Friday, February 01, 2008

More tighty righty nonsense

The tighty rightys are in deep denial of both science and sanity when it comes to peak oil. Despite data that shows that the world's giant oilfields are starting to sputter and run dry, they've invented a new theory to avoid having to confront reality -- the "abiotic theory" of where oil comes from. They say, "oil is naturally and continually forming, it isn't a limited resource." To which an oil man snorts, "so why did my well run dry?".

First, let's differentiate oil from methane gas. Methane ("natural gas") is naturally created in the Earth's deep crust, as can be proven when volcanoes belch vast amounts of it into the atmosphere during periodic eruptions. But to go from there to saying that oil is similarly created ignores the fact that the hydrogen-carbon bonds of oil are far more complex and would not survive the pressures found deep within the Earth where methane forms -- and furthermore, that the carbon in oil has C-13 in the exact same ratio as in plant tissues, whereas the carbon in the Earth's crust has a much larger concentration of C-13, as we can tell by analyzing the methane gas that volcanoes belch.

So whenever you hear about this "abiotic theory" of oil, figure that it comes from the same deranged mindset that insists that lowering taxes results in collecting more tax money (it doesn't, the data they use to "prove" it does includes a giant tax hike hidden in it that accounts for the bump in tax collection), "young earth" creationism, and other things of that ilk. We're talking about folks who are ignorant of math, ignorant of science, possessed only of superstition and greed who want desperately to believe that they are living the one and only life that is possible and live in their own fantasy land where their behaviors don't have consequences. While it is theoretically possible for methane produced deeper in the Earth's crust to seep upwards and be subjected to processes that result in oil in much the same way that you can create oil from coal gassification, from a scientific point of view analysis of the actual oil shows it doesn't happen -- it simply has the wrong carbon components in it. And if there really is any abiotic oil in the world it apparently forms at a rate much slower than needed to replenish oil reservoirs. To channel that Texas oilman again -- "dude, if oil naturally continually forms, why did my oil well run dry?".

-- Badtux the Oily Penguin


  1. I sometimes wonder if after they remove the guts of the earth if it won't collapse, implode.

  2. The political monkeys are in deep denial about a lot of things. And they can't control the capitalist monkeys.

    You in deep shit shorty.

  3. BBC, most of Terrebonne Parish in South Louisiana collapsed into the sea after all the oil and gas was pumped out from under it. During the 10 years it took to pump all the oil and gas out from under it, you can watch it sink on the satellite photos... mostly land in 1970, mostly water in 1980. Towns which had existed for close to 200 years ended up underwater... SPLASH!

  4. I recently had an exasperating conversation with my brother in law, who believes in abiotic oil. He informed me that oil is actually "the substance that lubricates the earth's tectonic plates." No, dude. That's molten magma.

  5. C-13

    Ah, I suppose you mean Carbon-13. Why didn't you just say so?

    Right about now I would like to have a lot of C-3.

  6. hey badtux, way off topic, but enigman4ever is waiting for you for a slow dance over at skippy...

  7. Badtux! No biscuit! (always wanted to say that.)

    These are all the same guys who spout out about the BUSH / CLINTON CRIME SYNDICATE. They tend to be intelligent people who use that intelligence for evil, ie: rationalizing otherwise batshit theories into 'logical' existence right alongside evolution, gravity and the theory of atlantis.

    You mean you haven't heard that they FOUND Atlantis? Its been located on one of the moons of Jupiter, and they erected a big sign that says 'Duck!'. Here's a link.

  8. The abiotic-oil idea has been around for a long time, and some people with serious academic chops have researched and advocated it; for example, Thomas Gold (admittedly, not a geologist). It may not be completely wrong.

    Of course, nothing in Gold's theories says that we cannot run out of oil by pumping it faster than it is formed, however it is formed. Probably many of those who advance this idea now do so in bad faith, to avoid acknowledging the consequences of America's massive oil consumption.

    Consequences have a way of happening whether we acknowledge them or not.
    "A crisis is just the end of an illusion." -- Gerald Weinberg

  9. *ALL* of the current "literature" on abiotic oil stems from Thomas Gold's work. There is no (zero) literature published in refereed scientific journals supporting the notion that any of the current oil reservoirs formed abiotically. Rather, all the attempts to determine the source of current oil reservoirs concludes that, based upon the carbon isotopes present, the geographical strata in which they're located, etc., the chances of them being formed by anything other than decaying organic matter under pressure is about the same as the chances of George W. Bush being considered by history as the nation's best president ever. I.e., none.

    Now, it is possible to take methane gas and turn it into oil, using various catalytic processes and a lot of energy. There is no denying this. This is the technology that the Nazis and South Africans used to derive oil from coal (the Fischer-Tropsch process), they first gassified the coal (basically extracted methane gas from it) then ran the methane gas through a catalytic conversion process to turn it into oil. But if any such oil does exist in nature (which is doubtful, it requires a catalyst in the lab), the processes obviously aren't happening quickly enough to replenish the existing oil reservoirs, so it's a notion of theoretical value only. Otherwise that Texas oilman's oil well wouldn't run dry...

    - Badtux the Oily Penguin


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