Peak oil or is oil abiotic?



I've read that some of your members believe PO is false and I've quickly read joe's essay on it.
Please redo your research on the subject - don't focus on Ruppert to make the case of PO. Try Richard Heinberg, Colin Campbell, Chris Skrebowski in particular his bottom up Megaprojects survey, Robert Hirsch, Roscoe Bartlett,,, Yves Cochet, Kunstler, GlobalPublicMedia, David Holmgren...

What is your "special source" saying about it ? What is Ark thinking about it ?
Peak Oil is one of those things that is similiar to the bird flu. IE It gets hyped and hyped but it will only happen when the PTB want it to. They control the oil, so its not like one day we'll run out, its more like, one day they'll cut it off and claim we've run out all the while they still have enough to run their tanks/airplanes/jeeps/gov't vehicles - what have you. I mean, if you cut off gasoline how is the populace going to get around?

Horseback is only viable for a few of us :-)
With the development of alternative energy sources we would not even have to worry about this. Of course, you propose alternative energy sources at your own risk as this would step on a few elitist toes.
I wondered where to post this, thought this might be an appropriate place. Last night on TV here in the UK were a series of informal lectures, albeit with lots of impressions and comedy thrown in, explaining the last 30 years of history and some of its major conflicts in terms of oil resources and their imminent depletion. At first I was surprised to see such 'conspiracy theory' on mainstream television (it was shown on Channel 4's digital service, 'More4'), presented with quality evidence which would have even the most naive 'patriot' questioning their current perceptions. At least I hope.

However, the crux of the argument being put forth was that of the 'peak oil' scenario, and much emphasis was put (in a very 'humorous' way) on the fact that industrial society is doomed, it is only a matter of time, because of its dependence on oil. The reality of all we have discussed, the pathocracy and its manipulations of all scenarios to affect us in the future, was of course completely neglected. Every time I see a little truth leaking out on a TV programme on any topic of conspiracy or the 'paranormal', it turns out to be disinformation of a very clever order. The matrix truly caters to all tastes and levels of intelligence, who will make it through all these traps?
The counter theory regarding oil:
Abiogenic petroleum origin
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The hypothesis of abiogenic petroleum origin holds that petroleum is formed by non-biological processes deep in the earth's crust and mantle.

It contradicts the more widely-held view that petroleum is a fossil fuel produced from the remains of ancient living organisms.

This hypothesis dates to the 19th century, when the French chemist Marcellin Berthelot and the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev proposed it, and was revived in the 1950s.

The modern scientific consensus on abiogenic petroleum is that there is evidence for it being possible to produce petrochemicals according to the mechanisms proposed in the hypothesis. Some direct evidence from certain locations can only be explained as abiogenic production of petroleum compounds. However, most modern geologists do not support the hypothesis that abiogenic sources of oil can account for the vast majority of petroleum deposits within the Earth.

A variation of the abiogenic theory includes alteration by microbes similar to those which form the basis of the ecology around deep hydrothermal vents. The deep biogenic petroleum theory proposes, mostly after the work of Thomas Gold, that the ''deep hot biosphere'' may be the source of some petroleum products and biomarkers.

One prediction of most abiogenic theories is that other planets of the solar system or their moons have large petroleum oceans, either from hydrocarbons present at the formation of the solar system, or from subsequent chemical reactions.
For links, references and much more supporting info:
I read this today and it really seems to be intresting information. What say you folks?

Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 15:02:07 -0000
From: "ecetiwebmaster" <>
Subject: Think about this at the gas pump.

Keep in mind there are fueless energy technologies and no shortage
of oil, just a shortage of integrity and an abundance of greed.

Karl W B Schwarz <> wrote:

Greetings to all Email Update Members,

This email will come as a shock to those aficionados of Peak Oil.
There is no shortage of oil, just a shortage of truth coming from
the people who are so greedy they cannot get out of the stuck-on-
stupid mode.

Back in December I sent out an email update that reduced 9-11 down
to three simple issues. Quoting from that email:

"For those interested in the underlying reasons we have invaded
Iraq, the document available at that link and the two books
Neoconned and Neoconned Again will give you the information needed
to understand the bigger picture. My book One-Way Ticket to
Crawford, Texas provides even more background and proof that the
true terrorists and the true enemies of Americans are the Republican
National Ccommittee and Democratic National Committee and their
wealthy elite masters.

It is really quite simple:
I listened to a lecture given by an ex-oil field worker recently.

He was convinced of the "Abioitic" as he called it, theory of oil production and said that numerous cases of capped oil wells have been re-opened to reveal a completely filled well.

This suggests that something other than a multi millenial fossil fuel process.
Sansom said:
This suggests that something other than a multi millenial fossil fuel process.
I've read possible explanations for this based on the idea that oil seeps through porous rock as a result of the pressure difference caused by oil extraction.

I haven't looked extensively into this debate, which is pretty tangled up with political and conspiratorial ideas from what I can see. I remember on this week's podcast that the Signs team mentioned that they consider abiotic oil a probability, if I remember correctly. Ideally I would search the primary evidence and I've read a couple of papers but I'm not in a position to understand things like isotope analysis very well. Every secondary source I've looked at has a different stance on the subject in relation to 9/11 and Peak Oil. There are some relatively impartial summaries of the debate which indicate that solid evidence for abiogenic theory exists.
I've not seen any evidence that supports the abiotic oil belief. A few Russian scientists are alleged to support it. But I very much doubt if any Russian oil company, one of the world's top oil-producing nations, subscribes to it. If one accepts that the issues of climate change and peak oil are real and imminent, then abiotic oil beliefs sound likes a clear vote for the business-as-usual, keep-burning-carbon club to me.

There will always be oil in the ground. The argument is whether it is feasible to a)discover b)extract/refine and c)sell. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in peak oil does some research into proven reserves and how that data is obtained. BP for example, use OPEC data, that is in turn supplied by the key oil producing nations such as Saudi and Kuwait. State-owned middle east companies such as Saudi Aramco supply the majority of the world's oil. Companies like BP supply around 4%. See BPs ad in today's Guardian to see how they are, belatedly responding. Fields such as Ghawar were discovered in the 1930s/40s. They have extracted, in my opinion, around 60% of the available reserve. As the reservoir depletes, the pressure drops, making it harder to get the oil out. Then methods such as pumping water in or using CO2 are used (enhanced extraction methods). A side-effect of these methods is that they can damage the reservoir. Increasing the rate of extraction also damages the reservoir.

Bottom line - they are pumping as fast as they can. Demand, as fuelled by the absurd and unfeasible "infinite economic growth" dogma, is growing rapidly. There is no slack in the system to absorb much more demand. When China and India fully industrialise, there will be serious problems ahoy. Oil will continue to be discovered but a survey of the evidence suggests that exploration and discovery of massive oil reservoirs peaked nearly 40 years ago. The UK is once again a net importer of oil and will soon be a net importer of gas; the North Sea fields are starting to deplete. The US peaked in the early 1970s and has been a net importer ever since. Oil discovery will not match pace with demand.

There will be sudden revisions of reservoir sizes - one can antipate fields suddenly expanding! Could their geologists be that inept? Note how PeMex, the state-owned Mexican oil company recently found a large field. One has to wonder if this was merely a scam to mask the depletion of the nearby Canterell field. Oil accounts for 30% of Mexican income btw. If the oil companies knew there were vast untapped reserves, be they derived from a fossil or abiotic source, you would be seeing investment in new tankers and refineries and lots of big-time PR for the benefit of investors. It simply isn't there.

In a sense, the abiotic story is a false trail. It is still carbon-based fuel, it still contributes to planetary pollution, it still fuels massive gulfs between the haves and haves-nots. Whatever its source, we still need to cease our addiction to oil and switch to renewables.
While I am not sure of the abiotic theory or the fossil fuel theory, I do know from a relative that works for shell oil has told us they have lots of oil....there is no shortage. Not as far as Shell Oil is concerned. I imagine it is the same for the other oil companies.

Ask you relative to clarify the "plenty of oil" point - specifically, if he/she is referring to "proven and recoverable reserves". If they say "yes", ask them if they know where that data is sourced from.

Companies like Shell only account for a fraction of the daily production quotas. The majority comes from state-owned outfits like Saudi Aramco.

Here's some wishful thinking.

At a glance, it looks credible, stating that "proven reserves" are not the be all/end all of oil exploration. That is true in the sense that the proven and recoverable reserves are the indentified and financially viable reservoirs. No early peakers are saying that peak oil equals the complete and total depletion of every last drop. Yes, there will always be some oil in the ground but it goes without saying that no oil company is going to bother pumping oil that costs more to extract than it does to sell. Oil is after all, a for-profit business.

No one is also saying that all oil production is centred on the Middle East states. You would need to live in cave not to be aware of the North Sea, Russian, Texan, Gulf of Mexico, African and South American operations. It is global.

The site i've linked above is itself fallacious. "Unconventional" reserves is a euphemism for disgustingly filthy and polluting tar sands and shales, such as are found in Canada. You will know things are getting desperate when this filth is being processed. The pollution generated will be immense plus processing shale uses vast amounts of water. Overall very expensive for little benefit.

Another indicator has been the widely-reported attempts by the GWB admin to get the American oilmen into the Alaskan Wildlife Reserve. Again, another desperate measure to shore up access to dwindling supplies: this reservoir would keep the US in oil for one year, based on current levels of demand.

Contrary to the assertions made in the link, the Middle East does have the majority of the world's supplies. Its all well and good saying there are tar sands to be had and we could use them. Yes we could burn carbon until we choke but its a bad idea. The Middle East fields are depleting. We can all speculate about oil that may be here, there and everywhere but that only prolongs our conflating dilemma's: climate change and oil depletion.

As my enviro colleague says:

"Abiotic oil is pure fantasy. Classic wish fulfillment conspiracy theory. A bit like religion,
it survives only because the evidence to kill it off is hard to come by - lost in the secret
reports of Soviet Russian oil companies. People want there to be unlimited oil supplies - therefore
they look for ambiguous results in obscure places, and overlook rational explanations that
would deflate their ideas. They are never disproved because nobody spends the money to
do the research necessary to disprove them - it would simply be money down the drain."

The Coming Panic over the End of Oil - Coming to a Ballot Box Near You
By scoop, Section News
Posted on Thu Dec 4th, 2003 at 12:17:58 PM EST
By Walt Contreras Sheasby

Psst! Hey, there. You believe that we are facing a crisis, an Imminent Peak of World Oil Production, right? Well, the insiders in the President's Energy Strategy Team would like you to join with them in solving this new sudden crisis.

In fact, you may already have been inducted. You panic at the idea of Western civilization collapsing as the engines and machines grind to a halt, uh-huh? You agree with Ron Swenson of Ecosystems that "The world is about to experience a real energy crisis, likely to be a calamity unparalleled in human history" (Swenson, 1996).

You think, as oil geologist Colin J. Campbell says, that "the very future of our subspecies 'Hydrocarbon Man' is at stake," right? You agree with Virginia Abernathy that there are too many immigrants using up our resources, I'm sure.

You probably realize, as many do not, that the Era of Cheap Oil and Gas is over. As Matthew E. Simmons, the CEO of the energy investment bankers of Simmons and Co. International, recently said: "I think basically that now, that peaking of oil will never be accurately predicted until after the fact. But the event will occur, and my analysis is leaning me more by the month, the worry that peaking is at hand; not years away. If it turns out I'm wrong, then I'm wrong. But if I'm right, the unforeseen consequences are devastating "

Well, guess what? Simmons is not only an oilionaire himself, but he has been a key advisor to the Bush Administration and to Vice President Cheney's 2001 Energy Task Force, as well as sitting on the Council on Foreign Relations. Simmons is a board member of Kerr-McGee Corp., a major oil and gas producer. He insists that the US government is very worried about oil depletion. However, Cheney's secretive National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG) refused to make its records of closed-door meetings with industry executives public. The Industry has taken a beating in public opinion since the Kyoto summit put the spotlight on global warming. And now Simmons apparently wants to make the public's fear of The End of Cheap Oil the drum beat of the 2004 Re-elect Bush and Cheney Campaign, although a more enlightened energy policy, he worries, "is going to take a while."

On July 3, 2003, the same day that the World Meteorological Organization warned that global warming was creating an unprecedented pattern of extreme weather, Congress was considering a bill that would create a controversial new national energy policy (Independent, 2003). The bill allows new oil exploration all along the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) using invasive technologies that will damage sea life and ocean habitat in environmentally sensitive areas. In addition, the bill would open our public lands to further destructive drilling and mining operations. Two years ago President Bush demanded that Congress pass an energy policy centered around more drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but that red flag has been dropped from the new energy bill, S. 14, the Energy Policy Act of 2003

Given the immediate concern with natural gas supplies, little strategic planning is likely to come out of Congress this July, so attention is focused on reviving the ideas of 2001 in 2004 to have a mandate for change in the second term. Simmons said last year that "The [2001] plan devoted almost as many pages to the need to increase alternative energy sources like wind and fuel cells as it did for the need to protect the supply of oil and gas. It called for a giant amount of new power plants.... The plan called for America to begin addressing the need for a return to more nuclear energy and clean coal. ...none of these new energy sources [wind and fuel cells, etc.] can grow fast enough to be a real alternative to oil OR natural gas even by 2020" (Simmons, 2002).

These days Simmons is getting a lot of help from folks all over the political spectrum, from some of the global moguls themselves, like Schlumberger and Halliburton, to the environmentalist-lite Republicans of REP America (Green Elephant, 2001), to some of the anarcho-primitivists and Luddites who admire Ted Kaczynski (Xsilent, 2003), and from plenty of middle-of-the-road enviros in between.

On May 27th, 2003 Simmons addressed the second international conference of ASPO, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil [and Gas] which was meeting at the French Petroleum Institute (IFP) via a satellite teleconference video link from his Houston offices. His remarks were transcribed by Michael Ruppert, the ex-cop who challenged the CIA for its role in the drug trade. Since 9-11-01, according to his webpage (, Ruppert has pioneered the effort to educate the world about the consequences of Peak Oil, the fact that the world is running out of energy, and what this might mean for human civilization (Ruppert, 2003).

Simmons gained a powerful ally this spring when the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported for the first time that the peak of world oil production is in sight.

Spencer Abraham, the US Energy Secretary, called an emergency meeting of the National Petroleum Council's Natural Gas Summit on June 26, 2003, amid calls for the administration to deal urgently with the acute shortage of natural gas this year: "It is a national concern that will touch virtually every American," Abraham told the Summit of experts and industry execs. "It is our hope that the energy bill will contain provisions that help spur domestic production of natural gas and enhance our importation facilities to boost supplies, while reducing our nation's growing over-reliance on this one source of energy." Daniel Yergin, author of the 1991 book about the oil industry, The Prize, and founder of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, counseled that the fault was not with markets: "Rather it is the result of disappointing geological experience over the last few years plus restrictions on exploration, combined with a shift to new uses of gas that will certainly grow consumption" (Picerno, 2003). Spurring domestic production of gas will also subsidize oil drilling, and diversifying sources will entail more use of coal, so this energy bill does not quite entail the immediate end of Hydrocarbon Man.

Without a doubt, despite the talk of alternative fuels, the use of government to stimulate the exploration and discovery of new oil and gas fields is at the top of the agenda. Simmons believes that the reason oil reserves have fallen so far behind oil and gas consumption is that "we drill far less wells. We also stopped doing most genuine exploration." Higher oil prices are essential, since "The higher the cost, the more you can extend, recovering more and more of the harder and harder to get resources." Simmons funds the remaining wildcatters, handling an investment portfolio of approximately $56 billion, so he should know (Simmons, 2003a).

In fact the coalition that is pushing for a radical new energy policy is largely composed of those who stand to benefit from a revival, not a phase out, of oil and gas development. The intellectual and activist core of the coalition is made up of those veteran oil geologists and engineers who use the method of modeling the ratio of reserves to production developed by the maverick research geophysicist Marion King Hubbert, who died in 1989. He believed that the peak of production is reached when half of the estimated ultimately recoverable resource, determined by what has been discovered and logged cumulatively as actual reserves, has been pumped. In 1956 at the Shell Oil Lab in Houston, Hubbert startled his colleagues by predicting that the fossil fuel era would be over very quickly. He correctly predicted that US oil production would peak in the early 1970's.

In the 1970s Hubbert embraced solar power, saying "I'm convinced we have the technology to handle it right now. We could make the transition in a matter of decades if we begin now" (Hickerson, 1995). Although his thinking was definitely in the ecotopian tradition, he has often been mistaken for a cynical dystopian by those who swear by Hubbert as the prophet of the Great Malthusian Die Off (Hanson, 2003).

The dean of the older Hubbertians is Kenneth Deffeyes, Professor Emeritus at Princeton and author of Hubbert's Peak: the Impending World Oil Shortage (2001). Deffeyes, who worked with Hubbert in Houston for Shell Oil, says _I never came to identify with management." Convinced of Hubbert's theory, "I realized that a contracting oil industry was not a good career prospect," he says, "so I decided to get out and go into academia" (Guterl, 2002). Besides, he thinks that "crude oil is much too valuable to be burned as a fuel." (Dunn, 2002).

Support for a remedial program of oil exploration and development versus switching to research and development of alternative energy sources tends to be found among oil experts who are consultants to the industry. While accepting some of the values of the New Age, they largely remain loyal to their calling as oil geologists and wildcatters. The leading trio of Jean H. Laherrere, Colin J. Campbell, and L.F. (Buz) Ivanhoe have worked for, or with, the leading firm modeling oil fields, Petroconsultants of Geneva. Since the 1950s, they have been fed data on oil exploration and production by just about all the major oil companies, as well as by a network of about 2000 oil industry consultants around the world. They use this data to produce reports on various matters pertinent to the oil industry, which they sell back to the industry. "This much is known, Kenneth Deffeyes writes, "the loudest warnings about the predicted peak of world oil production came from Petroconsultants" (Deffeyes, 2001: p. 7).

In a late 1998 merger Petroconsultants became IHS Energy Group, a subsidiary of Information Handling Services Group (IHS Group), a diversified conglomerate owned by Holland America Investment Corp., IHS Group's immediate parent company, for the Thyssen-Bornemisza Group (TBG, Inc.). In the 1920s George Herbert Walker and his son-in- law, Prescott Bush, had helped the Thyssen dynasty finance its acquisitions through Union Banking Corp. and Holland-American Trading Corp. (Wikipedia, 2003). Until his death last year, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the nephew of the Nazi steel and coal magnate, was one of the world's richest men. Some of the old Hubbertians would probably flinch at such an association.

In 1995 a report by Campbell and Laherre on world oil resources, World Oil Supply 1930-2050 (Petroconsultants Pty. Ltd., 1995), written for oil industry insiders and priced at $32,000 per copy, concluded that world oil production and supply probably would peak as soon as the year 2000 and decline to half the peak level by 2025. Large and permanent increases in oil prices were predicted after the year 2000.

Alternatives to fossil fuels got a mixed review from the petroleum consultants gathered at the ASPO Meeting in Paris May 26-27, 2003, who maintained that hydrogen, solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources will not be able to fill the looming demand-supply gap that faces the planet (Baker, 2003).

Colin J. Campbell, the leader of the Neo-Hubbertians, is a petroleum geologist from Ballydehob, Ireland, and author of The Coming Oil Crisis (1997). He worked for Texaco as an exploration geologist and then at Amoco as chief geologist for Ecuador. He is a Trustee of the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) and the founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO), originally a network of 24 oil scientists. ASPO has Associate members like Halliburton and financial sponsors like Schlumberger, but Campbell is critical of the Bush-Cheney Administration for "collectively having personal investments of as much as $150 M in oil companies" (ASPO, 2002).

Campbell has laid out his prescription for various consumer governments, for example: "Germany should resist Green pressure to give up nuclear power at precisely the moment it needs more energy, as oil peaks and declines.

Germany has coal and possibilities for coalbed methane. This industry needs to be rediscovered. It may become economic again. Germany should encourage its motor manufacturers to move to more efficient engines and hydrogen fuels, especially those made by solar means. It should provide whatever fiscal incentives are needed." (Campbell, 2000).

Jean H. Laherrere is a petroleum consultant residing in Paris, France. Laherrere's early work on seismic refraction surveys contributed to the discovery of Africa's largest oil field. He retired in 1992 after 37 years with Total CFI and its subsidiaries in exploration activities in the Sahara, Australia, Canada and Paris. Since retiring from TOTAL, Laherrere has consulted worldwide on oil and gas potential and production as a Petroconsultants Associate, and he serves on boards of the Society of Petroleum Engineers/World Petroleum Congress.

Like Campbell, Laherrere sees a key role for nuclear energy in the coming transition, but he also envisions a new role for the petrol pump: "If new nuclear plants with high temperature reactors are widely used in the long-term future to supply electricity, they can also provide hydrogen in their off-peak time, which could be carbonised to supply synthetic oil. It could easily replace declining oil supply for transport without any change in the distribution" (Laherrere, 2003). The Big Five could thus survive the end of oil.

L. F. (Buz) Ivanhoe discovered oil for Occidental for 12 of his 50 years in oil exploration, and he continues to consult as president of Novum Corp., Ojai, California. He founded the M. King Hubbert Center for Petroleum Supply Studies at the Colorado School of Mines to study supply data. Ivanhoe is pessimistic about alternative energy sources: "Natural gas/methanol ... should not be counted on to quickly replace all or most of crude oil. Building gas pipelines takes decades. The other alternative fuels (solar, wind, geothermal, wood, waste) combined produce less than 1% of US electricity!" (Ivanhoe, 1997).

Walter Lewellyn Youngquist is a retired field geologist, and now a geological consultant who teaches at the University of Oregon in Eugene, and author of GeoDestinies: The Inevitable Control of Earth Resources over Nations and Individuals (1997). He concludes that "...coal and uranium are the only two alternative sources of energy which can be developed in large amounts, and provide a dependable base load in the reasonably near future" (Youngquist, 2000).

Matt Simmons has to sell whatever Bush-Cheney Energy Policy is projected in 2004, but he personally believes "There really aren't any good energy solutions for bridges, to buy some time, from oil and gas to the alternatives." Neither the ASPO geologists nor the USGS geologists will ever admit to the indeterminacy principle that Matthew Simmons shyly confessed: "It turns out that total energy resources, uh, is still a mystery" (Simmons, 2003b).

Over 200 organizations around the world launched a campaign against new oil exploration in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. As documented in the Rainforest Action Network and Project Underground report Drilling to the Ends of the Earth, ongoing exploration threatens old growth frontier forests in 22 countries, coral reefs in 38 countries, and mangroves in 46 countries. A Greenpeace technical analysis, based on the conclusions of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has found that only a quarter of global economic reserves of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas - can be burned before dangerous rates of temperature increase and climate change occurs, to which many species of plants and animals will not be able to adapt (Greenpeace, 1998).

If the question becomes which cataclysm is the gravest threat, global warming or oil and gas shortages, the greens will go in one direction while most voters choose the path most traveled. In Milton's words, "Why is the greatest of free communities reduced to Hobson's choice?"

There is no reason for radical ecologists to join debates over the esoteric timetables for the decline of world oil production, which should be bracketed as irrelevant to the socio-political imperative of democratizing the economy and creating a new energy infrastructure that is based on post-capitalist norms of sustainability, sharing and community democracy. We must find ways of making the urgency of that transformation a motivation in people's lives and in their self-conscious anti-ideological politics. The dangers posed by global capitalism to human life and nature itself are all too real. We need to reject the posing of imminent danger as panic, as Chicken Little's alarm over the Falling Sky.


Association for the Study Of Peak Oil, Newsletter No 24 _ Dec. 2002.

Baker, Roger (2003), Democracy and Social Scale.

Campbell, Colin J. (1997), The Coming Oil Crisis, Petroconsultants, in association with Multi-Science Publishing Co. Ltd.

Campbell, Colin J. (2000), Peak Oil: Presentation at the Technical University of Clausthal, December 2000.

Deffeyes, Kenneth (2001), Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil

Shortage, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Dunn, Seth (2002), Energy in an insecure world, World Watch, Mar/Apr 2002; Vol. 15, Iss. 2; pg. 33, 2 pgs.

Green Elephant of America (2001), America, it's time for a New Manhattan Project!, Fall 2001

Greenpeace (1998) Greenpeace Challenges New Oil Exploration to Prevent Dangerous Climate Change: Three Quarters of Fossil Fuel Reserves Must Stay in the Ground: Study 19 May 1998.

Guterl, Fred (2002), When wells go dry, Newsweek, Apr 15, 2002; Vol. 139, Iss. 15; pg. 32B, 3 pgs.

Hanson, Jay (2003), Die Off: A Population Crash Resource Page.

Hickerson, Robert L. (1995), Hubbert's Prescription for Survival, A Steady State Economy, March 1, 1995.

Independent (2003), Reaping the whirlwind: Extreme weather prompts unprecedented global warming alert, Independent, 03 July 2003.

Ivanhoe, L. F. (1997), Get Ready for Another Oil Shock! The Futurist, January/February, 1997.

By the way, has anybody heard a peep about "West Nile Virus" lately???

Dave McGowan's NEWSLETTER #66
September 2, 2004
When 'Peak Oil' Met The 'West Nile Virus'

I don't know how much press attention the story has gotten outside of the region, so to bring the potentially uninformed up to date, there has been a series of deaths in recent months in Southern California that have been attributed to the dreaded 'West Nile Virus.' According to the official party line, the virus is being spread by infected mosquitos, which are picking up the disease from infected birds.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that is very unlikely that 'West Nile Virus' actually exists as a specific, identifiable viral agent. And if it does exist, there is no evidence that it is pathogenic. As one illuminating post concludes, after reviewing the medical literature, "It is quite clear that West Nile Virus has never been purified, and that without purification not only is it impossible to say whether it is the cause of the disease that it is associated with, but it is impossible to say whether it even exists."

Even if the virus does exist, and even if it is pathogenic, it seems very unlikely that it has been the cause of death in the Southern California cases. The ten purported victims were, overall, an elderly bunch, and most had preexisting health conditions. The oldest was 91; the average age of the ten was 75. No offense to the surviving family members of the deceased, but these weren't people who needed some exotic virus to finish them off; they were people with one foot in the grave and the other on the proverbial banana peel.

Not surprisingly, this alleged deadly outbreak has been seized upon as a pretext to further advance the police state, and to further blur the line between healthcare and law enforcement. Wholesale spraying of who-knows-what has become all the rage in some parts of town, and there has been talk of greatly expanding the police powers of county health officials, including granting them the power to enter upon any property, at any time, in search of any potential mosquito breeding grounds (as if it is possible to eliminate every drop of standing water in all of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernadino Counties). Next on the agenda will probably be another round of discussions about the need for mandatory vaccinations.

This is all pretty disturbing stuff, to be sure, but in this post-911 dystopia we live in, it is pretty much par for the course. As anyone with eyes and ears and a few brain cells in between has probably noticed, there are any number of disturbing things happening in the world these days. But the West Nile Virus story took a particularly troubling turn a couple weeks ago.

While idling watching some of NBC's stellar prime time Olympic coverage last Monday night, I happened to catch a brief teaser for the upcoming evening newscast in which it was announced that the 'West Nile Virus' had claimed another Southern California victim. The man was identified only as a "local political activist." Details, of course, would have to wait.

So ... I patiently waited through about two hours of NBC's "thought we were arrogant before? how do you like us now?" Olympic coverage, only to find, much to my chagrin, that when the nightly news finally rolled around, the story of the political activist cut down by 'West Nile Virus' had disappeared. I guess they couldn't fit it in around all the recaps of what they had just finished broadcasting.

So ... the next morning, I turned to the ever-vigilant Los Angeles Times to get the inside story, and ... nothing. Not a word. So I checked again the next day, and still found nothing. The day after that, I apparently did not read far enough into a report carrying the headline "Woman's Death May Be State's 10th W. Nile Fatality" to find what I was looking for. But I did find it when I conducted a web search a few days later. It was in the closing paragraph of the August 26 LA Times report:

Also on Tuesday, a 62-year-old Claremont man who died of complications from the virus was honored as a Green Party activist. Walter Sheasby, whose death from West Nile on Thursday was Los Angeles County's fourth, ran twice for the House of Representatives.
Anyone who has been closely following these newsletters in recent months should recognize the name Walter Sheasby. If not, then here's a reminder: Walter Contreras Sheasby was the gentleman who, late last year, penned a devastating expos
In regard to Peak Oil and the idea that Oil isn't really a "fossil fuel" that is generated by former living but now dead matter, I've posted the following a while back in another thread:

Luc, in places where I worked we saw no such effect. Production for wells dropped with time and that was it. As an example, Indonesia is importing oil because it is no longer a net exporter oil producing nation. No refilling of reservoirs.

Well, I'm not so sure that this is proof that oil isn't a renewable energy source. I can't find the source at the moment, but I read somewhere that in the oil business there is something that is called "peak oil" and other parameters that don't seem to match with reality more often than not.

Here is what L. Fletcher Prouty who wrote "The Secret Team" had to say about it back when he was still around. It does sound like he knows what he is talking about:

I've also read in a book (which I can't remember at the moment) that looked a bit into the "oil spill" scares from environmentalists in the past, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill, that at the bottom of the oceans, natural oil spills/seepings happen daily and in great amounts. In that regard, I found for example this:

Now on to what I really wanted to mention though. I'm currently reading the breathtaking book "Cataclysm" and came across an interesting passage that relates to the question of where oil/petroleum could maybe really come from and how it comes to earth:

“Petroleum is commonly thought of as having an organic (biogenic) origin, but it is now accepted that hydrocarbons, petroleum included, could be synthesised in space by a free-radical mechanism from methyl radicals, in which:

Methyl radicals themselves could be produced from solar photons on methane.182

Non-biogenic petroleum thus formed might, on reaching Earth, form lakes or ponds wherever dense underlying strata prevented its natural absorption. Natural evaporation of this volatile liquid would leave behind it a skin of crude oil or asphalt. Quite conceivably, the asphalt lakes of Trinidad and Venezuela and the tar seeps of California originated in this way – particularly as all are intimately associated with the remains of late-’Pleistocene’ animals and plants, victims of a much wider calamity that appears to have erupted about 11,500 years ago. That the mean average of the dates obtained for petroleum-bearing sediments in Texas and Louisiana falls remarkably close to this date is surely no coincidence.

Thus, whatever its real nature, if fiery (‘hot’) Phaeton was either itself partly composed of inflammable hydrocarbons developed from methane, or had, during its journey through the solar system, encountered a planetary body having, like Jupiter and Saturn183, a largely methane-dominated atmosphere, a part of which it had perhaps captured or acquired.”

The source they give for this is the following:

“182. Wilson, A T. 1962. “Origin of Petroleum and the composition of the Lunar Maria”, Nature, vol 196, pp11–13.”

That paper can be purchased here:

Origin of Petroleum and the Composition of the Lunar Maria
2007 piece on where oil really comes from (hint: not compressed dinosaur remains) and why Russia figured this out decades ago:

Confessions of an “ex” Peak Oil Believer

By F William Engdahl, September 14, 2007

The good news is that panic scenarios about the world running out of oil anytime soon are wrong. The bad news is that the price of oil is going to continue to rise. Peak Oil is not our problem. Politics is. Big Oil wants to sustain high oil prices. Dick Cheney and friends are all too willing to assist.

On a personal note, I’ve researched questions of petroleum, since the first oil shocks of the 1970’s. I was intrigued in 2003 with something called Peak Oil theory. It seemed to explain the otherwise inexplicable decision by Washington to risk all in a military move on Iraq.

Peak Oil advocates, led by former BP geologist Colin Campbell, and Texas banker Matt Simmons, argued that the world faced a new crisis, an end to cheap oil, or Absolute Peak Oil, perhaps by 2012, perhaps by 2007. Oil was supposedly on its last drops. They pointed to our soaring gasoline and oil prices, to the declines in output of North Sea and Alaska and other fields as proof they were right.

According to Campbell, the fact that no new North Sea-size fields had been discovered since the North Sea in the late 1960’s was proof. He reportedly managed to convince the International Energy Agency and the Swedish government. That, however, does not prove him correct.

Intellectual fossils?

The Peak Oil school rests its theory on conventional Western geology textbooks, most by American or British geologists, which claim oil is a ‘fossil fuel,’ a biological residue or detritus of either fossilized dinosaur remains or perhaps algae, hence a product in finite supply. Biological origin is central to Peak Oil theory, used to explain why oil is only found in certain parts of the world where it was geologically trapped millions of years ago. That would mean that, say, dead dinosaur remains became compressed and over tens of millions of years fossilized and trapped in underground reservoirs perhaps 4-6,000 feet below the surface of the earth. In rare cases, so goes the theory, huge amounts of biological matter should have been trapped in rock formations in the shallower ocean offshore as in the Gulf of Mexico or North Sea or Gulf of Guinea. Geology should be only about figuring out where these pockets in the layers of the earth , called reservoirs, lie within certain sedimentary basins.

An entirely alternative theory of oil formation has existed since the early 1950’s in Russia, almost unknown to the West. It claims conventional American biological origins theory is an unscientific absurdity that is un-provable. They point to the fact that western geologists have repeatedly predicted finite oil over the past century, only to then find more, lots more.

Not only has this alternative explanation of the origins of oil and gas existed in theory. The emergence of Russia and prior of the USSR as the world’s largest oil producer and natural gas producer has been based on the application of the theory in practice. This has geopolitical consequences of staggering magnitude.

Necessity: the mother of invention

In the 1950’s the Soviet Union faced ‘Iron Curtain’ isolation from the West. The Cold War was in high gear. Russia had little oil to fuel its economy. Finding sufficient oil indigenously was a national security priority of the highest order.

Scientists at the Institute of the Physics of the Earth of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Ukraine Academy of Sciences began a fundamental inquiry in the late 1940’s: where does oil come from?

In 1956, Prof. Vladimir Porfir’yev announced their conclusions: ‘Crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the earth. They are primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths.’ The Soviet geologists had turned Western orthodox geology on its head. They called their theory of oil origin the ‘a-biotic’ theory—non-biological—to distinguish from the Western biological theory of origins.

If they were right, oil supply on earth would be limited only by the amount of hydrocarbon constituents present deep in the earth at the time of the earth’s formation. Availability of oil would depend only on technology to drill ultra-deep wells and explore into the earth’s inner regions. They also realized old fields could be revived to continue producing, so called self-replentishing fields. They argued that oil is formed deep in the earth, formed in conditions of very high temperature and very high pressure, like that required for diamonds to form. ‘Oil is a primordial material of deep origin which is transported at high pressure via ‘cold’ eruptive processes into the crust of the earth,’ Porfir’yev stated. His team dismissed the idea that oil is was biological residue of plant and animal fossil remains as a hoax designed to perpetuate the myth of limited supply.

Defying conventional geology

That radically different Russian and Ukrainian scientific approach to the discovery of oil allowed the USSR to develop huge gas and oil discoveries in regions previously judged unsuitable, according to Western geological exploration theories, for presence of oil. The new petroleum theory was used in the early 1990’s, well after the dissolution of the USSR, to drill for oil and gas in a region believed for more than forty-five years, to be geologically barren—the Dnieper-Donets Basin in the region between Russia and Ukraine.

Following their a-biotic or non-fossil theory of the deep origins of petroleum, the Russian and Ukrainian petroleum geophysicists and chemists began with a detailed analysis of the tectonic history and geological structure of the crystalline basement of the Dnieper-Donets Basin. After a tectonic and deep structural analysis of the area, they made geophysical and geochemical investigations.

A total of sixty one wells were drilled, of which thirty seven were commercially productive, an extremely impressive exploration success rate of almost sixty percent. The size of the field discovered compared with the North Slope of Alaska. By contrast, US wildcat drilling was considered successful with a ten percent success rate. Nine of ten wells are typically “dry holes.”

That Russian geophysics experience in finding oil and gas was tightly wrapped in the usual Soviet veil of state security during the Cold War era, and went largely unknown to Western geophysicists, who continued to teach fossil origins and, hence, the severe physical limits of petroleum. Slowly it began to dawn on some strategists in and around the Pentagon well after the 2003 Iraq war, that the Russian geophysicists might be on to something of profound strategic importance.

If Russia had the scientific know-how and Western geology not, Russia possessed a strategic trump card of staggering geopolitical import. It was not surprising that Washington would go about erecting a “wall of steel”—a network of military bases and ballistic anti-missile shields around Russia, to cut her pipeline and port links to western Europe, China and the rest of Eurasia. Halford Mackinder’s worst nightmare--a cooperative convergence of mutual interests of the major states of Eurasia, born of necessity and need for oil to fuel economic growth--was emerging. Ironically, it was the blatant US grab for the vast oil riches of Iraq and, potentially, of Iran, that catalyzed closer cooperation between traditional Eurasian foes, China and Russia , and a growing realization in western Europe that their options too were narrowing.

The Peak King

Peak Oil theory is based on a 1956 paper done by the late Marion King Hubbert, a Texas geologist working for Shell Oil. He argued that oil wells produced in a bell curve manner, and once their “peak” was hit, inevitable decline followed. He predicted the United States oil production would peak in 1970. A modest man, he named the production curve he invented, Hubbert’s Curve, and the peak as Hubbert’s Peak. When US oil output began to decline in around 1970 Hubbert gained a certain fame.

The only problem was, it peaked not because of resource depletion in the US fields. It “peaked” because Shell, Mobil, Texaco and the other partners of Saudi Aramco were flooding the US market with dirt cheap Middle East imports, tariff free, at prices so low California and many Texas domestic producers could not compete and were forced to shut their wells in.

Vietnam success

While the American oil multinationals were busy controlling the easily accessible large fields of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and other areas of cheap, abundant oil during the 1960’s, the Russians were busy testing their alternative theory. They began drilling in a supposedly barren region of Siberia. There they developed eleven major oil fields and one Giant field based on their deep ‘a-biotic’ geological estimates. They drilled into crystalline basement rock and hit black gold of a scale comparable to the Alaska North Slope.

They then went to Vietnam in the 1980s and offered to finance drilling costs to show their new geological theory worked. The Russian company Petrosov drilled in Vietnam’s White Tiger oilfield offshore into basalt rock some 17,000 feet down and extracted 6,000 barrels a day of oil to feed the energy-starved Vietnam economy. In the USSR, a-biotic-trained Russian geologists perfected their knowledge and the USSR emerged as the world’s largest oil producer by the mid-1980’s. Few in the West understood why, or bothered to ask.

Dr. J. F. Kenney is one of the only few Western geophysicists who has taught and worked in Russia, studying under Vladilen Krayushkin, who developed the huge Dnieper-Donets Basin. Kenney told me in a recent interview that “alone to have produced the amount of oil to date that (Saudi Arabia’s) Ghawar field has produced would have required a cube of fossilized dinosaur detritus, assuming 100% conversion efficiency, measuring 19 miles deep, wide and high.” In short, an absurdity.

Western geologists do not bother to offer hard scientific proof of fossil origins. They merely assert as a holy truth. The Russians have produced volumes of scientific papers, most in Russian. The dominant Western journals have no interest in publishing such a revolutionary view. Careers, entire academic professions are at stake after all.

Closing the door

The 2003 arrest of Russian Mikhail Khodorkovsky, of Yukos Oil, took place just before he could sell a dominant stake in Yukos to ExxonMobil after a private meeting with Dick Cheney. Had Exxon got the stake they would have control of the world’s largest resource of geologists and engineers trained in the a-biotic techniques of deep drilling.

Since 2003 Russian scientific sharing of their knowledge has markedly lessened. Offers in the early 1990’s to share their knowledge with US and other oil geophysicists were met with cold rejection according to American geophysicists involved.

Why then the high-risk war to control Iraq? For a century US and allied Western oil giants have controlled world oil via control of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or Nigeria. Today, as many giant fields are declining, the companies see the state-controlled oilfields of Iraq and Iran as the largest remaining base of cheap, easy oil. With the huge demand for oil from China and now India, it becomes a geopolitical imperative for the United States to take direct, military control of those Middle East reserves as fast as possible. Vice President Dick Cheney, came to the job from Halliburton Corp., the world’s largest oil geophysical services company. The only potential threat to that US control of oil just happens to lie inside Russia and with the now-state-controlled Russian energy giants. Hmmmm.

According to Kenney the Russian geophysicists used the theories of the brilliant German scientist Alfred Wegener fully 30 years before the Western geologists “discovered” Wegener in the 1960’s. In 1915 Wegener published the seminal text, The Origin of Continents and Oceans, which suggested an original unified landmass or “pangaea” more than 200 million years ago which separated into present Continents by what he called Continental Drift.

Up to the 1960’s supposed US scientists such as Dr Frank Press, White House science advisor referred to Wegener as “lunatic.” Geologists at the end of the 1960’s were forced to eat their words as Wegener offered the only interpretation that allowed them to discover the vast oil resources of the North Sea. Perhaps in some decades Western geologists will rethink their mythology of fossil origins and realize what the Russians have known since the 1950’s. In the meantime Moscow holds a massive energy trump card.
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