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Abiotic Synthesis Of Methane: New Evidence Supports 19th-Century Idea On Formation Of Oil
Science Daily ^ | 11/2009

Posted on 12/20/2009 2:40:22 PM PST by SeekAndFind

Washington, D.C. are reporting laboratory evidence supporting the possibility that some of Earth's oil and natural gas may have formed in a way much different than the traditional process described in science textbooks.

Their study is scheduled for Nov./Dec. issue of ACS' Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly publication. Anurag Sharma and colleagues note that the traditional process involves biology: Prehistoric plants died and changed into oil and gas while sandwiched between layers of rock in the hot, high-pressure environment deep below Earth's surface. Some scientists, however, believe that oil and gas originated in other ways, including chemical reactions between carbon dioxide and hydrogen below Earth' surface.

The new study describes a test of that idea, which dates to at least 1877 and famous Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeelev. They combined ingredients for this so-called abiotic synthesis of methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, in a diamond-anvil cell and monitored in-situ the progress of the reaction. The diamond anvils can generate high pressures and temperatures similar to those that occur deep below Earth's surface and allow for in-situ optical spectroscopy at the extreme environments.

The results "strongly suggest" that some methane could form strictly from chemical reactions in a variety of chemical environments. This study further highlights the role of reaction pathways and fluid immiscibility in the extent of hydrocarbon formation at extreme conditions simulating deep subsurface.

(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abiotic; abioticoil; catastrophism; dinosaurs; drillbabydrill; energy; energycrisis; gas; oil; oil4all; oil4all4ever; oil4ever; oilfield; oilfields; peakoil; thomasgold
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1 posted on 12/20/2009 2:40:24 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Oil Without Dinosaurs ?

The familiar tale is that “Prehistoric plants died and changed into oil and gas while sandwiched between layers of rock in the hot, high-pressure environment deep below Earth’s surface.”

The debunking in this Nov. 6 article actually “un-debunks” an old idea from the 19th century that methane and other hydrocarbons might be produced abiotically, without fossil fuels.

Long-held beliefs such as these are being overturned, after being held as “scientific truth” for decades or centuries.

Which brings up an interesting question -— How do we know that today’s current dogmas are invulnerable to turnarounds? A future discovery might even debunk the debunkers in these stories – some of whom debunked earlier debunkers.


2 posted on 12/20/2009 2:43:17 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Condemned civilization grasping at straws.


3 posted on 12/20/2009 2:45:23 PM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (IN A SMALL TENT WE JUST STAND CLOSER! * IT'S ISLAM, STUPID! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth)
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To: SeekAndFind

Kill them kill them all. Who are they?


4 posted on 12/20/2009 2:46:02 PM PST by allmost
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To: SeekAndFind

Oil: The new renewable energy source.


5 posted on 12/20/2009 2:46:31 PM PST by lonestar67 ("I love my country a lot more than I love politics," President George W. Bush)
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To: SeekAndFind

I have heard this before from oilmen, and it makes sense.

It never did make sense to me, a non-oilperson and certainly not a chemist or biologist, that all oil came from multi-million-year-old organic matters ‘sandwiched’ between rock.

How could that happen? The rock would have to form, and that would takes thousands of years, and the organic matter didn’t rot away and disappear in those thousands of years?

By the time the rock formed any organic matter would have been long gone.It also means that oil is continually being made, or generated.


6 posted on 12/20/2009 2:47:12 PM PST by squarebarb
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To: SeekAndFind

“The new study describes a test of that idea, which dates to at least 1877 and famous Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeelev.”

An nobody looked at this again until now? What are we spending our research dollars on the mating positions
of horses?


7 posted on 12/20/2009 2:47:21 PM PST by Dem Guard
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To: SeekAndFind

The familiar tale is that “Prehistoric plants died and changed into oil and gas while sandwiched between layers of rock in the hot, high-pressure environment deep below Earth’s surface.”

Where and when did this come from and how is it supported?
It’s what I grew up hearing but it seems to make little sense.


8 posted on 12/20/2009 2:49:22 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: lonestar67

Saudis, Iranians and Russians worst fears. Time to put the Donovan back in the hot rod?


9 posted on 12/20/2009 2:54:21 PM PST by mazda77 (Rubio for US Senate - West FL22nd - Dockery for Gov.)
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To: SeekAndFind

How did dinosaurs get to Jupiter to make their methane seas?


10 posted on 12/20/2009 2:58:14 PM PST by blackminorca
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To: blackminorca
In their spaceships, of course. It was their highly technological society that killed them all off.

Yes, of course /sarc.

11 posted on 12/20/2009 3:01:23 PM PST by magslinger (Cry MALAISE! and let slip the dogs of incompetence.)
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To: SeekAndFind
I have been thinking this for the last year or so, after reading about it on FR.....

It is not dinosaur dung, where the heck were they roaming off the coast of Brazil 5 to 7 miles down.

12 posted on 12/20/2009 3:02:20 PM PST by taildragger (Palin/Mulally 2012)
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To: SeekAndFind

Actually this is a pretty viable theory. The Russians have developed several deep fields. Rotting dinosaurs can maybe explain some oil, but is an absurd theory for oil under several thousand feet of rock.

BP recently hit a major pool about 200 miles off Houston, in the gulf, beneath 2000 feet of water and something like 12,000 feet of Gulf seafloor. No way to explain how old dinosaurs and rotting swampgrass got there.

The major support for the dinosaur theory may simply be that it permits the “peak oil” crisis, much like the “global warming” crisis. In other words a rationale for the government controlling energy because “it is running out.”

Maybe the end of oil is a variation on Algore theology.


13 posted on 12/20/2009 3:04:27 PM PST by LoneStarC (1)
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To: SeekAndFind

Actually this is a pretty viable theory. The Russians have developed several deep fields. Rotting dinosaurs can maybe explain some oil, but is an absurd theory for oil under several thousand feet of rock.

BP recently hit a major pool about 200 miles off Houston, in the gulf, beneath 2000 feet of water and something like 12,000 feet of Gulf seafloor. No way to explain how old dinosaurs and rotting swampgrass got there.

The major support for the dinosaur theory may simply be that it permits the “peak oil” crisis, much like the “global warming” crisis. In other words a rationale for the government controlling energy because “it is running out.”

Maybe the end of oil is a variation on Algore theology.


14 posted on 12/20/2009 3:04:35 PM PST by LoneStarC (1)
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To: SeekAndFind
That would put in serious doubt "Peak Oil"

15 posted on 12/20/2009 3:05:49 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Surely the science is settled and the debate is over! /SARC

There is a process whereby a types of bacteria called methanogens can synthesize methane using C02 and H2 underground.

16 posted on 12/20/2009 3:19:28 PM PST by Procyon (To the global warming fanatics the problem is too many people and the solution is genocide.)
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To: squarebarb

Wells have been drilled to depts of 38,000 ft.

Imagine how high that is when you think “up” instead of “down”. Where the jets fly.

So my question when I read of the well that deep was “How the hell did the dinosaur or plant refuse get down there?

Geologist I am not. The most boring course I ever had in my life, but common sense tells you they would have to dig like mad!!!!


17 posted on 12/20/2009 3:19:33 PM PST by old curmudgeon
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To: SeekAndFind

btt


18 posted on 12/20/2009 3:24:04 PM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: SeekAndFind

“Some scientists, however, believe that oil and gas originated in other ways, including chemical reactions between carbon dioxide and hydrogen below Earth’ surface.”

Oh, come on. Rosie O’Donnell herself will tell you there’s no way carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen can turn into gas and oil.


19 posted on 12/20/2009 3:28:13 PM PST by UCANSEE2 (<I>)
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To: lonestar67

This could explain why oil is present when old wells are reopened?


20 posted on 12/20/2009 3:28:53 PM PST by abclily
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To: tet68

Interesting article:

The Mysterious Origin and Supply of Oil

http://www.livescience.com/environment/051011_oil_origins.html


21 posted on 12/20/2009 3:28:54 PM PST by preacher (A government which robs from Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul.)
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To: tet68
Where and when did this come from and how is it supported?

Back then, trolls lived underground, and they operated the giant presses (made of rock) and squeezed out the oil and gas from the dead plants and dinosaurs.

After all their work was done, they tunneled to the surface, and now live in small caves.

22 posted on 12/20/2009 3:31:09 PM PST by UCANSEE2 (<I>)
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To: SeekAndFind
The darkest secret of hidden science: Oil is like geothermal heat: As long as the Earth is tectonically active, we'll have it.

It's free. And effectively eternal.


Frowning takes 68 muscles.
Smiling takes 6.
Pulling this trigger takes 2.
I'm lazy.

23 posted on 12/20/2009 3:32:33 PM PST by The Comedian (Evil can only succeed if good men don't point at it and laugh.)
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To: UCANSEE2

And here I thought they all went into politics.


24 posted on 12/20/2009 3:37:12 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Procyon
I recall reading that bacteria and extremeophiles have been discovered living far underground where no one had thought they could be found. It may be, in fact, that there is more life beneath the Earth's surface than above it. This might explain the organic “markers” that are often cited to support the argument that oil is of biotic origin.
25 posted on 12/20/2009 3:37:30 PM PST by PUGACHEV
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To: SeekAndFind

Ahh gives tear to ones eye

Methane co2 water oil one massive green renewable energy cycle


26 posted on 12/20/2009 3:38:52 PM PST by Flavius
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To: abclily

I read somewhere that the Russians drilled wells near Baku (is that right?) that were tapped out in the 1920’s. Filling up with oil again. They think it’s from abiotic sources.


27 posted on 12/20/2009 3:38:56 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (`)
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To: SeekAndFind

What I would like to know is; if methane and other hydrocarbons are formed from decayed plant and animal matter - how they heck does Saturn’s moon Titan come to have literal oceans of liquified methane? Hell, according to one report I read, it even rains methane!


28 posted on 12/20/2009 3:40:49 PM PST by AFreeBird (Going Rogue in 2012)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I’ve read that the same thing has happened here in the U.S.


29 posted on 12/20/2009 3:41:53 PM PST by abclily
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To: SeekAndFind

I had a discussion with a friend, who is a Geophysisist for Phillips Petroleum, regarding the possibility that petroleum deposits where not organic in origin, thus a much larger and renewable resource. He was open to the possibility, but had not seen enough evidence to support the theory. The context of our discussion was that if petroleum did not have to come from an organic source, could their possibly be petroleum resources on other planets, like Mars. If petroleum deposits could be found, recovered and refined on Mars, it makes Mars a much easier place to colonize, since you don’t have to take all your return trip fuel with you from Earth. Imagine having the gas station franchise there. ;)


30 posted on 12/20/2009 3:41:53 PM PST by anymouse (God didn't write this sitcom we call life, he's just the critic.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thanks for posting.


31 posted on 12/20/2009 4:01:46 PM PST by FR_addict (www.conservativesinactionusa.com)
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To: old curmudgeon
The Grand Canyon used to have 6 mile high mountains on top of it.

Earth's surface does move eh!

32 posted on 12/20/2009 4:13:35 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

That might explain a few dinosaurs being deep in the earth, but enough of them and plant life all over he entire world to create the world oil supply?

Oil has been found on almost every continent and in every ocean in the world

Not to argue the process, but to ask a question.


33 posted on 12/20/2009 4:25:52 PM PST by old curmudgeon
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To: UCANSEE2
Oh, come on. Rosie O’Donnell herself will tell you there’s no way carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen can turn into gas and oil.

This from the woman that thinks fire can't melt steel.

34 posted on 12/20/2009 4:28:14 PM PST by Nuc1 (NUC1 Sub pusher SSN 668 (Liberals Aren't Patriots))
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To: squarebarb
have heard this before from oilmen, and it makes sense. It never did make sense to me, a non-oilperson and certainly not a chemist or biologist, that all oil came from multi-million-year-old organic matters ‘sandwiched’ between rock.

How could that happen? The rock would have to form, and that would takes thousands of years, and the organic matter didn’t rot away and disappear in those thousands of years?

By the time the rock formed any organic matter would have been long gone.It also means that oil is continually being made, or generated."

Then why didn't coal "rot away"?

I strongly suspect that some of the of the natural gas [methane] produced commercially did result from abiotic processes. It seems less likely with oil, but possible. What is wildly improbable is that there is an abiotic mechanism that is recharging reservoirs fast enough to make a difference to anyone living, their children, grandchildren etc.

There may be some very deep natural gas deposits [more than 30,000 feet.] If they exist, in order to be commercial, they would need extremely large and productive reservoirs and the costs would still be high. Not likely ... but again possible.

Oil OTOH just isn't found much below 15,000 - 17,000 feet [unlike natural gas.] as the normal heat increase with depth [the geothermal gradient] results in oil cooking down to simpler molecules. Go as deep as you like [and they have for natural gas] but it is almost impossible to find oil by going ultra deep.

35 posted on 12/20/2009 5:02:14 PM PST by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
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To: SeekAndFind

The biotic oil theory was needed because no one can explain how a flaming ball of fire could cool down and still contain carbon in the form of oil and gas. It is a necessary theory if you do not believe in a created earth. Perhaps God decided to add oil and gas to facilitate plate tectonics. In any case, the fossil fuel theory evokes scarcity. However, proven reserves keep growing the more that they look. Abiotic oil does not need a theory of origin. Only those who cannot believe that God created this earth perfectly formed need such a theory.


36 posted on 12/20/2009 5:09:23 PM PST by EscondidoSurfer
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To: taildragger
Not dinosaurs. Algae. Probably growing in very shallow water or at least in the top few feet of water. For what it is worth, the big offshore Brazilian oil discoveries are below a very thick layer of salt which probably got there through evaporation, in 5 to 7,000 feet of water and 15 to 17,000 feet below the seabed. Who says all the easy oil has been found? -- sarcasm off --

Very interesting research on algae. By weight some types can be 40+ percent oil. If there is a very long term future for biofuels for internal combustion engines, bio diesel form algae might be the ticket. Time will tell.

37 posted on 12/20/2009 5:13:45 PM PST by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
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To: tet68
"Where and when did this come from and how is it supported? It’s what I grew up hearing but it seems to make little sense."

Shales and other organic rich sedimentary rocks are the source rocks. The "oil shales" found in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah don't contain "oil" but "kerogen", a material that with time and heat can become oil. These deposits are basically the intermediate step on the way to becoming free oil. With enough time and enough heat, suitable reservoir rock, a trap in the reservoir with a good seal there might be oil hell of an oilfield in the making ... but only on a geologic timescale.

38 posted on 12/20/2009 5:25:37 PM PST by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
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To: SeekAndFind

......Oil Without Dinosaurs ?......

That is a canard. The bio mass from which methane was derived is plant matter. The new thought one does not preclude the old.


39 posted on 12/20/2009 5:38:02 PM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Lukenbach Texas is barely there)
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To: abclily
This could explain why oil is present when old wells are reopened?"It could, but the more likely explanation is illustrated by the USS Arizona. Oil is still bubbling to the surface after 68 years and no new oil is being created there. In an oilfield, only a fraction of the original oil in place is produced as it becomes uneconomic to produce at very low volumes and generally well productivity is highest when the well is brand new.

If you open up an old "cased hole" that was a producer, you will often find the casing is charged up with oil as oil [like the fuel oil in the Arizona] is lighter than water and will work its way upward over time. During the price spike last year and continuing on to the present, it became profitable to skim off this oil from certain cased holes. For a 5,000 foot well, the recovery could be 30 or 50 barrels -- using a rather inexpensive and easily transportable pump designed for this purpose. Been there, done that, but unless the well has additional potential, you would never set a regular down hole pump for that sort of recovery potential.

40 posted on 12/20/2009 5:44:00 PM PST by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
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To: The Comedian
The darkest secret of hidden science: Oil is like geothermal heat: As long as the Earth is tectonically active, we'll have it.

It's free. And effectively eternal."

Maybe on an eternal time scale. To have an oilfield you need a source [you can assume aboitic oil if you wish -- I wouldn't but it doesn't spoil the logic] and you need a suitable trap [porous, permiable, and with a good seal] at a depth no greater than 15 to 17,000 feet below the ground / seabed as that is about the limits of commercial oil. Natural gas exists much deeper, and has been produced commercially from much deeper. Not so oil.

In any event, most of the great easily accessible traps have been drilled. Some contained oil. Some contained natural gas. Some contained both. And others were "dry" -- a funny term to apply to water wet. If oilfields recharge, they do not do so quickly. It is possible redrill old field and produce some oil but typically not a lot and usually not enough to be economic.

All oil wells, oilfields, and countries will peak and decline. Texas still produces a lot of oil, but has been in a steady and largely uninterupted decline for almost forty years despite the best efforts of thousands of very smart people, using the best technology, and largely unimpeded by Government.

41 posted on 12/20/2009 6:06:07 PM PST by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
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To: old curmudgeon
"That might explain a few dinosaurs being deep in the earth, but enough of them and plant life all over he entire world to create the world oil supply?

Oil has been found on almost every continent and in every ocean in the world

Not to argue the process, but to ask a question."

Not dinosaurs. Algae and algae are pretty much everywhere and a lot of them contain a high percentage of oils by weight. Not sure why the mystery about oil when coal is clearly from plants and by all appearances there are more coal resources than probable oil resources.

As I have noted in other posts, natural gas may be a little different in terms of origins ... then again most of it may not be.

42 posted on 12/20/2009 6:14:44 PM PST by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
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To: SunkenCiv; blam; muawiyah; FromLori; onyx; Nachum; sonofstrangelove
*ping*

Science Daily article with potential ramifications upon geopolitics.

43 posted on 12/20/2009 7:10:29 PM PST by hennie pennie
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To: Mrs. Don-o
I read somewhere that the Russians drilled wells near Baku (is that right?) that were tapped out in the 1920’s. Filling up with oil again. They think it’s from abiotic sources.

See this site for a discussion of that.

Here's a brief primer :

At that time, the oil fields near Baku were considered to be “depleting” and “nearing exhaustion.” During World War II, the Soviets had occupied the two northern provinces of Iran; in 1946, the British government had forced them out. By 1947, the Soviets realized that the American, British, and French were not going to allow them to operate in the middle east, nor in the petroleum producing areas of Africa, nor Indonesia, nor Burma, nor Malaysia, nor anywhere in the far east, nor in Latin America. The government of the Soviet Union recognized then that new petroleum reserves would have to be discovered and developed within the U.S.S.R.

The government of the Soviet Union initiated a “Manhattan Project” type program, which was given the highest priority to study every aspect of petroleum, to determine its origins and how petroleum reserves are generated, and to ascertain what might be the most effective strategies for petroleum exploration. At that time, Russia benefited from the excellent educational system which had been introduced after the 1917 revolution. The Russian petroleum community had then almost two generations of highly educated, scientifically competent men and women, ready to take up the problem of petroleum origins. Modern Russian petroleum science followed within five years.

In 1951, the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins was first enunciated by Nikolai A. Kudryavtsev at the All-Union petroleum geology congress. Kudryavtsev analyzed the hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum, and pointed out the failures of the claims then commonly put forth to support that hypothesis. Kudryavtsev was soon joined by numerous other Russian and Ukrainian geologists, among the first of whom were P. N. Kropotkin, K. A. Shakhvarstova, G. N. Dolenko, V. F. Linetskii, V. B. Porfir’yev, and K. A. Anikiev.

During the first decade of its existence, the modern theory of petroleum origins was the subject of great contention and controversy. Between the years 1951 and 1965, with the leadership of Kudryavtsev and Porfir’yev, increasing numbers of geologists published articles demonstrating the failures and inconsistencies inherent in the old “biogenic origin” hypothesis. With the passing of the first decade of the modern theory, the failure of the previous, eighteenth century hypothesis of an origin of petroleum from biological detritus in the near-surface sediments had been thoroughly demonstrated, the hypothesis of Lomonosov discredited, and the modern theory firmly established.

An important point to be recognized is that the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abiotic petroleum origins was, initially, a geologists’ theory. Kudryavtsev, Kropotkin, Dolenko, Porfir’yev and the developers of the modern theory of petroleum were all geologists. Their arguments were necessarily those of geologists, developed from many observations, and much data, organized into a pattern, and argued by persuasion.

By contrast, the practice of mainstream, predictive modern science, particularly physics and chemistry, involves a minimum of observation or data, and applies only a minimum of physical law, inevitably expressed with formal mathematics, and argues by compulsion. Such predictive proof of the geologists assertions for the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins had to wait almost a half century, for such required the development not only of modern quantum statistical mechanics but also that of the techniques of many-body theory and the application of statistical geometry to the analysis of dense fluids, designated scaled particle theory.
44 posted on 12/20/2009 8:30:48 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Related:Saturn’s orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to new data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2397009/posts


45 posted on 12/20/2009 8:49:49 PM PST by Balding_Eagle (Perfection is the enemy of Good.)
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide

1877. Read the article.


46 posted on 12/20/2009 8:50:38 PM PST by Balding_Eagle (Perfection is the enemy of Good.)
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To: Dem Guard
What are we spending our research dollars on?

Global Warming.

Look around you, nearly every facit of our lives has an aspect of 'stop global warming' to it.

Our cars.

Our electricity.

The natural gas that we use to heat our homes.

The refrigerator in our kitchens.

Our roads, and road surfaces.

Mass transit.

Any one of us would make a list of a thousand things in a hour or two.

The insulation in our homes.

The food we eat is produced by 'enviromentally frendly' farms.

It's endless what Satans Spawn has unleased.

47 posted on 12/20/2009 8:56:42 PM PST by Balding_Eagle (Perfection is the enemy of Good.)
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To: The Comedian
The darkest secret of hidden science: Oil is like geothermal heat: As long as the Earth is tectonically active, we'll have it.

Just like diamonds.

48 posted on 12/20/2009 9:00:00 PM PST by Ol' Dan Tucker (People should not be afraid of the government. Governement should be afraid of the people)
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To: UCANSEE2
After all their work was done, they tunneled to the surface, and now live in small caves on Free Republic... '-)
49 posted on 12/20/2009 9:05:24 PM PST by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...!!)
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To: lonestar67; squarebarb; SeekAndFind; tet68; anymouse
Oil Without Dinosaurs ?

You do know that the "oil is dead dinosaurs" myth is a strawman? Biomass on land usually turns to coal (gradually from peat to hard coal), whereas the scientific theory says that oil comes from plankton / algae (which are chemically astonishingly similar to petroleum).

Oil: The new renewable energy source.

Yeah, except that methane (CH4) isn't oil (which consists of much longer hydrocarbon chains).

It never did make sense to me, a non-oilperson and certainly not a chemist or biologist, that all oil came from multi-million-year-old organic matters ‘sandwiched’ between rock.

How could that happen? The rock would have to form, and that would takes thousands of years, and the organic matter didn’t rot away and disappear in those thousands of years?


There's surprisingly little rot at the pressures and oxygen levels you find miles below the sea surface. And yes, I'm aware that decompoisition happens there, too, just want to point out that your frame of reference is completely wrong.

Where and when did this come from...

Location of oil fields relative to prehistoric lakes and oceans.

... and how is it supported?

Chemical composition. E.g. similarity of molecules found in algae and in petroleum like porphyrin from petroleum vs. chlorophyll.

He was open to the possibility, but had not seen enough evidence to support the theory.

That's exactly the point. Abiotic hydrocarbons are certainly possible, especially simple ones like methane. But when it comes to the majority of more complex hydrocarbons like petroleum, it's just inferior as a theory (explains less, more holes...). So it boils down to a simple point: If you look at that facts, you keep your mind open without getting your hopes up. But if you're looking for something to pin your hopes to, to believe in, well then, at least it's better than sharia law.
50 posted on 12/21/2009 4:49:45 AM PST by wolf78 (Inflation is a form of taxation, too. Cranky Libertarian - equal opportunity offender.)
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