by Joel Bainerman
Are hydrocarbons “renewable”- and if so- what does such a conclusion
mean for the future of the world’s oil and natural gas supplies?
The question is critical due to the enormous amount of coverage the
issue of “Peak Oil” is receiving from the mainstream press. If the
supply of hydrocarbons is renewable- then the contrary to the
conventional wisdom being touted throughout the mainstream press today-
the world is NOT running out of oil.
Unbeknownst to Westerners, there have actually been for quite some time
now two competing theories concerning the origins of petroleum. One
theory claims that oil is an organic ‘fossil fuel’
deposited in finite quantities near the planet’s surface. The other
theory claims that oil is continuously generated by natural processes
in the Earth’s magma.
One of the world’s leading advocates for the theory that
hydrocarbons are renewable is Dr. Thomas Gold who contends that oil is
not a limited resource, and that oil, natural gas and coal, are not
so-called Ã¯Â¿Â½fossil fuels.Ã¯Â¿Â½
In his book, The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels,
he explains that dinosaurs and plants and the fossils from those living
beings are not the origin of oil and natural gas, but rather generated
from a chemical substance in the crust of the Earth.
Dr. Gold: “Astronomers have been able to find that hydrocarbons, as
oil, gas and coal are called, occur on many other planetary bodies.
They are a common substance in the universe. You find it in the kind of
gas clouds that made systems like our solar system. You find large
quantities of hydrocarbons in them. Is it reasonable to think that our
little Earth, one of the planets, contains oil and gas for reasons that
are all its own and that these other bodies have it because it was
built into them when they were born? That question makes a lot of
sense. After all, they didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have dinosaurs and ferns on Jupiter to
produce oil and gas?”
He continues: “Human skull fossils have been found in anthracite
coal in Pennsylvania. The official theory of the development of coal
will not accept that reality, since human beings were not around when
anthracite coal was formed. Coal was formed millions of years ago.
However, you cannot mistake the fact that these are human fossils.”
“The coal we dig is hard, brittle stuff. It was once a liquid,
because we find embedded in the middle of a six-foot seam of coal such
things as a delicate wing of some animal or a leaf of a plant. They are
undestroyed, absolutely preserved; with every cell in that fossil
filled with exactly the same coal as all the coal on the outside. A
hard, brittle coal is not going to get into each cell of a delicate
leaf without destroying it. So obviously that stuff was a thin liquid
at one time which gradually hardened.”
Gold claims that the only thing we find now on the Earth that would
do that is petroleum, which gradually becomes stiffer and harder. That
is the only logical explanation for the origin of coal. So the fact
that coal contains fossils does not prove that it is a fossil fuel; it
proves exactly the opposite. Those fossils found in coal prove that
coal is not made from those fossils. Where then does the carbon base
come from that produces all of this?
Says Dr. Gold: “Petroleum and coal were made from materials in which
heavy hydrocarbons were common components. We know that because the
meteorites are the sort of debris left over from the formations of the
planets and those contain carbon in unoxidized form as hydrocarbons as
oil and coal-like particles. We find that in one large class of
meteorites and we find that equally on many of the other planetary
bodies in the solar system. So itÃ¯Â¿Â½s pretty clear that when the Earth
formed it contained a lot of carbon material built into it.”
Dr. Gold’s ideas would lead us to believe that there is so much
natural gas in the earth that it is causing earthquakes in trying to
escape from the Earth. If youÃ¯Â¿Â½ll drill deep enough anywhere, you will
find natural gas. It may not be in commercial quantities every time,
but more than likely it will be.
Is the oil and gas industry reconsidering things in light of his work?
“In many other countries they are listening to me: in Russia on a
very large scale, and in China also. It is just Western Europe and the
United States that are so stuck in the mud that they canÃ¯Â¿Â½t look at
What do the Russians know that the West don’t?
The roots of Dr. Gold’s theories are in Russia where scientists since
the end World War II have been researching what is referred to as the
“Modern Russian-Ukrainian Theory of Deep, Abiotic Petroleum Origins.”
Although the theory was first expounded upon by Professor Nikolai
Kudryavtsev in 1951 it is not the work of any one single man but has
been developed by hundreds of scientists in the (now former) U.S.S.R..
The theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins is not a vague,
qualitative hypothesis, but stands as a rigorous analytic theory within
the mainstream of the modern physical sciences. In this respect, the
modern theory differs fundamentally not only from the previous
hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum but also from all
traditional geological hypotheses.
Actually, since the nineteenth century, knowledgeable physicists,
chemists, thermodynamicists, and
chemical engineers have regarded with grave reservations (if not
outright disdain) the suggestion that highly reduced hydrocarbon
molecules of high free enthalpy (the constituents of crude oil) might
somehow evolve spontaneously from highly oxidized biogenic molecules of
low free enthalpy. Beginning in 1964, Soviet scientists carried out
extensive theoretical statistical thermodynamic analysis which
established explicitly that the hypothesis of evolution of hydrocarbon
molecules (except methane) from biogenic ones in the temperature and
pressure regime of the Earth’s near-surface crust was glaringly in
violation of the second law of thermodynamics.
The theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins is presently applied
extensively throughout the former U.S.S.R. as the guiding perspective
for petroleum exploration and development projects. 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 modern
theory and which produce from the crystalline basement rock.
Similarly, such 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. The
exploration and discoveries of the 11 major and 1 giant fields on the
northern flank of the Dneiper-Donets basin have already been noted.
There are presently deep drilling exploration projects under way in
Azerbaijan, Tatarstan, and Asian Siberia directed to testing potential
oil and gas reservoirs in the crystalline basement.
Is “Peak Oil” a fraud?
So why is the western media being inundated with notions of the world running out of oil?
One could point a finger at the multinational oil companies and
their vested interest in having the price of a barrel of oil rise
substantially- to justify further exploration expenses- and of course-
to bolster their bottom line.
Says Dr. J.F. Kenney, a long-time research on the origins of hydrocarbons:
“For almost a century, various predictions have been made that the
human race was imminently going to run out of available petroleum. The
passing of time has proven all those predictions to have been utterly
wrong. It is pointed out here how all such predictions have depended
fundamentally upon an archaic hypothesis from the 18th century that
petroleum somehow (miraculously) evolved from biological detritus, and
was accordingly limited in abundance.”
That hypothesis has been replaced during the past forty years by the
modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins
which has established that petroleum is a primordial material erupted
from great depth. Therefore, according to Kenney, petroleum abundances
are limited by little more than the quantities of its constituents as
were incorporated into the Earth at the time of its formation.
As far back as 1757, in his address at the Imperial Academy of
Sciences in St. Petersburg, Academician Mikhailo V. Lomonosov, stated:
“Rock oil originates as tiny bodies of animals buried in the sediments
which, under the influence of increased temperature and pressure acting
during an unimaginably long period of time, transform into rock oil
[petroleum , or crude oil]”
More than 200 years later, Professor Emmanuil Chekaliuk told the conference on Petroleum and Petroleum Geology in Moscow that:
“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.”
Contrarily, the statistics of the international petroleum industry
establish that, far from diminishing, the net known recoverable
reserves of petroleum have been growing steadily for the past fifty
years. Those statistics show that, for every year since about 1946, the
international petroleum industry has discovered at least five new tons
of recoverable oil for every three which have been consumed.
As Professor P. Odell of the London School of Economics has put it,
instead of “running out of oil,” the human race by every measure seems
to be “running into oil”.
Says Dr. Kenney: “There stands no reason to worry about, and even
less to plan for, any predicted demise of the petroleum industry based
upon a vanishing of petroleum reserves. On the contrary, these
considerations compel additional investment and development in the
technology and skills of deep drilling, of deep seismic measurement and
interpretation, of the reservoir properties of crystalline rock, and of
the associated completion and production practices which should be
applied in such non-traditional reservoirs”
If Kenney is correct, not only are any predictions that the world is
“running out of oil” invalid, so also are suggestions that the
petroleum exploration and production industry is a “mature” or
The impact on the planet of the conclusions of this debate
Much research remains to be done on “alternative” theories of the
how much hydrocarbons are left in the world- unfortunately- those
entities most able to do this research- the western multinational oil
conglomerates- have the least interest in arriving at any conclusion
other than those that are part of the “Peak Oil” stream of thought.
Today the mainstream press has accepted as a given that the world has
only a finite amount of oil and natural gas- and thus any decision
taken on how to deal with the world’s future needs are based on these
conclusions. If they are erroneous- then the world is about to embark
on a plan to provide for its energy needs for the coming century based
on a false notion.
Research geochemist Michael Lewan of the U.S.Geological Survey in
Denver, is one of the most knowledgeable advocates of the opposing
theory, that petroleum is a “fossil fuel”. Yet even Lewan admits:
“I don’t think anybody has ever doubted that there is an inorganic
source of hydrocarbons. The key question is, ‘Do they exist in
We might never know the answer to that question because both sides
of this debate are not being heard by the general public. If the
Russians have accepted the theory that hydrocarbons are renewable- and
over time they will become the leading exporters of oil and gas
worldwide- this fact alone requires these alternative theories of how
fossil fuels are created- is required.
It behooves western governments to begin taking these alternative
theories seriously- and design future energy policies based on
possibility that they are correct. Whatever strategies for meeting the
world’s ferocious appetite for energy are devised today- will impact
the planet for decades to come.
In this issue- we simply can’t afford to be wrong.
Joel Bainerman has been a writer on economic and
Middle East issues since 1983. His published archive can be viewed on
his website at www.joelbainerman.com
His new online, multi-lingual alternative newsmagazine for Europeans can be viewed at www.theotherside.org.uk