Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 01:38:59 PM EST
Here I go promoting something I know little about. About the only thing I do know is that occasionally contrarian views have been proven correct, and Dr. Thomas Gold (founding director of Cornell University Center for Radiophysics and Space Research), an aficionado of the contrarian view, has been proven right before. I first heard of Dr. Thomas Gold and his "theories" about five years ago following the release of his book "The Deep Hot Bioshere." He was defending his idea, on a morning radio talk show, that oil was of abiotic origin and not, as dictated by conventional wisdom, a "fossil fuel". I admit to being immediately curious and headed off to the local bookstores only to find that the book was not in stock. I never found the book and soon lost interest. Not until reading the recent articles on "peak oil" did I recall Dr. Gold and then began a new search for more material on this fascinating subject. As luck would have it, the article featured below, by Joel Bainerman, "If hydrocarbons are renewable- then is 'Peak Oil' a fraud?" appeared in the 321 Energy Web Site yesterday (September 5) and was just what I had been looking for. However, this was not the only document available in fact, there is an almost overwhelming amount of written material on this subject.
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.
The Contrarian View
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 "fossil fuels."
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 didn't 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.
Dr. Gold also claims that there are abundant supplies of natural gas and oil in the earth and sites several cases wherein depleted oil fields have mysteriously refilled. See the following sites for reports on well known examples: Wall Street Journal, April 16, 1999; WorldNet Daily, May 25, 2004
Soviet and Russian science and exploration experience supports the abiotic theory.
The Russians have researched abiotic origin theories since the end of World War II and have based exploration policies on the theory. The article claims there are more than 80 oil and gas fields in the Caspian District alone that utilized the new theory during exploration and development.
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.
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.
So, is "peak oil" a fraud, and if so perpetrated by whom?
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.
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 commercial quantities?'
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.