the hypothesis discredited, and the modern theory firmly established.
An important point to be recognised is that the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abiotic petroleum origins was, initially, a geologists’ theory. Kudryavtsev, Kropotkin, Dolenko, Porfir’yev and the developers of the modern theory of petroleum were all geologists.
Their arguments were necessarily those of geologists, developed from many observations, and much data, organized into a pattern, and argued by persuasion.
By contrast, the practice of mainstream, predictive modern science, particularly physics and chemistry, involves a minimum of observation or data, and applies only a minimum of physical law, inevitably expressed with formal mathematics, and argued by compulsion. Such predictive proof of the geologists’ assertions for the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins had to wait almost a half century, for such required the development not only of modern quantum statistical mechanics, but also that of the techniques of many-body theory and the application of statistical geometry to the analysis of dense fluids, designated scaled particle theory.
To recapitulate, Stalin’s team of scientists and engineers found that oil is not a ‘fossil fuel’ but is a natural product of planet Earth – the high-temperature, high-pressure continuous reaction between calcium carbonate and iron oxide – two of the most abundant compounds making up the Earth’s crust. This continuous reaction occurs at a depth of approximately 100 km at a pressure of approximately 50,000 atmospheres (5 GPa) and a temperature of approximately 1500°C, and will continue more or less until the ‘death’ of planet Earth in millions of years’ time. The high pressure, as well as centrifugal acceleration from the Earth’s rotation, causes oil to continuously seep up along fissures in the Earth’s crust into subterranean caverns, which we call oil fields. Oil is still being produced in great abundance, and is a sustainable resource – by the same definition that makes geothermal energy a sustainable resource. All we have to do is develop better geotechnical science to predict where it is and learn how to drill down deep enough to get to it. So far, the Russians have drilled to more than 13 km and found oil. In contrast, the deepest any Western oil company has drilled is around 4.5 km.
A team consisting of Russian scientists and Dr J. F. Kenney, of Gas Resources Corporation, Houston, USA, have actually built a reactor vessel and proven that oil is produced from calcium carbonate and iron oxide, as detailed on the --
This is what Dr Kenney has to say about how he came to be involved:
“In the first instance, the articles on this” (his company’s website --) “are dedicated to the memory of Nikolai Alexandrovich Kudryavtsev, who first enunciated in 1951 what has become the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins. After Kudryavtsev, all the rest followed. Secondly, these articles are dedicated generally to the many geologists, geochemists, geophysicists, and petroleum engineers of the former U.S.S.R. who, during the past half century, developed modern petroleum science. By doing so, they raised their country from being, in 1946, a relatively petroleum-poor one, to the greatest petroleum producing and exporting nation in the world today. These articles are dedicated specifically to the late Academician Emmanuil Bogdanovich Chekaliuk, the greatest statistical thermodynamicist ever to have turned his formidable intellect to the problem of petroleum genesis. In the Summer of 1976, during the depths of the cold war and at immeasurable hazard, Academician Chekaliuk chose to respond, across a gulf of political hostility, to an unsolicited letter from an unknown American chief executive officer of a petroleum company headquartered in Houston, Texas. Thenafter and for almost fifteen years, Academician Chekaliuk was my teacher, my collaborator, and my friend. [JFK] 1. Kudryavtsev, N. A. (1951) Petroleum Economy [Neftianoye Khozyaistvo] 9, 17-29.”
A US Public Service Radio interview with Dr Kenney may be heard on the --.
Some may ask “How come all of this isn’t commonly known?” For the answer, one needs to consider what happened to Galileo when he first put forward the hypothesis that rather than the conventional wisdom that the sun revolved around the earth, the earth revolved around the sun. He was branded a heretic and locked up! You are invited to read an excellent article entitled “Cognitive Processes and the Suppression of Sound Scientific Ideas”, by J. Sacherman 1997, at --
Some may say “Well, even if oil is a renewable resource, mankind should not burn it because the carbon dioxide so produced causes global warming.” My answer to that is that the idea that mankind’s production of carbon dioxide causes global warming is merely a hypothesis, and this has been thoroughly discredited by Prof. Robert Carter and numerous other scientists. You are invited to view a video of Prof. Robert Carter’s demolition of the “mankind’s production of carbon dioxide causes global warming” hypothesis -- where you will see Prof. Carter illustrate five examples of verifiable science that refute the hypothesis. Prof. Carter makes the point that truth in science is never decided by consensus, but if you prefer to believe the pronouncement by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that “2,500 scientists of the United Nation’s IPCC agree that humans are causing a climate crisis”, which is repeated ad nauseam by environmentalists, the press and governments around the world, including ours, then you are invited to read an article at -- where Tom Harris and John McLean tell the truth about this deception and point out that “an example of rampant misrepresentation of IPCC reports is the frequent assertion that ‘hundreds of IPCC scientists’ are known to support the following statement, arguably the most important of the WG I report, namely “Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.” In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9, “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change”. Almost 60% of the comments received from the 62 expert reviewers of this critical chapter were rejected by the IPCC editors and 55 of the 62 expert reviewers had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial. In my view, seven does not constitute “a consensus of the world’s scientists..” If it’s consensus you want before you decide on what the truth is, then follow the link to The National Post to read about the petition signed by more than 32,000 scientists, more than 9000 of whom hold PhDs. That’s consensus!