Thanks to technology, we’re not going to run out of oil

posted at 2:31 pm on January 2, 2016 by Matt Vespa

If you read Stephen Moore’s column, he noted how the consensus over oil is wrong. We’re not running out of oil. In fact, many have been saying we’re going to run out since the 1930s:

These stupid predictions of the end of oil have been going on for most of the last century. Just over 100 years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated total future production at 6 billion barrels, yet we’ve produced more than 20times that amount. In 1939 the Department of the Interior predicted U.S. oil supplies would last 13 years. I could go on.

[…]

The folks at the Institute for Energy Research recently published a study showing three data points: first, the government’s best estimate of how much oil we had in America 50 years ago. The second was how much U.S. oil has been drilled out of the ground since then. And the third is how many reserves there are now. Today we have twice as many reserves as we had in 1950. And we have already produced almost 10 times more oil than the government told us we had back then.

Moore added that technological advancements are increasing oil production. In fact, Kerry Jackson at Investors Business Daily wrote in November that these advances are going to almost triple the amount of fossil fuel resources if research and development continue. At the current rate, she wrote that 2.9 trillion barrels could expand to 4.8 trillion by 2050, which is “almost twice as much as the projected global demand.” And we also know that energy from these resources is guaranteed to keep economies running, growing, and thriving, compared to the wholly inadequate alternatives such as wind and solar that won’t be able to meet our energy needs.

Engineering and Technology Magazine reported this week that BP — the company that once wanted to be known as “Beyond Petroleum” rather than “British Petroleum” — is saying “the world is no longer at risk of running out of resources.”

“Thanks to investment into supercomputers, robotics and the use of chemicals to extract the maximum from available reservoirs, the accessible oil and gas reserves will almost double by 2050,” Engineering and Technology said.

A BP official told the magazine that “energy resources are plentiful. Concerns over running out of oil and gas have disappeared.”

Things are so good, in fact, that Engineering and Technology says “with the use of the innovative technologies, available fossil fuel resources could increase from the current 2.9 trillion barrels of oil equivalent to 4.8 trillion by 2050, which is almost twice as much as the projected global demand.” That number could even reach 7.5 trillion barrels if technology and exploration techniques advance even faster.

This information backs up the idea that Earth is actually an oil-producing machine. We call energy sources such as crude oil and natural gas fossil fuels based on the assumption that they are the products of decaying organisms, maybe even dinosaurs themselves. But the label is a misnomer. Research from the last decade found that hydrocarbons are synthesized abiotically.

NDOilRig


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Comments

The advancements and availability of technology is made irrelevant, by those in high positions of civil governance.

listens2glenn on January 2, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Oil, Earth’s original renewable energy source.

LoganSix on January 2, 2016 at 2:40 PM

But every time we have to tap into a new type of oil, like the shale oil for instance, the costs of extraction increases. In energy, manpower, in other raw resources. We might not ever be able to run out of oil, but that is because in the end, the last bits of oil will cost orders of magnitude more to extract than they are worth.
It is probably that the oil is not produced by fossils at all, but is created in the Mantel and seeps up through cracks. In this respect it might be a renewable resource.

Constitutionalist on January 2, 2016 at 2:41 PM

I’ve got those “We’ve been running out of oil since the day I was born” blues.

Kraken on January 2, 2016 at 2:41 PM

The “climate change” scammers would sooner have their toenails pulled than to admit that we have more oil than we can use and that nature continually makes more through ongoing natural processes. Nature has been naturally sequestering carbon in the forms of coal, oil, and gas for as long as life has been present on this planet. If anything exploiting these resources is returning carbon to the biosphere to allow life to expand instead of contracting.
They also don’t want to admit that the “green” energy devices and the power distribution infrastructure are built from fossil fuel derivatives.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 2:42 PM

So, the party of Science, Learning, and Happy Thoughts had not the prescience to figure this out 40 years ago when it was pretty obvious that one day fossil fuels would go by the wayside and be replaced by the results of science and learning? Too busy fighting global warming to see the future, I suppose.

Guess they’re not as smart as they thought.

princetrumpet on January 2, 2016 at 2:42 PM

Constitutionalist on January 2, 2016 at 2:41 PM

We find oil wherever there was a sufficient concentration of biomass accumulation over time; i.e. it’s an ongoing natural process. The cost of extraction is still very cheap. If anything oil is too plentiful.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 2:45 PM

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 2:42 PM

I’m volunteering for the toenail pulling detail. It’s a dirty, stinky job, but it does have its rewards….

Kraken on January 2, 2016 at 2:46 PM

Maybe instead of oil shortage we should call it oil change. And the glut of oil only serves as more proof of how little we have and must act quickly through government regulation to curb its use.

tdarrington on January 2, 2016 at 2:49 PM

Earth makes oil, it’s what she does. It’s her blood.

We wont warm the climate with it, but we can choke ourselves on carbon monoxide. See beijing. That’s the only gripe I have with oil, well, that and it kinda kills fishes and birds when spilled. We can learn to be cleaner and more careful, we don’t need to kneecap ourselves by not using it.

Once again, liberals are pure stupid. These things will never occur to them because they don’t have one honest bone in their collective, corrupt bodies. The best thing, the very best thing about oil is that it can be refined into gasoline, which is VERY useful in lighting the pyres of dead progressives that will be piled up all over the place soon…

Andy__B on January 2, 2016 at 2:50 PM

We call energy sources such as crude oil and natural gas fossil fuels based on the assumption that they are the products of decaying organisms, maybe even dinosaurs themselves. But the label is a misnomer. Research from the last decade found that hydrocarbons are synthesized abiotically.

.
I have believed this for years, and creation scientists have been saying it.

But the link doesn’t provide me with a source for the quote … and it’s kinda important to have that.

listens2glenn on January 2, 2016 at 2:51 PM

We can learn to be cleaner and more careful, we don’t need to kneecap ourselves by not using it.
.
Andy__B on January 2, 2016 at 2:50 PM

.
Dittos and dittos.

listens2glenn on January 2, 2016 at 2:53 PM

We find oil wherever there was a sufficient concentration of biomass accumulation over time; i.e. it’s an ongoing natural process. The cost of extraction is still very cheap. If anything oil is too plentiful.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 2:45 PM

You find it there but we don’t really know what petroleum is according to a major oil co. I was a jobber for. It is a natural process for sure but may not be biological. For instance oil never wears out. The additives do.

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 data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.

CW20 on January 2, 2016 at 2:55 PM

Oh, and I forgot to say:
.
“DRILL BABY, DRILL !”

listens2glenn on January 2, 2016 at 2:55 PM

I have believed this for years, and creation scientists have been saying it.

But the link doesn’t provide me with a source for the quote … and it’s kinda important to have that.

listens2glenn on January 2, 2016 at 2:51 PM

I think they’re misunderstanding somewhat. This natural process reduces organic material to more basic components; it do not see the significance of biotic vs. abiotic.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 2:56 PM

We wont warm the climate with it, but we can choke ourselves on carbon monoxide. See beijing.

Is Beijing choking on oil or on coal?

Bertram Cabot Jr. on January 2, 2016 at 3:00 PM

CW20 on January 2, 2016 at 2:55 PM

Interesting information about Saturn’s moon. Hydrocarbons are not living things but contain the same basic elements found in earth life-forms. Is there sufficient oxygen and nitrogen present also to support life as we know it? Can we watch it happen?

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 3:02 PM

Is Beijing choking on oil or on coal?

Bertram Cabot Jr. on January 2, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Both. But that is because they do not scrub any of the exhaust even a tiny bit.

Constitutionalist on January 2, 2016 at 3:02 PM

Is Beijing choking on oil or on coal?

Bertram Cabot Jr. on January 2, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Both. But that is because they do not scrub any of the exhaust even a tiny bit.

Constitutionalist on January 2, 2016 at 3:02 PM

They’re choking more on particulates from burning fuels inefficiently. There are plenty of partially decomposed hydrocarbons in that soot to increase the cancer rate.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 3:05 PM

And if we had a smidgeon of leadership, we would use that oil to buy us time to build more nuclear.

me neither.

WryTrvllr on January 2, 2016 at 3:06 PM

smidgen

WryTrvllr on January 2, 2016 at 3:06 PM

The global elites want to consolidate their power in a new geo-political structure. For that to happen they need an enemy to rally the world against, or, in other words, a crisis to exploit. That crisis is Global Warming. That will be the rallying cry to abolish the current geo-political structure and make the world, politially, into something else.

johnnybgood on January 2, 2016 at 3:07 PM

What crude oil is not a fossil fuel but rather a natural byproduct of some earthly function not fully understood? There seems to be more of it every time estimates are made. Was not that long ago they thought Gulf oil was gone yet when they looked again there was more than ever. There is a finite number of fossils available to convert in to oil so unless the measurement techniques were so far off as to be considered useless, something else in happening.

Zelsdorf Ragshaft on January 2, 2016 at 3:09 PM

Oil is a natural product. Used wisely, it’s godsend. As the great filosofer Bevis said ” why do you think they call it food” in reference to the basic food group of nachos

rik on January 2, 2016 at 3:19 PM

We wont warm the climate with it, but we can choke ourselves on carbon monoxide. See beijing. That’s the only gripe I have with oil, well, that and it kinda kills fishes and birds when spilled. We can learn to be cleaner and more careful…

We have, the air is absurdly clean compared to the past because of things like scrubber technology and catalytic converters, and because we are not burning wood, coal, or peat, in every fireplace, furnace, and stove, plus we don’t have a legion of horses and other dray animals carping all over the place.

F X Muldoon on January 2, 2016 at 3:21 PM

Folks the science of Abiotic Oil was proven years ago. Like in the early 50’s. The only reason you are still taught it was dinosaurs and dying plants was due to your insistence to believe some kid that majored in education that teaches your children and refuses to read anything outside their antiquated lessons out of the books chosen by your government and fed to you and your kids. Sorry.

OldSarg on January 2, 2016 at 3:25 PM

We wont warm the climate with it, but we can choke ourselves on carbon monoxide. See beijing. That’s the only gripe I have with oil, well, that and it kinda kills fishes and birds when spilled. We can learn to be cleaner and more careful…

China’s smog problem is due to coal not oil

rik on January 2, 2016 at 3:28 PM

We wont warm the climate with it, but we can choke ourselves on carbon monoxide. See beijing. That’s the only gripe I have with oil, well, that and it kinda kills fishes and birds when spilled. We can learn to be cleaner and more careful…

China’s smog problem is due to coal not oil

rik on January 2, 2016 at 3:28 PM

…and a socialist authoritarian government that doesn’t give a crap if the common folks choke.

RBMN on January 2, 2016 at 3:41 PM

We could compost all the liberals under high pressure. Eventually oil would become a renewable resource. Just what they’ve always wanted!

Oxymoron on January 2, 2016 at 3:49 PM

We better use some of that oil, or it’s going to spill over and that would make a big mess.

Kissmygrits on January 2, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Thomas Gold is correct. Oil is abiogenic

SpongePuppy on January 2, 2016 at 3:54 PM

But every time we have to tap into a new type of oil, like the shale oil for instance, the costs of extraction increases. In energy, manpower, in other raw resources.

Constitutionalist on January 2, 2016 at 2:41 PM

Feature, not bug. As inflation causes the value of oil to rise over the decades, the price-per-barrel of oil will make the more “expensive” oils cost-effective to extract. That is why the oil ticks have suddenly flooded the zone with dirt-cheap crude. They’re trying to force shale out of business. But of course, that strategy only works for so long, and in the meantime the oil ticks are accepting less than half of what they used to get per barrel. And once the day comes that they raise the prices again, it won’t be that expensive to start up production on our shale resources again (most of the infrastructure is already in place, and only temporarily dormant).

Rusty Nail on January 2, 2016 at 3:57 PM

I have tried to tell everyone about this.

The idea that oil is the exclusive byproduct of dinosaurs and prehistoric plants was absurd.

SpongePuppy on January 2, 2016 at 3:57 PM

Thanks to technology, we’re not going to run out of oil

Thanks to a twisted anti-Enlightenment, anti-Western ideology, we’re not going to be allowed to use it.

petefrt on January 2, 2016 at 3:58 PM

What crude oil is not a fossil fuel but rather a natural byproduct of some earthly function not fully understood? There seems to be more of it every time estimates are made. Was not that long ago they thought Gulf oil was gone yet when they looked again there was more than ever. There is a finite number of fossils available to convert in to oil so unless the measurement techniques were so far off as to be considered useless, something else in happening.

Zelsdorf Ragshaft on January 2, 2016 at 3:09 PM

Well, even if it is a non fossil fuel origin, it is still produced at a slow rate over hundreds of millions of years, so there won’t be any appreciable amount produced in the lifetime of human civilization.

Count to 10 on January 2, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Thomas Gold is correct. Oil is abiogenic

SpongePuppy on January 2, 2016 at 3:54 PM

Got a solid link for that?
“Abiogenic Oil” is tin-foil had territory for most of us.

Count to 10 on January 2, 2016 at 4:10 PM

Matt Savinar who was a Peak Oil Guru who commanded $$$ thousands for a 30 minute lecture on Peak Oil less than 7 years ago is now casting horoscopes professionally, Sad.

It is the exact same thing going on with global Warming. A few public “experts” like Al Gore and Jim Hansen are racking in the $$$ spewing what basically amounts to garbage science. They get away with it for two simple reasons, #1 People need a bogey man, and #2 a complicit media.

Johnnyreb on January 2, 2016 at 4:14 PM

One thing I noticed in China is there are open fires everywhere. It seemed likely that this was the source of the poor air quality there.

Coal is not as dirty as some commenters here seem to belive. I burn coal for heat and it is a clean burning fuel. There is almost no smoke visible and the flames are low and blue. The only thing is, it creates a lot of ash that you need to get rid of and the ash creates a fine dust when you clean your stove and the dust covers everything in your home. But as far as air pollution coal is very clean in my experiences.

steel guy on January 2, 2016 at 4:16 PM

Thanks to a twisted anti-Enlightenment, anti-Western ideology, we’re not going to be allowed to use it.

petefrt on January 2, 2016 at 3:58 PM

And thank GOD! I, for one, am thrilled with the idea of keeping tillable acreage at record high prices!

WryTrvllr on January 2, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Thomas Gold is correct. Oil is abiogenic

SpongePuppy on January 2, 2016 at 3:54 PM

Got a solid link for that?
“Abiogenic Oil” is tin-foil had territory for most of us.

Count to 10 on January 2, 2016 at 4:10 PM

Good point; the carbon has to come from somewhere.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 4:21 PM

But every time we have to tap into a new type of oil, like the shale oil for instance, the costs of extraction increases. In energy, manpower, in other raw resources. We might not ever be able to run out of oil, but that is because in the end, the last bits of oil will cost orders of magnitude more to extract than they are worth.
It is probably that the oil is not produced by fossils at all, but is created in the Mantel and seeps up through cracks. In this respect it might be a renewable resource.

Constitutionalist on January 2, 2016 at 2:41 PM

That is simply not true. That is the old Peak Oil crowd argument, EROEI will become less and less with each succeeding new source of oil that we will be spending more resources to extract oil than the value of the oil that has been extracted. It is a myth.

Every time we start to “run out” of easily accessible oil technology has come to the rescue and it has most certainly has not cost significantly more to develop new sources of oil, fraking , shale oil and horizontal drilling are some that come to mind. We are using all of that type of oil right now and it has not caused any price increases.

Johnnyreb on January 2, 2016 at 4:23 PM

I think a lot of you are missing the point:
Coal, oil, and gas are recycled carbon from living things.

It doesn’t matter if the decomposition into these base forms is biological, chemical, or (most likely) a combination. It still recycles the carbon.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 4:23 PM

Thomas Gold is correct. Oil is abiogenic

SpongePuppy on January 2, 2016 at 3:54 PM

Got a solid link for that?
“Abiogenic Oil” is tin-foil had territory for most of us.

Count to 10 on January 2, 2016 at 4:10 PM

Good point; the carbon has to come from somewhere.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 4:21 PM

So, a quick round of Googleling and a look at the Wikipedia page seems to indicate that there is a consensus among geologists that oil is biological in origin, with a few outsiders from other fields like astronomy promoting the abiogenic theory. The evidence has apparently come down on the biogenic side, but its come down to one of these situations where any outcome of an experiment can be explained away by both camps.
In other words, it looks a lot like the evolution vs. creationism war (but is distinctly different from the argument over AGW).

Count to 10 on January 2, 2016 at 4:35 PM

That is why the oil ticks have suddenly flooded the zone with dirt-cheap crude. They’re trying to force shale out of business.

Rusty Nail on January 2, 2016 at 3:57 PM

Exactly. That’s the tactic OPEC used to kill the oil industry in the USA the last time we generated a boom, and the bust killed the oil industry in Texas, OK and AK and much of CA for decades.

This time the oil cartel in the Middle East has stiff competition from Canada and Russia in addition to the USA, so hopefully the combined resources in these countries will dissuade the cartels this time.

UPNorthWolf on January 2, 2016 at 4:39 PM

I think a lot of you are missing the point:
Coal, oil, and gas are recycled carbon from living things.

It doesn’t matter if the decomposition into these base forms is biological, chemical, or (most likely) a combination. It still recycles the carbon.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 4:23 PM

That’s just it, though: the abiogenic theory is that it isn’t recycled. Their theory is that hydrocarbons are constantly introduced into the upper crust from the mantle, and not influenced by any carbon being sequestered into the crust.

Actually, it oil is abiogenic, then it would actually be an argument against exploiting it, as there is not bound that would keep CO2 levels from getting to concentrations that are actually dangerous (eventually).

Count to 10 on January 2, 2016 at 4:41 PM

Every time we start to “run out” of easily accessible oil technology has come to the rescue and it has most certainly has not cost significantly more to develop new sources of oil, fraking , shale oil and horizontal drilling are some that come to mind. We are using all of that type of oil right now and it has not caused any price increases.

Johnnyreb on January 2, 2016 at 4:23 PM

What is the break even price of fracking? What is the manpower hours for fracking compared to conventional? What additional materials need to be spent using fracturing?

Right now the break even point for fracking is on average higher than current oil prices. Some places is less, but many are not. That is why no one is drilling for oil right now.
What about man hours? The old types were drill, tap, set up pump and leave. The new fracturing method requires much more manpower to keep the fractures open and oil flowing through them.
As for materials. They did not need to dump tons of special sand down the holes to keep the rocks separated enough for oil to seep through.

So, you are arguing that fracturing oil is as cheap to produce as say the drill, tap, pump and go that Saudi Arabia produces?
That the cost of drilling in the deep ocean is just as cheap as doing it on land or even in the shallower seas?

I do not see that as true.

Constitutionalist on January 2, 2016 at 4:43 PM

Good point; the carbon has to come from somewhere.

mad scientist on January 2, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Not taking a side in this debate. Nowhere near knowledgeable enough.

Where did the carbon for the dinosaurs come from in the first place?

WryTrvllr on January 2, 2016 at 4:50 PM

I think Julian Simon was first to point out this inanity.

J.B. Say on January 2, 2016 at 5:06 PM

Where did the carbon for the dinosaurs come from in the first place?

WryTrvllr on January 2, 2016 at 4:50 PM

Stars.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gamow

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_nucleosynthesis

gh on January 2, 2016 at 5:08 PM

Actually, it oil is abiogenic, then it would actually be an argument against exploiting it, as there is not bound that would keep CO2 levels from getting to concentrations that are actually dangerous (eventually).

Count to 10 on January 2, 2016 at 4:41 PM

Nonsense. CO2 does not have a broad enough absorption spectrum. Water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. Even on venus.

gh on January 2, 2016 at 5:09 PM

But the label is a misnomer. Research from the last decade found that hydrocarbons are synthesized abiotically.

Horse hockey. Oil shales are organic-rich rocks with the residual of that oil production, kerogen, still present in the rock, and the pore space in the kerogen (it shrinks and leaves pores behind when the oil is cooked out) is filled with oil. Conventional oil is produced from porous and permeable rocks that overlie source rocks, such as oil shales, and caught some of the oil after it was generated and expelled from the source.

The Russians have pushed the abiotic origin idea for a long time, and an American, Dr. Gold, has pushed the idea in this country. Anyone with an understanding of petroleum geology knows that the deep mantle idea is bunk.

Some methane does come out of volcanic sources. So do a lot of other simple gasses.

iurockhead on January 2, 2016 at 5:35 PM

Whether its peak oil, over population, or global warming they all come from the same place…liberal idiots who want more control of a free society. Im in my 50s and have heard peak oil and over population since i was 10. Global cooling got switched to global warming then climate change…how many times can people be so wrong before they get booted out and funding shut down?

jaywemm on January 2, 2016 at 6:22 PM

Folks the science of Abiotic Oil was proven years ago. Like in the early 50’s. The only reason you are still taught it was dinosaurs and dying plants was due to your insistence to believe some kid that majored in education that teaches your children and refuses to read anything outside their antiquated lessons out of the books chosen by your government and fed to you and your kids. Sorry.

OldSarg on January 2, 2016 at 3:25 PM

I keep tabs on this technology a couple times a year. It’s still not a moneymaker, but it does exactly what the earth does, in a short span of time.

http://discovermagazine.com/2003/may/featoil

ProudinNC on January 2, 2016 at 6:25 PM

T

homas Gold is correct. Oil is abiogenic

SpongePuppy on January 2, 2016 at 3:54 PM

It is in a sense. The chemical process that produces oil is going on even now. The question is if that production is high enough to meet current and future demands, and if it isn’t then whether or not abiogenic is real or not is purely academic.

DFCtomm on January 2, 2016 at 6:26 PM

Feature, not bug. As inflation causes the value of oil to rise over the decades, the price-per-barrel of oil will make the more “expensive” oils cost-effective to extract. That is why the oil ticks have suddenly flooded the zone with dirt-cheap crude. They’re trying to force shale out of business. But of course, that strategy only works for so long, and in the meantime the oil ticks are accepting less than half of what they used to get per barrel. And once the day comes that they raise the prices again, it won’t be that expensive to start up production on our shale resources again (most of the infrastructure is already in place, and only temporarily dormant).

Rusty Nail on January 2, 2016 at 3:57 PM

It’s being used to punish Russia, and Saudi is happy to destroy fracing as a bonus. The conspiracy is that the money is being channeled back to SA through derivatives, via Banks like JPMorgan Chase. It’s economic warfare.

DFCtomm on January 2, 2016 at 6:36 PM

Research shows that a small amount of hydrocarbon may be formed abiogenically. But it is not known if there’s a commercially significant amount of such. Prevailing theory identifies most all of the available and known petroleum, coal and natural gas resources to be biogenic. And, there is a finite amount of these resources as far as anyone knows. Scientific consensus has been very clear – then and now – that the hydrocarbon resources are finite. Sure, advancements in technology have increased the availability of these resources due to better mining methods. And as methods for locating these resources have improved dramatically over the decades, the known reserves have also increased dramatically. But, all this does not mean that new resources are being created in amounts that would be significant or useful to our present civilization (it takes thousands of years for natural processes to create the hydrocarbon resources). So, the basic premise of this article that petroleum and natural gas are somehow limitless is not borne out by the facts as they are known now. It’s rather a ridiculous speculation, completely unfounded. We cannot act as if there’s an unending supply of petroleum, natural gas and coal. Also, to think that there’s no problem with using all the known reserves of these substances is, in light of the environmental damages that their use entails (that is, global warming, ocean acidification and climate changes) is foolish.

oakland on January 2, 2016 at 7:07 PM

Titan.

Well, if Titan has all those hydrocarbons and no history of dinosaurs, the hydrocarbons must be abiotic.

Really cold up there if it’s raining liquid Methane and Ethane, though. Bring a sweater.

This is another example of the resources available to us when we get out into space and start to exploit the wealth available.

trigon on January 2, 2016 at 7:24 PM

Oil reserves have more to do with how much oil a company thinks it will need over the next few years as opposed to how much oil actually is out there. Say a company has 15 years of oil in reserve, why would it pay any one to look for more? So they shut down their exploration. Now, say its reserve shrinks to 4 or 5 years? Well, now it’s time to start looking again. In both cases the actual amount of oil in the world was of only secondary importance. Simply put, the size of the world’s reserves of oil isn’t a good guide as to how much oil is out there.

Fred 2 on January 2, 2016 at 7:25 PM

The principle of abiogenesis is simple. The Germans developed the Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) process in the mid-1920’s. Hydrocarbons are just carbon and hydrogen, ie, methane (CH4), gasoline (octane, C8H18), etc. The most common feedstocks are carbon monoxide (CO) and water (H2O), but other sources can be used requiring various catalysts. An example F-T temperature-pressure profile would be 400 degrees F and 300 psi. Higher temperature and pressures increase yield and speed.

So all we need is a sources of carbon, hydrogen, temperature and pressure. If there was just a place we could get all of those inputs, we’d be set. Let’s see…the crust of the earth is .02% carbon, so that’s about 500 quadrillion tons. That should hold us for a while. Now where can we get the heat? Well, the temperature rises about 1 degree every 100 feet of depth, so we’d reach F-T temp at about 6 miles. So far so good.

So we’re 6 miles down, surrounded by carbon at 400 degrees…if we just had a source of pressure. Where, oh where, could we possibly find that kind of pressure 6 miles below the surface? Say, oh, I don’t know, maybe thousands of feet … of … rock …

…oh…

Pressure increases about 6000 psi per mile, so we’d only need 250 feet. 6 miles would be plenty.

So there you have it. It also requires a catalyst to occur rapidly, but we’ve got some time, so that’s just a detail. The process would also be accelerated at greater depths.

Abiogenesis is entirely feasible theoretically. Whether it happens in reality is speculation, but the theory certainly reinforces the possibility.

jmad on January 2, 2016 at 7:50 PM

oakland on January 2, 2016 at 7:07 PM

While what you say is completely true, the reality of today is that we have enough natural gas, coal and oil to meet even greater demand rates for our lifetimes at prices that are lower than the current alternatives total cost. Will nuclear fusion make hydrogen from electrolytically cracked water cheap enough to replace gasoline engines with fuel cell engines someday? Possibly, maybe even probably but we do not need to worry about. Perhaps our grandchildren will. Will fusion reactors be producing electricity so cheaply that using natural gas to generate electricity will be ridiculous. Very possibly but not in the near future.

The point is that we do not need to be worrying about a lack of energy nor do we need to worry about life threatening warming of the globe in our lifetimes. So, when someone is trying to panic you into living like a hermit in a cave or demanding you accept three times the price for solar-generated electricity or 2 times the price for wind-generated electricity, just ignore them. When the time comes that we need alternatives to fossil fuels, the technologies will be developed. And if we ever do see any global warming, we will have plenty of time to react to that as well. We do not need to trash our economy and make our manufacturing uncompetitive from futile, ineffective CO2 reduction measures.

KW64 on January 2, 2016 at 8:25 PM

We can learn to be cleaner and more careful, we don’t need to kneecap ourselves by not using it.

Andy__B on January 2, 2016 at 2:50 PM

Speaking of which, did you know that truck and rail spill oil at 40 times the rate of pipelines?

Meremortal on January 2, 2016 at 8:59 PM

This information backs up the idea that Earth is actually an oil-producing machine. We call energy sources such as crude oil and natural gas fossil fuels based on the assumption that they are the products of decaying organisms, maybe even dinosaurs themselves. But the label is a misnomer. Research from the last decade found that hydrocarbons are synthesized abiotically.

Sorry but this is bunk. There are mechanisms for this but it is a very small fraction of known reserves. Ask top geologist working for an oil company will tell you that.

lexhamfox on January 2, 2016 at 9:03 PM

Abiotic oil? That’s crazy talk. Seriously. Crazy.

tlynch001 on January 2, 2016 at 11:33 PM

I wrote about this twice, the first time in 2010(!):

Never running out

And the second time last summer:

Proved my point

Get ready for some heavy duty Economics, y’all.

GulfCoastBamaFan on January 2, 2016 at 11:41 PM

he point is that we do not need to be worrying about a lack of energy nor do we need to worry about life threatening warming of the globe in our lifetimes.
KW64 on January 2, 2016 at 8:25 PM

Strongly disagree. With the global warming an average of .10 to .14 degree per decade (and probably accelerating), we need to act. My life may not be seriously affected, but we who have children and grandchildren are probably concerned for their welfare. And, the predictions of scientists for the second half of this century with unchecked use of fossil fuels and resultant warming is not encouraging. We need to get off the fossil as soon as we can (or develop useful sequestration methods). New methods of creating commercial energy are already in used or are being developed. We can have a profitable future – and a cleaner, more sustainable one – if we put our eggs in the right baskets.

oakland on January 3, 2016 at 7:02 AM

tlynch001 on January 2, 2016 at 11:33 PM

Unless Allahpundit is doing the article-writing, then it probably is “crazy talk”, when it comes to scientific matters on this site.

oakland on January 3, 2016 at 7:04 AM

Strongly disagree. With the global warming an average of .10 to .14 degree per decade (and probably accelerating), we need to act. My life may not be seriously affected, but we who have children and grandchildren are probably concerned for their welfare. And, the predictions of scientists for the second half of this century with unchecked use of fossil fuels and resultant warming is not encouraging. We need to get off the fossil as soon as we can (or develop useful sequestration methods). New methods of creating commercial energy are already in used or are being developed. We can have a profitable future – and a cleaner, more sustainable one – if we put our eggs in the right baskets.

oakland on January 3, 2016 at 7:02 AM

Not only is there no real indication that CO2 levels are significantly responsible for the historical temperature gradient, there is every indication that increasing temperatures are beneficial. Worry more about how the government overreach related to the AGW theory will affect our children’s welfare, because that is very real.

Count to 10 on January 3, 2016 at 8:53 AM

oakland on January 3, 2016 at 7:02 AM
oakland on January 3, 2016 at 7:04 AM

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I don’t have any expectation that you will read this because you are a dyed-in-the-wool moron but this scientist and teacher has debunked, scientifically and rationally, CAGW as a threat to humanity.
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Mike van Biezen’s lecture channel is jam packed with scientific and mathematical lectures that he has put online.
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Like I typed, I don’t have any expectation that you will profit from the pearls cast in your direction but maybe some other readers here will become more aware of valid scientific arguments against the CAGW hoax. You, I expect, will continue to be hoodwinked by the likes of Neil “deGasse” Tyson who is more ridiculous with every “analytical” effort he makes.

ExpressoBold on January 3, 2016 at 8:57 AM

But every time we have to tap into a new type of oil, like the shale oil for instance, the costs of extraction increases. In energy, manpower, in other raw resources. We might not ever be able to run out of oil, but that is because in the end, the last bits of oil will cost orders of magnitude more to extract than they are worth.
It is probably that the oil is not produced by fossils at all, but is created in the Mantel and seeps up through cracks. In this respect it might be a renewable resource.

Constitutionalist on January 2, 2016 at 2:41 PM

“The last bits of oil…” You do realize, don’t you, that the known reserves of oil beneath North America would be enough to secure the USA’s energy independence for the foreseeable future if there were no government restrictions on drilling for it…?

The reason we tap into different, more expensive sources of petroleum is because it is economically feasible at the time to do so. When it no longer is because the price of oil goes down, we stop. Then the supply decreases and the price rises again. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s the market at work, and most of the “problems” the government likes to gin up in petroleum issues are self-correcting.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 10:48 AM

So, a quick round of Googleling and a look at the Wikipedia page seems to indicate that there is a consensus among geologists that oil is biological in origin, with a few outsiders from other fields like astronomy promoting the abiogenic theory. The evidence has apparently come down on the biogenic side, but its come down to one of these situations where any outcome of an experiment can be explained away by both camps.
In other words, it looks a lot like the evolution vs. creationism war (but is distinctly different from the argument over AGW).

Count to 10 on January 2, 2016 at 4:35 PM

The only evidence that oil is biogenic is that it consists of hydrocarbons. That’s it. Oil = hydrocrabons, life as we know it = hydrocarbons. Outside of that correlation, when it comes to figuring out the process by which petroleum is actually produced, anyone’s guess is as good as any other.

gryphon202 on January 3, 2016 at 10:52 AM

Sorry but this is bunk. There are mechanisms for this but it is a very small fraction of known reserves. Ask top geologist working for an oil company will tell you that.
lexhamfox on January 2, 2016 at 9:03 PM

Perhaps, perhaps NOT. You tell me how the dinosaurs pooped, died and became complex carbons on the outer solar system planets, then.

I’ve heard the geologists arguments. I’ve asked them the above, and none have given an answer, let alone even a convincing shuck ‘n jive.

While there may be local bio factors that help produce other complex carbons on earth – including life forms – the bottom line is that NO one has a definitive answer; NO one, and the geologist who claims this is like the “scientist” who says CO2 plant food CAUSES global warming. There are plenty of those “TOP” morons, too.

RL on January 3, 2016 at 11:52 AM

We can learn to be cleaner and more careful, we don’t need to kneecap ourselves by not using it.
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Andy__B on January 2, 2016 at 2:50 PM

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Speaking of which, did you know that truck and rail spill oil at 40 times the rate of pipelines?
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Meremortal on January 2, 2016 at 8:59 PM

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Shhhhhhhh ! ! ! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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What’re ya tryin’ to do ? . . . . . Bankrupt Warren Buffet?

listens2glenn on January 3, 2016 at 2:47 PM

Could have saved some column space by writing “thanks to science, we know the earth naturally produces hydrocarbons, just like other celestial bodies in our solar system.” – meaning we’re not going to run out of oil regardless.

John_G on January 3, 2016 at 8:59 PM

Folks the science of Abiotic Oil was proven years ago. Like in the early 50’s. The only reason you are still taught it was dinosaurs and dying plants was due to your insistence to believe some kid that majored in education that teaches your children and refuses to read anything outside their antiquated lessons out of the books chosen by your government and fed to you and your kids. Sorry.

OldSarg on January 2, 2016 at 3:25 PM

The great American education indoctrination system.

Neitherleftorright on January 4, 2016 at 11:29 AM

But every time we have to tap into a new type of oil, like the shale oil for instance, the costs of extraction increases. In energy, manpower, in other raw resources.

Constitutionalist on January 2, 2016 at 2:41 PM

You are looking at it from a static perception. As the technology continues to be used, the cost to use it will drop. That is the way with all new technologies. But those who refuse to adopt it, or are late adopting it, they will never catch up with the early adopters in terms of economic efficiency.

For us using the newer extraction technologies, this is a great thing as we will be in a stronger economic competitive position. We will be able to make a larger profit while price gouging the Middle East producers. As this will restrict their profits, it also means less money going into terrorist hands. And thus becomes a strategic move as well.

dominigan on January 4, 2016 at 12:33 PM

Matt Savinar who was a Peak Oil Guru who commanded $$$ thousands for a 30 minute lecture on Peak Oil less than 7 years ago is now casting horoscopes professionally, Sad.

It is the exact same thing going on with global Warming. A few public “experts” like Al Gore and Jim Hansen are racking in the $$$ spewing what basically amounts to garbage science. They get away with it for two simple reasons, #1 People need a bogey man, and #2 a complicit media.

Johnnyreb on January 2, 2016 at 4:14 PM

Not sad at all. Lying dirtbags like Savinar should be hung from lamposts. And that includes frauds like Al Gore and Jim Hansen.

There are actually 3 reasons they get away with it:

3. Grubers.

earlgrey on January 4, 2016 at 12:48 PM

The great American education indoctrination system.

Neitherleftorright on January 4, 2016 at 11:29 AM

That is the absolute truth!

earlgrey on January 4, 2016 at 12:49 PM