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Friday, June 14, 2013

More evidence for "Abiotic" oil

My belief is that oil comes not from living organic matter but produced from the primordial earth.   It was then locked deep within the earth as the earths crust formed..    This theory comes from Russian scientist in the 1950’s. (Its not a new theory)    Below I note the main reasons why the “Fossil fuel” theory should be refuted.
1.   There is massive amounts of oil.    Every time the industry says “they are running out of oil” they find more.   They have been claiming that they are running out of oil for 100 years (with a big scare in the 1970’s) and as time has gone on the have always found more reserves.    The oil industry itself has consistently underestimated the oil reserves especially if “recoverable reserves” are considered  rather than proven reserves.
How much oil is there?   There is a Massive difference between “ known oil in place” andproven oil reserves”
By definition Proven oil reserves”  are those reserves claimed to have reasonable certainty (normally at least 90% confidence) of being recoverable under existing economicand political conditions, with existing technology. At present for the whole world this is estimated to be 1.35 Trillion barrels.   For the USA this is at present is estimated to be 22 Billion Barrels ( Conventional drilling for oil).   For Canadian tar sands it is 173 Billion barrels.   Therefore as technology increases or the price increases “known oil in place” ( read below) can become “proven oil reserves”
“ known oil in place” is what geologist estimate is the total amount of oil that is there.  For USA, it is 3 Trillion Barrels,  if all oil shale’s are included,  (1000 times proven reserves). The Bazhenov. field in Western Siberia, in Russia has recently been estimated to be 80 times the size the of the Green river formation in the USA the largest previous known formation.  See web article below. (  For the Canadian tar sands 1.7 – 2 Trillion Barrels, a minimum of 10 times proven reserves.   The Venezuelan,  government claims a reserve of bitumen even greater than Alberta's,  Estimated total of Canada+ Venezuelan  3 -5.4 Trillion Barrels.  .
2.      Initial theory of Fossil oil.  When the initial theory of “Fossil oil” appeared around 1890 the scientific community did not know that the primordial earth had a atmosphere consisting of mainly Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Water vapor and Ammonia.   Nor did they know that these compounds existed on the gas giants and some of their moons in our solar system.     The theory was therefore by default because they could not think of any other place the oil could come from.
3        Russian oil exploitation.  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 abiotic theory which produce oil from the crystalline basement rock. (Krayushkin, Chebanenko et al. 1994)    Crystalline basement rock forms below sedimentary rock.   Clearly the oil could not form above basement rock and then seep through it.    Similarly, 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.
4        Depth that oil is found.    Oil is being found at depths of  30,000 feet.    The deepest fossils known are from 16,000 feet.   How could oil form from fossils if  some oil is 14,000 feet below any of the deepest fossils. 
5            Chemical differences of Crude Oil to that in life.
The various elements that make up the cell ( Life) and Crude Oil are:                                                 
Weight % 
in life
Weight %
 in oil
 Life / oil
Element is:
 2.2:1De- Concentrated
 10000:1De- Concentrated
15* ppm
  1000:1De- Concentrated
5* ppm
100:1De- Concentrated
Trace(1 ppm)
1200 ppm **
* Maximum found in Pakistani oil fields
** Vanadium is present in fossil fuel deposits such as crude oil, coal, oil shale and tar sands.  There is considerable variation in concentration..   In crude oil, concentrations up to 1200 ppm have been reported.
Chemical nature of Crude Oil.    Crude oil is mainly hydrocarbons with very little oxygen and consists mainly of the following compounds.
  •  Paraffin’s, general formula: CnH2n+2 (n is a whole number, usually from 1 to 20) straight- or branched-chain molecules can be gasses or liquids at room temperature depending upon the molecule examples: methane, ethane, propane, butane, iso-butane, pentane, hexane
  • Aromatics, general formula: C6H5 - Y (Y is a longer, straight molecule that connects to the benzene ring) ringed structures with one or more rings.  Rings contain six carbon atoms, with alternating double and single bonds between the carbons typically liquids examples: benzene, naphthalene
  • Napthenes or Cycloalkanes general formula: CnH2n (n is a whole number usually from 1 to 20) ringed structures with one or more rings.  Rings contain only single bonds between the carbon atoms typically liquids at room temperature examples: cyclohexane, methyl cyclopentane
  • Other hydrocarbons Alkenes general formula: CnH2n (n is a whole number, usually from 1 to 20) linear or branched chain molecules containing one carbon-carbon double-bond can be liquid or gas examples: ethylene, butene, Isobutene Dienes and Alkynes general formula: CnH2n-2 (n is a whole number, usually from 1 to 20) linear or branched chain molecules containing two carbon-carbon double-bonds can be liquid or gas examples: acetylene, butadienes
This nothing like the compounds in life, which tend to be carbohydrates, Cm(H2O)n Polysaccharides(e.g., starch and glycogen), cellulose in plants and chitin in arthropods), amino acids (Some Nitrogen) and fats and fatty acids (Glycerol based).   The “oil experts” say the decayed products of life are buried deep underground and cooked under heat and pressure to obtain  crude oil. ( OK but I have yet to see validated chemical reaction to produce crude oil under those conditions. )
However Ultra Violet (UV)  free radical polymerization seems quite possible with the action of  UV light from the sun on the primordial atmosphere.   I suspect something like below.

CH4 + hv   -----------------------------  CH3·  + H      ( Free radical)
CH3·  + CH3·    -------------------------  C2H6  (Ethane)
CH3 CH3   + hv    --------------------------------- CH3 CH2·    + H
CH3 CH2·    + CH3 CH2·   -----------  C4H10   (Butane)
CH3 CH2 – CH2 CH3   +  hv   ------   CH3  CH·  - ·CH  CH3    + 2H
CH3 CH·  - ·CH CH3    ® CH3 – CH – CH - CH3   (Butene)
Higher molecular weight polymers can be formed by more addition of methane / ethane and obviously for higher chain molecules  (C6+)  cyclic compounds. The higher the molecular weight  / boiling temperature the more likely the hydrocarbon will “rain out” of the atmosphere.
There are also papers describing that electrical discharge ( Lightening in atmosphere)  can also polymerize methane to higher molecular weight hydrocarbons.
UV polymerization of methane is also suggested for Titans (Saturn’s moon)  atmosphere of methane into ethane and higher molecular weight alkanes
Earth : Average distance from sun 149.6 million km
Saturn : Average distance from sun 1.43 billion km  == 9.5 times distance therefore 91 times less UV light per unit area than earth ( R2)
If it can occur on Titan then it could certainly happen on the primordial earth.

7          Oil found under salt domes:  Conventional theory says that oil is under salt domes because the salt was deposited through drying of lakes and seas.   Fossil life was buried underneath the salt layer ( How? Why not within the salt!) then all is deeply buried.      The salt being a weak rock buckled under pressure ( Yes ) forming salt domes.   I think that the buckling of the salt causes cracks in the underling rock and so allows abiotic oil to come up from deep below and is trapped beneath impermeable rock / salt layer.
8          Life recycles, generally not buried in the earth.  When a plant or animal dies very little is truly buried.    Mostly it is re-cycled by insects, micro-organisms, fungus’s, bacteria and Actinolites.
9          How much oil have humans used?   Estimates vary,  Istvan Lakatos and Julianna Lakatos-Szabo of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences estimate 700 Billion barrels.   John Jones in the School of Engineering, at the University of Aberdeen, UK estimate 944 Billion barrels.   Today oil consumption estimated at 90 Million barrels per day.   Therefore 32.5 Billion barrels per year.  Therefore in 29 maximum of years this will be we will double the oil we have used. ( At no growth).
9            Economics of oil    What this means is that all the oil companies have to do is to drill deeper into basement rock where there has been folding or cracking underneath so that oil seepage could occur and they are likely to find  conventional oil.    Although drilling deeper is more expensive it is not prohibitively so and as technology increases going deeper will be more economic.   The other important issue is this.    As explained above there are massive amounts of unconventional oil.    The amount of money spent by oil companies  on Research and Development for extracting unconventional oil will almost certainly reduce the extraction and processing costs.  Shell recently estimated that it could extract shale oil at $30 a barrel and the present 2012 price is $70-$90 a barrel.
The  price of oil today is almost nothing to do with the cost of getting it out of the ground.    The reality is that the high price is due to speculation ( World price for oil)  and deliberately induced shortages both in crude oil production and refinery production..      I have read that oil could be extracted in shallow wells ( Saudi Arabia)  at a profit of $5 a barrel.   Even the Canadian tar sands may only require $25 per barrel.    Speculation is very finicky.  If it is thought there was a over abundance of oil then the “world price” could drop dramatically and conversely a shortage large price increases and we are seeing large fluctuations in price over short periods of time.
 The environmental cost are not in the equation for costs.   For instance if climate change effects food production or  global warming causes the sea level to rise the cost of coastal flooding  is not considered.      
Green party policy.     Therefore to stop using oil must be political.  It cannot be economic because technology will keep the price down and present oil speculation is questionable for long term high prices.   Green Party policy must be “ Stop drilling for more oil”   Even if for instance they were to find a massive oil field in Canada that was “cheep oil” we cannot allow the oil companies to extract it. 
We need to take political stand for the future and the environment and ignore the present false economics of oil.
To emphasize this the Green Party should stop calling oil a fossil fuel and name it by its more accurate name of  “abiotic fuel”. ( This also includes natural gas.)
 The last thing the planet and the human race needs is more oil!
Alan Bergey

Sunday, May 12, 2013

V.C. Kelessidis

The general saying among oil well drillers is that oil is where you find it, meaning that oil has been found in traditional and non-traditional places. What of course is considered traditional is that oil is found in sedimentary rocks, very close to the surface in the beginning of the century, while nowadays it may be found at considerable depths, now reaching almost 9000 m from the surface. There are of course finds in fractured basement rocks (metamorphic or igneous rocks) from where they are produced (Sircar, 2004). Batchelor and Gutmanis (2005) have compiled an extensive list of fields producing hydrocarbons from basement rocks, although most petroleum geologists dismiss them as being of non-commercial value.

However, White Tiger, the oil field in Vietnam may prove them wrong because it is an excellent example of production from basement rock. The field currently produces 350.000 barrel oil per day, expecting to produce overall 600 million barrels (47 years of production at this place). The granitic basement rock is highly fissured with apparent permeabilities ranging from a few mD to up to 464 mD (Chan et al., 2006). The oil that is produced, however, has been characterized of biogenic origin (Nemchenko et al., 2007) with migration from underlying sedimentary rocks.

Of course, we find oil ‘where it is’, where it has remained for ages, but how was it formed? Current belief is that oil is of biotic origin, through accumulation of organic matter (plankton, single cell organisms that floated on ocean surface) and sedimentation followed by burial. For large periods organic material has been under very high pressures and temperatures, in the range of 130-150 °C , in a ‘cooking pot’ and gradually transformed to petroleum. Because of its lower density, it has migrated upwards and some surfaced and was lost, while some has hit non-permeable layers (the seal) and accumulated in the porous sedimentary rocks creating the world’s oil and gas fields.

There is, however, another school of thought, not very well known until recent years, which is gaining, though, momentum. It is the theory of abiotic (or abiogenic) origin of petroleum, that hydrocarbons have been formed in the depths of Earth by reduction of CO2 and H2 gases in the presence of metal catalysts (Gold and Soter, 1980; Kenney, 1994; Krayushkin et al., 1994; Glasby, 2006; Wikipedia, 2009). The consequences of course of such a theory, if true, could be extraordinary, as Earth’s mantle becomes the inexhaustible provider of the cheapest energy source on Earth, by today’s standards, and shattering not only the oil-depletion myth but also pointing out to oil-rich regions in places devoid as prolific as before, because of belief of biogenic origin. Nikolai Alexandrovich Kudryavtsev (Kudryavtsev, 1951) was the first to start the theory of abiotic generation of hydrocarbons, in what has become the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum (Kropotkin, 1986; Kenney et al., 2002). However, Abbas (1996) starts the history as early as 1877 by Mendeleev and provides a good overview as well as pros and cons about the two points of view.

In principle, the abiotic theory states that under high pressures (less than 5000 bar) and high temperatures (between 500 and 1500 °C ) methane could be formed from reduced carbon resulted from calcite. The process has been supported theoretically, via thermodynamic analysis, and experimentally (Kenney et al., 2002). Methane may also be formed from volatile rich fluids resulting from partial melting of rocks within Earth’s interior (National Academy Press, 2007). Thermodynamics indicate that at 1300 K, CO2 and CO should be the predominant carbon rich gases, while at lower temperatures CH4 should be predominant (Eugster and Skippen, 1967), with Symmonds et al., (1994) supporting the first argument by measurements.

Strong support for this hypothesis is the fact that methane and hydrocarbons are abundant in the outer solar system (Gold, 1979, 1984, 1985, 1993). There is reported evidence of abiotic formation of complex organics from methane in Saturn’s satellite Titan’s atmosphere (National Academy Press, 2007), although it is stated that there may be no connection to primitive Earth, because at the low surface temperature of Titan (at 46 K) all water is turned into ice. Methane, ethane and acetylene have also been discovered in Comet C/1996 B2 Hyakutake (Mumma et al., 1996). The finding of very deep gas reservoirs, down to almost 10000 m, with extremely high success rates of more than 55%, has also been reported as evidence of abiotic generation of hydrocarbons (Corsi, 2005). Very recent works (Cathcart, 2007; Paropkari, 2008) have been suggesting that we should be rethinking about oil exploration strategies in view of the substantial evidence about abiotic hydrocarbon origin.

Kenney et al. (2002) analyzed theoretically, via thermodynamic computations, the possibilities for hydrocarbon generation at high pressures and temperatures and showed that it is possible. They went on and performed successful experiments, using a specially built high pressure apparatus (Nikolaev and Shalimov, 1999) at pressures of 50 kbar, temperatures to 1500 °C . Using only as reagents solid iron oxide and 99.9% pure marble, wet with triple distilled water, they were able to generate methane. They reported that at pressures lower than 10 kbar only methane was formed while at pressures greater than 30 kbar a multi-component hydrocarbon mixture was formed including methane, ethane, propane, n-alkanes as well as alkenes, in distributions characteristic of natural petroleum.

Scott et al. (2004) have also reported in situ observations of hydrocarbon generation via carbonate reduction at upper mantle temperatures and pressures, forming methane from FeO, CaCO3-calcite and water at temperatures ranging between 500 and 1500 °C and pressures between 50 and 110 kbar. The authors were confident of the abiogenic theory of hydrocarbon generation thus concluding that Earth’s hydrocarbon budget is much larger than it is currently thought.

Petroleum generation under hydrothermal conditions, with certain metals or alloys used as catalysts, has been amply demonstrated at lower temperatures and pressures. For e.g. Horita and Bernt (1999) used a nickel-iron alloy, similar to what could be found within Earth’s crust, to catalyze the slow, under other conditions, reaction of methane generation from dissolved bicarbonate, under hydrothermal conditions at 200 and 400 °C and 500 bar. Without the catalyst, no methane was formed, concluding that abiogenic methane may be more widespread than originally thought.

Proskurowski et al. (2008) suggested, through analysis of components in hydrothermal oceanic vents that abiotic synthesis in nature of hydrocarbon fluids may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks (which comprise mostly Earth’s mantle), water and moderate amounts of heat. On the other hand, Konn et al. (2008) analyzing data from same and other vents did not find conclusive evidence of the fact. He noted that, although amounts of hydrocarbons attributed to abiogenic origin were found, their signature has been difficult to characterize owing to the abundance of biogenic material. This is not far from the findings of Robinson (1963) who had noted at the time that the observed petroleum composition cannot really be attributed to biological origin, suggesting a primordial mixture to which bioproducts have been added. Ji et al. (2008) also presented results of generating a range of alcanes up to pentane, not only methane, from CO2 and H2 in hydrothermal conditions with cobalt as catalyst at 300 °C and pressures as low as 300 bar.

Szatmari (1989) suggested the hypothesis of petroleum formation by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, which is distinct from the organic and the inorganic coming from degassing theory of Gold. Foustoukos and Seyfried (2004) also demonstrated the acceleration of hydrocarbon production from CO2 and H2 with the Fischer-Tropsch reaction, using chromium and iron bearing minerals as catalysts, at 390 °C and 450 bars. Recent reports (Sherwood-Lollard et al., 2002) have identified traces of abiotically derived hydrocarbons in Kidd Creek hard rock mines. In the laboratory, abiotic synthesis of more complex organic compounds has been reported in aqueous media (McCollom et al., 1999).

Glasby (2006) gives a historical overview on the origin of hydrocarbons. He dismisses both the Russian-Ukrainian theory and the theory of gas degassing by Gold, as being non thermodynamically sound. He does not discuss, however, the Fischer-Tropsch type of reactions, pointed out above. Hence, his work serves as a very good reference, but to the author’s opinion, the final arguments are not as strong as they should have been. Interesting to note that he dismisses the Ukrainian theory on the basis of better evidence for the origin of higher hydrocarbons from organic matter, using better techniques, and noting that the theory is even forgotten in Ukraine, which is not true, as it has been recently demonstrated (Kutcherov, 2007; Kitchka, 2007).

V.C. Kelessidis. Challenges for very deep oil and gas drilling - will there ever be a depth limit? 3rd AMIREG International Conference (2009): Assessing the Footprint of 220 Resource Utilization and Hazardous Waste Management, Athens, Greece