Saturday, 29 October 2011

Abiotic oil not false after all

So although this is unusable, it's interesting to note that not only is there abiotic methane (i.e. natural gas) formed in a gigantic deposit on saturn's moons, but it turns out there is also abiotic oil and coal in space. Perhaps some of our own oil and coal were abiotically formed?

This is only interesting from a scientific perspective however, because even if large deposits of abiotic oil or coal were formed, we've still found most of it and still are unable to continue increasing production endlessly. Peak oil is still going to happen because it's a limit on effectively how fast you can pull it out. Where we're arguing is really about decline rates, but regardless this post is about abiotic oil.

Turns out that "Prof. Sun Kwok and Dr. Yong Zhang of The University of Hong Kong show that an organic substance commonly found throughout the Universe contains a mixture of aromatic (ring-like) and aliphatic (chain-like) components. The compounds are so complex that their chemical structures resemble those of coal and petroleum. Since coal and oil are remnants of ancient life, this type of organic matter was thought to arise only from living organisms. The team's discovery suggests that complex organic compounds can be synthesized in space even when no life forms are present."

Interesting. We apparently haven't learned all there is to know about petroleum just yet.


Michael Williamson said...

Interesting that you say we have not learned all there is to know about petroleum but state a few things like it is settle fact. Peak Oil may occur at some point but since there are groups like Bilderberg and a smaller circle that can impose artificial scarcity, will we know for certain that such a energy crisis is not manufactured as it was in 1973's oil embargo. North Slope Alaska fields have barely been tapped. Some fields can be returned to production after well were capped decades ago, oil returns. I have to wonder how small a percentage of Oil is biotic in origin. Microbes can adapt to live in it and eat it. WORMS have been found to eat and live in methane ICE. Mineral Oil is a accurate term Fossil Fuel is not.

DB said...

You're absolutely right that what we're talking about is *theory*.
In practical terms, however, the theory approximates close enough that people can make money out of it.

As to whether peak oil is real: no question you extract a fixed resource out and at some point there's none left. Where your powers of prediction break down are variables such as flow rate and ultimate recoverable amounts as a percentage of total. These are not fixed targets and continually improve with technology.

As to artificial scarcity: yes this in fact is definitely the biggest risk, far bigger than risks due to a putative "natural" peak oil scenario. My greatest concern is not peak oil at all, but instead the effect on the economy of a prolonged and possibly nasty fight over Iran before we've moved sufficiently over to alternatives.

As to conspiracy theory crap I doubt that any group such as the bilderbergers are competent enough to run such a massive plot without anybody noticing and without leakage happening. Just look at the banking crisis: this was an example of total utter incompetence not conspiracy.

That said, it may take something of the magnitude of a prolonged skirmish in the Persian Gulf causing oil prices to spike to ridiculous highs to get Americans and Canadians to stop driving F150s to work 100 miles each way.