The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. According to the Abiogenic (Abiotic) Theory, hydrocarbons are very abundant on the planet but the search for discovery of commercial accumulations is not simple because it must pass through understanding of geology of the favorable areas and especially understand the real nature of oil and natural gas.
Biogenic (Orthodox): suggestion that remnants of buried plant and animal life (organic detritus) hundreds of meters deep. Action of pressure and temperature with long time, in geologic scale, would convert the kerogen into hydrocarbons (catagenesis).
It is noteworthy that when was proposed biogenic theory of oil formation has not yet had scientific advance through reports of space research and technology of telescopes and probes, as is now known the abundance of hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) on Earth, in the Solar System and universe.
Presence of some biological molecules associated with primordial hydrocarbons is closely related to contamination by microorganisms (Archaea) that feed on hydrocarbons and die into the oil, leaving their parts as fingerprints inside oil at shallower levels in crust. Almost all the hydrocarbons that chemically form oil are stable at great depths and they are primordial and metastable compounds, therefore, oil deposits represent simple displacement of hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) from its original environment of formation i.e., from Earth's upper mantle to shallower levels in the crust.
Variation of the abiogenic theory suggests that part of the oil may be formed by reactions like Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis from serpentinization of peridotite of upper mantle, by chemical hydrolysis reactions, producing hydrogen by reacting with other compounds of carbon (methane), carbon dioxide or carbonates in presence of catalysts transition metals such as Iron, Nickel, Vanadium, produces n-alkanes hydrocarbons which later migrate to shallower levels, mainly in sedimentary basins by tectonic forces.
There are some occurrences of coal in Precambrian, Neoproterozoic. According to fossil record of planet Earth there's no superior plant at that time, then the Proterozoic coal is surely abiotic and represents probably ancient oil accumulation with high hydrogen loss and biodegradation of primordial hydrocarbons.
It is also common occurrence of coal over oil and gas production areas. See below a comparison between maps of oil and coal occurrences in the United States.
He is considered Father of Modern Abiotic Oil Theory.
The Russian-Ukrainian Abiotic Theory of Petroleum, based on thermodynamic calculations, was initiated in Ukraine by the scientist Professor Emmanuil B. Chekaliuk (1967), whose studies indicated that the oil comes from and originates at high pressures and temperatures in the Earth's mantle, without the participation of carbon of organic origin (plants or animals). This theory is supported by several studies conducted experimental laboratory in the United States by Dr. J.F. Kenney and other Russian scientists, Kolesnikov A., Kutcherov V.G., Goncharov A.F., Spanu L. and others.
“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.” — Emmanuil B. Chekaliuk, 1968
One of the predictions of abiogenic theories is that other Solar System planets and their satellites (moons) have oceans of hydrocarbons (methane, ethane). These hydrocarbons would be present or during the formation of the solar system or were products of subsequent chemical reactions. The hydrocarbons are present in the nebulae, commonly as complex Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH's).
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) has conducted conferences on issues about the origin of oil (biogenic/Abiogenic) and involvement in exploration and oil production.
He knew the occurrence of oil in basement rocks of the Kola Peninsula (Russia) and oil leaks on the Siljan impact structure, Sweden. He noted, as mentioned above, that the immense quantities of hydrocarbons in the Athabasca Oil Sands (Tar Sands), Canada would have to contain a vast amount of "source rocks" according to the conventional model, when indeed, none was found.
An interesting approach about possibility of crude oil in Mars can be found at the link below:
Oil in Mars?
Tectonic processes of high-magnitude enable rise of volatiles from the mantle to shallower crustal levels on Earth. Reactivation of the megastructures in sedimentary basins over its geological history may also promote the upwelling and migration of hydrocarbons.
According to studies performed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to estimate the distribution of carbon on Earth is:
Many people linked to geosciences claim that oil and or gas would be formed, for instance, in carbonaceous shales, which are argillaceous thin bedded and laminated rocks. However, oil, gas or bitumen that may be associated with a shale can be allochthonous material and therefore not formed in situ. The hydrocarbons that migrate to the laminated rocks also promote conservation of fossils and the high abundance of these latter may be related to local emanation of hydrocarbons that reached earlier fossiliferous layers. If not consider these arguments above leads to confusion and misinterpretation that oil would form from biologic sources and its origin would produce the so-called "fossil fuels" (sic) which is nonsense.
Unconventional shale gas actually is not originated intrinsically within shales. These carbonaceous shales as for instance those from Appalachian basin are not source of gas, but merely reservoirs of primordial gases which migrated from great depths, by deep faults, reach these shales at basin level and are disseminated in their micropores and microfractures. This area is also stage of high upwelling of hydrocarbons where occur several coal mines, conventional gas and oil fields, within-plate earthquakes, Mississippi Valley-Type deposits associated to hydrothermal dolomite HTD.
The crucial issue for the concept of the organic model is how it could support any mechanism to supply oil reserves faster than its exhaustion. Geological facts collected from all oil basins testify that, geologically, the fields of oil and gas are formed very quickly, which contradicts the time required for maturation of organic rocks is based concepts as biogenic. This is a crucial observation for this traditional model.
Some believe that biogenic origin has a difficult mission for the hydrocarbon deposits were not as plentiful as the sources are largely abiogenic. Thinking that mantle volatiles are alleged as rare in the superficial layers of the Earth is interesting to note that solid rock of the lower crust and upper mantle cover vast desert areas (as examples granulitic belts and ophiolite). In addition, outcrops of rocks off the mantle of the ocean floor and throughout the global system of mid-ocean ridges are plentiful on this planet. Also, it is often assumed that earthquakes cause massive discharges of hydrocarbons (e.g. oil seeps''catastrophic''oil slicks in the oceans) due to rupture of impermeable rocks, however, it is considered that the constant fluid seeps always migrate to the surface that day-to-day, called the ''cold'' outgassing such moves as much or even more help in relation to catastrophic events.
Some think that this argument would be somewhat strange because there is evidence of fossils in tar pits (lakes of bitumen) covering a wide range of periods and therefore many of them are important sources of fossils. This certainly proves the fossil organic matter replenishment through geological time (hundreds of millions of years) with which the biogenic origin alone explains(sic). However, this has nothing in common with the rapid formation of gas and oil fields (around 10 to 40 thousand years), and geologically rapid deterioration.
Hydrocarbons disappear quickly while there was dissipation, evaporation, and deep oxidation and intense biodegradation. So the clue to solving this problem lies in the global balance of carbon and hydrogen flows and exchange rates. When scientists and researchers give attention to these facts and better understand the Earth system, integrating the knowledge of physics, astrophysics and astronomy will be clear that hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) are primordial materials, and therefore prior to emergence of life.
It is possible that the major extinctions of life that occurred in Earth's history are due to the increase of methane in the atmosphere through geological processes, such as strong sea level fall or meteorite impacts, which could destabilize gas hydrates in the oceans. It is possible that this situation would have occurred either during the Permo-Triassic crisis, with fragmentation of the supercontinental masses or, for instance, also by meteorite impacts during the transition from the Cretaceous to Paleogene (Old Lower Tertiary).
Methane reacts with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide when it interacts close to the volcanoes of magma (lava). Methane reacts with water, oxygen and calcium to form carbonate cements and concretions in sedimentary reservoirs of oil.
Microbial life that live inside the Earth or near the sea- bottom feed on methane, creating spectacular ecosystems, with bizarre life forms and still little studied, such as chemosynthetic communities that associated deepwater coral mounds.
Primordial methane interacts with argillaceous rocks rich in organic matter (kerogen) and can produce smaller contributions to formation of hydrocarbon oil, due to production of real biomarker (e.g. hopanes, terpanes which are derived from cell walls of bacteria) and unsaturated (alkenes), but not exactly oil. Methane can also interact with peat swamps forming deposits of coal, bringing great depths metals like mercury (as methyl or dimethyl mercury compounds), arsenic, nickel, vanadium, cadmium, lead, selenium, uranium, among others.
more than 1000 meters below the top
(The Deep Hot Biosphere, Thomas Gold, 1999)
Molecules of biological origin have low chemical potential and, in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics, could not transform spontaneously into hydrocarbons heavier than methane, which are molecules of high chemical potential. Studies of thermodynamic stabilities and free energies of Hydrogen-Carbon system conducted by Dr. J.F. Kenney clearly demonstrate impossibility of biological organic matter form natural hydrocarbons. Biological molecules in general are oxidized, such as carbohydrates and never could form oil.
Thinking that, for example, that the jet engines which raise a plane in the air and their strength would be driven by "fossil fuels" is a completely silly notion.
Phylogenetic Tree of Life
The sedimentary strata form excellent reservoirs (pore spaces) and sealing rocks which when combined can form traps for hydrocarbons. These traps are connected with deep sources, related to very deep faults also, having interactions with the upper mantle during the evolution and reactivation of the basin.
Oil also occurs commercially in basement rocks, although the accumulations are more rare, it because due ignorance of the geology of this kind of terrane, and there is little effort to exploratory drilling and surveys in this context. The success of the discoveries of the oil and natural gas accumulations in sedimentary basins is due to the remarkable development of seismic reflection methods, which allow better identification of structures (traps) and prediction of reservoirs and anomalies.
Hydrocarbons (oil, gas) migrating through faults from deep to the host sedimentary rocks are mainly in the reservoirs (rock porosity), however it is fairly common interaction between allocthonous hydrocarbon and fine interstratified argillaceous rocks such as shales and/or alternating thin shales and carbonate rocks, leading to erroneous interpretation that these lithotypes are the so-called "source rocks" of oil (sic).