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Eugene Island

By Chris Bennett

About 80 miles off of the coast of Louisiana lies a mostly submerged
mountain, the top of which is known as Eugene Island. The portion
underwater is an eerie-looking, sloping tower jutting up from the depths
of the Gulf of Mexico, with deep fissures and perpendicular faults which
spontaneously spew natural gas. A significant reservoir of crude oil was
discovered nearby in the late '60s, and by 1970, a platform named Eugene
330 was busily producing about 15,000 barrels a day of high-quality crude

By the late '80s, the platform's production had slipped to less than
4,000 barrels per day, and was considered pumped out. Done. Suddenly, in
1990, production soared back to 15,000 barrels a day, and the reserves
which had been estimated at 60 million barrels in the '70s, were
recalculated at 400 million barrels. Interestingly, the measured
geological age of the new oil was quantifiably different than the oil
pumped in the '70s.

Analysis of seismic recordings revealed the presence of a "deep fault" at
the base of the Eugene Island reservoir which was gushing up a river of
oil from some deeper and previously unknown source.

Similar results were seen at other Gulf of Mexico oil wells. Similar
results were found in the Cook Inlet oil fields in Alaska. Similar
results were found in oil fields in Uzbekistan. Similarly in the Middle
East, where oil exploration and extraction have been underway for at
least the last 20 years, known reserves have doubled. Currently there are
somewhere in the neighborhood of 680 billion barrels of Middle East
reserve oil.

Creating that much oil would take a big pile of dead dinosaurs and
fermenting prehistoric plants. Could there be another source for crude

An intriguing theory now permeating oil company research staffs suggests
that crude oil may actually be a natural inorganic product, not a
stepchild of unfathomable time and organic degradation. The theory
suggests there may be huge, yet-to-be-discovered reserves of oil at
depths that dwarf current world estimates.

The theory is simple: Crude oil forms as a natural inorganic process
which occurs between the mantle and the crust, somewhere between 5 and 20
miles deep. The proposed mechanism is as follows:

 *  Methane (CH4) is a common molecule found in quantity throughout our
    solar system ^ huge concentrations exist at great depth in the

 *  At the mantle-crust interface, roughly 20,000 feet beneath the
    surface, rapidly rising streams of compressed methane-based gasses
    hit pockets of high temperature causing the condensation of heavier
    hydrocarbons. The product of this condensation is commonly known as
    crude oil.

 *  Some compressed methane-based gasses migrate into pockets and
    reservoirs we extract as "natural gas."

 *  In the geologically "cooler," more tectonically stable regions around
    the globe, the crude oil pools into reservoirs.

 *  In the "hotter," more volcanic and tectonically active areas, the oil
    and natural gas continue to condense and eventually to oxidize,
    producing carbon dioxide and steam, which exits from active

 *  Periodically, depending on variations of geology and Earth movement,
    oil seeps to the surface in quantity, creating the vast oil-sand
    deposits of Canada and Venezuela, or the continual seeps found
    beneath the Gulf of Mexico and Uzbekistan.

 *  Periodically, depending on variations of geology, the vast, deep
    pools of oil break free and replenish existing known reserves of oil.

There are a number of observations across the oil-producing regions of
the globe that support this theory, and the list of proponents begins
with Mendelev (who created the periodic table of elements) and includes
Dr.Thomas Gold (founding director of Cornell University Center for
Radiophysics and Space Research) and Dr. J.F. Kenney of Gas Resources
Corporations, Houston, Texas.

In his 1999 book, "The Deep Hot Biosphere," Dr. Gold presents compelling
evidence for inorganic oil formation. He notes that geologic structures
where oil is found all correspond to "deep earth" formations, not the
haphazard depositions we find with sedimentary rock, associated fossils
or even current surface life.

He also notes that oil extracted from varying depths from the same oil
field have the same chemistry ^ oil chemistry does not vary as fossils
vary with increasing depth. Also interesting is the fact that oil is
found in huge quantities among geographic formations where assays of
prehistoric life are not sufficient to produce the existing reservoirs of
oil. Where then did it come from?

Another interesting fact is that every oil field throughout the world has
outgassing helium. Helium is so often present in oil fields that helium
detectors are used as oil-prospecting tools. Helium is an inert gas known
to be a fundamental product of the radiological decay or uranium and
thorium, identified in quantity at great depths below the surface of the
earth, 200 and more miles below. It is not found in meaningful quantities
in areas that are not producing methane, oil or natural gas. It is not a
member of the dozen or so common elements associated with life. It is
found throughout the solar system as a thoroughly inorganic product.

Even more intriguing is evidence that several oil reservoirs around the
globe are refilling themselves, such as the Eugene Island reservoir ^
not from the sides, as would be expected from cocurrent organic
reservoirs, but from the bottom up.

Dr. Gold strongly believes that oil is a "renewable, primordial soup
continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions and
tremendous pressures. As this substance migrates toward the surface, it
is attached by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin
dating back to the dinosaurs."

Smaller oil companies and innovative teams are using this theory to
justify deep oil drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, among other
locations, with some success. Dr. Kenney is on record predicting that
parts of Siberia contain a deep reservoir of oil equal to or exceeding
that already discovered in the Middle East.

Could this be true?

In August 2002, in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
(US)," Dr. Kenney published a paper, which had a partial title of "The
genesis of hydrocarbons and the origin of petroleum." Dr. Kenney and
three Russian coauthors conclude:

      The Hydrogen-Carbon system does not spontaneously evolve
      hydrocarbons at pressures less than 30 Kbar, even in the most
      favorable environment. The H-C system evolves hydrocarbons
      under pressures found in the mantle of the Earth and at
      temperatures consistent with that environment.

He was quoted as stating that "competent physicists, chemists, chemical
engineers and men knowledgeable of thermodynamics have known that natural
petroleum does not evolve from biological materials since the last
quarter of the 19th century."

Deeply entrenched in our culture is the belief that at some point in the
relatively near future we will see the last working pump on the last
functioning oil well screech and rattle, and that will be that. The end
of the Age of Oil. And unless we find another source of cheap energy, the
world will rapidly become a much darker and dangerous place.

If Dr. Gold and Dr. Kenney are correct, this "the end of the world as we
know it" scenario simply won't happen. Think about it ... while not
inexhaustible, deep Earth reserves of inorganic crude oil and
commercially feasible extraction would provide the world with generations
of low-cost fuel. Dr. Gold has been quoted saying that current worldwide
reserves of crude oil could be off by a factor of over 100.

A Hedberg Conference, sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum
Geologists, was scheduled to discuss and publicly debate this issue.
Papers were solicited from interested academics and professionals. The
conference was scheduled to begin June 9, 2003, but was canceled at the
last minute. A new date has yet to be set.


Related links:

Gas Origin Theories To Be Studied

The Mystery Of Eugene Island 330

Odd Reservoir Off Louisiana Prods Oil Experts To Seek A Deeper Meaning

Fuel's Paradise


Chris Bennett manages an environmental engineering division for a West
Coast technology firm. He and his wife of 26 years make their home on the
San Francisco Bay.

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The myth of Oil exhaustion

myth of "oil exhaustion"

"ABSTRACT:   For almost a century, various predictions have been made
that the human race is 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) evolves from biological detritus, and is
 accordingly limited in abundance.  That hypothesis has been replaced during
  the past forty years by the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep,
  abiotic petroleum origins which has established that petroleum is a primordial
   material erupted from great depth.  Therefore, 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;  and its availability
    depends upon technological development and exploration competence."

"The public-access pages on this site are presently being built to provide easy
reference to various publications involving modern petroleum science.
Modern petroleum science, - or what is called often the modern Russian-Ukrainian
 theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins, - is an extensive body of knowledge
 which has been recorded in thousands of articles published in the mainstream,
 Russian-language scientific journals, and in many books and monographs.
 However, effectively nothing of modern petroleum science has been published
  in the U.S.A., and this body of knowledge remains largely unknown in the
  English-speaking world.  For reason of this circumstance, a brief introduction
  to modern Russian petroleum science has been written separately, and is offered
  together with a brief indication of some of its immediate economic consequences."

"In the pages containing articles connected with petroleum economics,
there are several papers by Professor Michael C. Lynch of the Massachusetts Institute
 of Technology which address directly the myth of "oil exhaustion."
 There is also a link to an article by Professor Peter Odell of the London
 School of Economics concerning the common misperceptions connected with
 petroleum economics."


Natural petroleum is NOT the result of dead, buried plants and animals
subjected to immense pressure over the course of millions of years as
you have been told.

The western petrochemical corporations are using the old "fossil fuel"
 petroleum exaustion game to rape YOUR wallets.


BBC NEWS | Business | How much oil do we really have?"Kuwait for example still claim exactly the same reserve level as they had in 1985 despite pumping millions of barrels every day since then. "

THAT would seem to validate various statements from geologists and some in the academic community who say that Oil is a product of THIS PLANET - and not the result of "decaying vegetation and dinesours" as we have been led to believe over the past.  This would also seem to prove that VAST sources of oil can be found thousands of feet Russia has discovered and as the oil companies continue to deny.


>>>>SOURCE <<<<<< 

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How much Oil do we have??

How much oil do we really have? 
      By Adam Porter 
      In Perpignan, France  

As oil prices remain volatile the markets do their best to forecast future prices. Unfortunately this is not an easy task. While it may appear extraordinary to outsiders one of the main problems in the oil market is the reliability of basic statistics. 

The oil industry calls the problem 'data transparency'. 

As an example this week is a 'revision' to oil demand growth in the United States in 2004. 

Previously the growth in oil demand was thought to be 2.4%, about 484,000 barrels per day. In fact it was 697,000 barrels per day or 3.5%. 

That is in fact 46% more than was previously stated - a huge revision. 

"Oil market data is generally a black art like using a set of chicken bones," says Paul Horsnell of Barclays Capital. "If Columbus had thought he'd hit India when in fact he was in the Caribbean, that's about the level of oil market data." 

"The revisions to US demand growth are small in percentage terms, they are generally 99% accurate. But the change is huge in barrel terms, and this is from the USA who have the best oil data in the world." 

     Suggestions that oil consumption will grow to up to 120m bpd by 2020 and that automobile and airline traffic will increase at extraordinary rates are futile and damaging 
      Dr Michael Smith, Energy Files  

The barrel difference was in fact 213,000 per day. Added up that is 77.75 million extra barrels per year, about one day of global production. 

"Oil data is like paint thrown across a canvas, you get the broad outline of the situation. But even then it's not just a Jackson Pollock painting, the paint actually moves of its own accord after it has been applied," says Mr Horsnell. 

Phantom reserves 

One of the major problems surrounding oil data is in reserves. 

      Kuwait: 92bn (64bn) 
      UAE : 92bn (34bn) 
      Iran : 93bn (64bn) 
      Iraq: 100bn (48bn) 
      Saudi Arabia: 258bn (170bn) 
      Claimed oil reserves, bn barrels 1990s/1970s  

These are the basins of crude oil that lie underground. 

They are either held by governments or the 'oil majors' like BP, ExxonMobil or Shell, or a combination of both. 

Many countries simply do not allow outsiders to audit the size of these fields. 

This is especially true of the major Middle East oil producers of OPEC and the countries of the former Soviet Union. 

Some believe that reserves stated by OPEC countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are not accurate. 

"There are a lot of questions to answer over OPEC reserves," says Bruce Evers of Investec Bank. "The quality of overall oil market data is poor, but with OPEC there remains considerable debate over the reliability of their reserve estimates." 

Sudden revisions 

One of the main reasons is that in the 1980s OPEC decided to switch to a quota production system based on the size of reserves. 

The larger the reserves a country said it had the more it could pump. 

The more it could pump the more money it could make. 

As a result in 1985 Kuwait revised its reserve estimates by 50% overnight. 

It was soon followed by United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Iraq. In 1988 Saudi Arabia became the last to join the revised reserve estimates party, adding a whopping 88bn barrels. 

Unexplained changes 

"Something needs to be done," says Mr Evers. "OPEC have never fully explained the reasons behind these changes, they have never issued any guidelines. The market needs to know." 

Although previous estimates may have been conservative, what troubles some analysts is that twenty years later, these reserve estimates are unchanged, in fact some have increased. 

Whilst it is obviously possible to add reserves by new field discoveries it can seem a perplexing situation to market makers. 

Kuwait for example still claim exactly the same reserve level as they had in 1985 despite pumping millions of barrels every day since then. 

Nor are company estimates any better, with Shell forced to make four revisions downwards of its official reserves since 2002, losing around 4.8bn barrels and damaging its share price. 

Unclear figures 

Even current figures for OPEC production are unclear. 

OPEC say they are producing exactly 28 million barrels a day (mbpd). 

This includes their latest 500,000 barrels per day increase announced at their last quarterly meeting by Kuwaiti oil minister Al-Sabbah. 

But OPEC have also admitted that their members break their own quotas to take advantage of high prices. 

So is it really 28mbpd? 

The International Energy Agency says OPEC pumped 29.3 mbpd in May 2005. 

The IEA say this is actually a fall from April 2005 of 55,000bpd. 

Who is correct? "There is no official OPEC output data," says Mr Horsnell. "They just kind of pass on the data they are given by their member countries. It is really not that easy for OPEC, you can't blame them, it is down to their members." 

Forecasting demand 

"I don't rate IEA data either," says Mr Evers. "They have horrendously underestimated demand in the past, it is one of the reasons we are where we are now. They are little more than a data collection agency, and the data they are given is already tarnished." 

It is no easier to forecast the future demand for oil, and analysts are growing increasingly sceptical of oil company attempts to do so. 

Energy Files director Dr Michael Smith said "it is no longer appropriate to accept glib demand forecasts from oil companies, financial institutions and government suggestions that oil consumption will grow to up to 120 million barrels per day by 2020 and that automobile and airline traffic will increase at extraordinary rates are futile and damaging." 

But Paul Horsnell says that gaps between data-sets can in fact show up areas of the oil market that need careful study. 

"Take Russian production as an example," he says. "There are all kinds of rosy forecasts and then there are people like me who think it's all rather bad news. But there are many reasons about why it is impossible to measure oil, it's a liquid for a start. 

"There are huge margins of error with oil data and it has to be treated as such. It's the nature of the product. Thinking you can measure it to the eighth decimal point, well, it's just a waste of time." 

As oil prices continue to soar, the lack of accurate data could make it harder for the oil market to predict its future direction. 

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/07/15 06:54:23 GMT


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Raining Hydrocarbons In the Gulf Of Mexico

Raining hydrocarbons in the Gulf
World Is Awash With Oil - Just ONE Of Many Examples

Below the Gulf of Mexico, hydrocarbons flow upward through an intricate
network of conduits and reservoirs. They start in thin layers of source
rock and, from there, buoyantly rise to the surface. On their way up, the
hydrocarbons collect in little rivulets, and create temporary pockets
like rain filling a pond. Eventually most escape to the ocean. And, this
is all happening now, not millions and millions of years ago, says Larry
Cathles, a chemical geologist at Cornell University.

[Gulf_map.jpg] "We're dealing with this giant flow-through system where
the hydrocarbons are generating now, moving through the overlying strata
now, building the reservoirs now and spilling out into the ocean now,"
Cathles says.

He's bringing this new view of an active hydrocarbon cycle to industry,
hoping it will lead to larger oil and gas discoveries. By matching the
chemical signatures of the oil and gas with geologic models for the
structures below the seafloor, petroleum geologists could tap into
reserves larger than the North Sea, says Cathles, who presented his
findings at the meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans
on March 27.

This canvas image of the study area shows the top of salt surface (salt
domes are spikes) in the Gas Research Institute study area and four areas
of detailed study (stratigraphic layers). The oil fields seen here are
Tiger Shoals, South Marsh Island 9 (SMI 9), the South Eugene Island Block
330 area (SEI 330), and Green Canyon 184 area (Jolliet reservoirs). In
this area, 125 kilometers by 200 kilometers, Larry Cathles of Cornell
University and his team estimate hydrocarbon reserves larger than those
of the North Sea. Image by Larry Cathles.

Cathles and his team estimate that in a study area of about 9,600 square
miles off the coast of Louisiana, source rocks a dozen kilometers down
have generated as much as 184 billion tons of oil and gas  about 1,000
billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent. "That's 30 percent more than
we humans have consumed over the entire petroleum era," Cathles says.
"And that's just this one little postage stamp area; if this is going on
worldwide, then there's a lot of hydrocarbons venting out."

According to a 2000 assessment from the Minerals Management Service
(MMS), the mean undiscovered, conventionally recoverable resources in the
Gulf of Mexico offshore continental shelf are 71 billion barrels of oil
equivalent. But, says Richie Baud of MMS, not all those resources are
economically recoverable and they cannot be directly compared to Cathles'
numbers, because "our assessment only includes those hydrocarbon
resources that are conventionally recoverable whereas their study
includes unconventionally recoverable resources." Future MMS assessments,
Baud says, may include unconventionally recoverable resources, such as
gas hydrates.

Of that huge resource of naturally generated hydrocarbons, Cathles says,
more than 70 percent have made their way upward through the vast network
of streams and ponds, venting into the ocean, at a rate of about 0.1 ton
per year. The escaped hydrocarbons then become food for bacteria, helping
to fuel the oceanic food web. Another 10 percent of the Gulf's total
hydrocarbons are hidden in the subsurface, representing about 60 billion
barrels of oil and 374 trillion cubic feet of gas that could be
extracted. The remaining hydrocarbons, about 20 percent, stay trapped in
the source strata.

Driving the venting process is the replacement of deep, carbonate-sourced
Jurassic hydrocarbons by shale-sourced, Eocene hydrocarbons. Determining
the ratio between the younger and older hydrocarbons, based on their
chemical signatures, is key to understanding the migration paths of the
oil and gas and the potential volume waiting to be tapped. "If the Eocene
source matures and its chemical signature is going to be seen near the
surface, it's got to displace all that earlier generated hydrocarbon 
that's the secret of getting a handle on this number," Cathles says.

Another important key to understanding hydrocarbon migration is "gas
washing," Cathles adds. A relatively new process his research team
discovered in the Gulf work, gas washing refers to the regular
interaction of oil with large amounts of natural gas. In the northern
area of Cathles' study area, he estimates that gas carries off 90 percent
of the oil.

Ed Colling, senior staff geologist at ChevronTexaco, says that
identifying the depth at which gas washing occurs could be extremely
useful in locating deeper oil reserves. "If you make a discovery, by back
tracking the chemistry and seeing where the gas washing occurred, you
have the opportunity to find deeper oil," he says.

Using such information in combination with the active hydrocarbon flow
model Cathles' team produced and already existing 3-D seismic analyses
could substantially improve accuracy in drilling for oil and gas, Colling
says. ChevronTexaco, which funds Cathles' work through the Global Basins
Research Network, has been working to integrate the technologies.
(Additional funding comes from the Gas Research Institute.)

"All the players are looking for bigger reserves than what's on shore,"
Colling says. And deep water changes the business plan. With each well a
multibillion dollar investment, the discovery must amount to at least
several hundred million barrels of oil and gas for the drilling to be
economic. Chemical signatures and detailed basin models are just more
tools to help them decide where to drill, he says.

"A big part of the future of exploration is being able to effectively use
chemical information," Cathles says. Working in an area with more oil by
at least a factor of two than the North Sea, he says he hopes that his
models will help companies better allocate their resources. But equally
important, Cathles says, is that his work is shifting the way people
think about natural hydrocarbon vent systems  from the past to the

Lisa M. Pinsker

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There Are More Oil Seeps Than All The Tankers On Earth

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- source

  There Are More Oil Seeps Than All The Tankers On Earth 

          Deep underwater, and deeper underground, scientists see surprising hints that gas and oil deposits can be replenished, filling up again, sometimes rapidly. Although it sounds too good to be true, increasing evidence from the Gulf of Mexico suggests that some old oil fields are being refilled by petroleum surging up from deep below, scientists report. That may mean that current estimates of oil and gas abundance are far too low.

  Recent measurements in a major oil field show "that the fluids were changing over time; that very light oil and gas were being injected from below, even as the producing [oil pumping] was going on," said chemical oceanographer Mahlon "Chuck" Kennicutt. "They are refilling as we speak. But whether this is a worldwide phenomenon, we don't know."

  Also not known, Kennicutt said, is whether the injection of new oil from deeper strata is of any economic significance, whether there will be enough to be exploitable. The discovery was unexpected, and it is still "somewhat controversial" within the oil industry.

           Kennicutt, a faculty member at Texas A&M University, said it is now clear that gas and oil are coming into the known reservoirs very rapidly in terms of geologic time. The inflow of new gas, and some oil, has been detectable in as little as three to 10 years. In the past, it was not suspected that oil fields can refill because it was assumed the oil formed in place, or nearby, rather than far below.

  According to marine geologist Harry Roberts, at Louisiana State University, "petroleum geologists don't accept it as a general phenomenon because it doesn't happen in most reservoirs. But in this case, it does seem to be happening. You have a very leaky fault system that does allow it to migrate in. It's directly connected to an oil and gas generating system at great depth."

  What the scientists suspect is that very old petroleum -- formed tens of millions of years ago -- has continued migrating up into reservoirs that oil companies have been exploiting for years. But no one had expected that depleted oil fields might refill themselves.

           Now, if it is found that gas and oil are coming up in significant amounts, and if the same is occurring in oil fields around the globe, then a lot more fuel than anyone expected could become available eventually. It hints that the world may not, in fact, be running out of petroleum.

  "No one has been more astonished by the potential implications of our work than myself," said analytic chemist Jean Whelan, at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts. "There already appears to be a large body of evidence consistent with ... oil and gas generation and migration on very short time scales in many areas globally," she wrote in the journal Sea Technology.

  "Almost equally surprising," she added, is that "there seem to be no compelling arguments refuting the existence of these rapid, dynamic migration processes."

            The first sketchy evidence of this emerged in 1984, when Kennicutt and colleagues from Texas A&M University were in the Gulf of Mexico trying to understand a phenomenon called "seeps," areas on the seafloor where sometimes large amounts of oil and gas escape through natural fissures.

  "Our first discovery was with trawls. We knew it was an area of massive seepage, and we expected that the oil seeps would poison everything around" the site. But they found just the opposite.

             "On the first trawl, we brought up over two tons of stuff. We had a tough time getting the nets back on board because they were so full" of very odd-looking sea.floor creatures, Kennicutt said. "They were long strawlike things that turned out to be tube worms.

  "The clams were the first thing I noticed," he added. "They were pretty big, like the size of your hand, and it was obvious they had red blood inside, which is unusual. And these long tubes -- 3, 4 and 5 feet long -- we didn't know what they were, but they started bleeding red fluid, too. We didn't know what to make of it."

  The biologists they consulted did know what to make of it. "The experts immediately recognized them as chemo-synthetic communities," creatures that get their energy from hydrocarbons -- oil and gas -- rather than from ordinary foods. So these animals are very much like, but still different from, recently discovered creatures living near very hot seafloor vent sites in the Pacific, Atlantic and other oceans.

  The difference, Kennicutt said, is that the animals living around cold seeps live on methane and oil, while the creatures growing near hot water vents exploit sulfur compounds in the hot water.

                    The discovery of abundant life where scientists expected a deserted seafloor also suggested that the seeps are a long-duration phenomenon. Indeed, the clams are thought to be about 100 years old, and the tube worms may live as long as 600 years, or more, Kennicutt said.

  The surprises kept pouring in as the researchers explored further and in more detail using research submarines. In some areas, the methane-metabolizing organisms even build up structures that resemble coral reefs.

  It has long been known by geologists and oil industry workers that seeps exist. In Southern California, for example, there are seeps near Santa Barbara, at a geologic feature called Coal Oil Point. And, Roberts said, it's clear that "the Gulf of Mexico leaks like a sieve. You can't take a submarine dive without running into an oil or gas seep. And on a calm day, you can't take a boat ride without seeing gigantic oil slicks" on the sea surface.

  Roberts added that natural seepage in places like the Gulf of Mexico "far exceeds anything that gets spilled" by oil tankers and other sources.

                    "The results of this have been a big surprise for me," said Whelan. "I never would have expected that the gas is moving up so quickly and what a huge effect it has on the whole system."

  Although the oil industry hasn't shown great enthusiasm for the idea -- arguing that the upward migration is too slow and too uncommon to do much good -- the search for new oil and gas supplies already has been affected, Whelan and Kennicutt said. Now, companies scan the sea surface for signs of oil slicks that might point to new deposits.

  "People are using airplane surveys for the slicks and are doing water column fluorescence measurements looking for the oil," Whelan said. "They're looking for the sources of the seeps and trying to hook that into the seismic evidence" normally used in searching for buried oil.

  Similar research on known oil basins in the North Sea is also under way, and "that oil is very interesting. There are absolutely marvelous pictures of coral reefs which formed from seepage [of gas] from North Sea reservoirs," Whelan said.

  Analysis of the ancient oil that seems to be coming up from deep below in the Gulf of Mexico suggests that the flow of new oil "is coming from deeper, hotter formations" and is not simply a lateral inflow from the old deposits that surround existing oil fields, she said. The chemical composition of the migrating oil also indicates it is being driven upward and is being altered by highly pressurized gases squeezing up from below.

  This upwelling phenomenon, Whelan noted, fits into a classic analysis of the world's oil and gas done years ago by geochemist-geologist John Hunt. He suggested that less than 1 percent of the oil that is generated at depth ever makes it into exploitable reservoirs. About 40 percent of the oil and gas remains hidden, spread out in the tiny pores and fissures of deep sedimentary rock formations.

  And "the remaining 60 percent," Whelan said, "leaks upward and out of the sediment" via the numerous seeps that occur globally.

             Also, the idea that dynamic migration of oil and gas is occurring implies that new supplies "are not only charging some reservoirs at the present time, but that a huge fraction of total oil and gas must be episodically or continuously bypassing reservoirs completely and seeping from surface sediments on a relatively large scale," Whelan explained.

  So far, measurements involving biological and geological analysis, plus satellite images, "show widespread and pervasive leakage over the entire northern slope of the Gulf of Mexico," she added.

            "For example, Ian MacDonald at Texas A&M has published some remarkable satellite photographs of oil slicks which go for miles in the Gulf of Mexico in areas where no oil production is occurring." Before this research in oil basins began, she added, "changes in reservoired oils were not suspected, so no reliable data exists on how widespread the phenomenon might be in the Gulf Coast or elsewhere."

  The researchers, especially the Texas team, have been working on this subject for almost 15 years in collaboration with oil industry experts and various university scientists. Their first focus was on the zone called South Eugene Island block 330, which is 150 miles south of New Orleans. It is known as one of the most productive oil and gas fields in the world. The block lies in water more than 300 feet deep.

  As a test, the researchers attempted to drill down into a known fault zone that was thought to be a natural conduit for new petroleum. The drilling was paid for by the U.S. Department of Energy.

            Whelan recalled that as the drill dug deeper and deeper, the project seemed to be succeeding, but then it abruptly ended in failure. "We were able to produce only a small amount of oil before the fault closed, like a giant straw," probably because reducing the pressure there allowed the fissure to collapse.

  In addition to the drilling effort and the inspection of seeps, Whelan and her colleagues reported that three-dimensional seismic profiles of the underground reservoirs commonly show giant gas plumes coming from depth and disrupting sediments all the way to the surface.

               This also shows that in an area west of the South Eugene Island area, a giant gas plume originates from beneath salt about 15,000 feet down and then disrupts the sediment layers all the way to the surface. The surface expression of this plume is very large -- about 1,500 feet in diameter. One surprise, Whelan said, was that the gas plume seems to exist outside of faults, the ground fractures, which at present are the main targets of oil exploration.

  It is suspected that the process of upward migration of petroleum is driven by natural gas that is being continually produced both by deeply buried bacteria and from oil being broken down in the deeper, hotter layers of sediment. The pressures and heat at great depth are thought to be increasing because the ground is sinking -- subsiding -- as a result of new sediments piling up on top. The site is part of the huge delta formed over thousands of years by the southward flow of the massive Mississippi River. Like other major deltas, the Mississippi's outflow structure is continually being built from sands, muds and silts washed off the continent.

  Analysis of the oil being driven into the reservoirs suggests they were created during the so-called Jurassic and Early Cretaceous periods (100 million to 150 million years ago), even before the existing basin itself was formed. This means the source rock is buried and remains invisible to seismic imaging beneath layers of salt.

                In studying so-called biomarkers in the oil, Whelan said, it was concluded that the oil is closely related to other very old oils, implying that it "was probably generated very early and then remained trapped at depth until recently." And, she added, other analyses "show that this oil must have remained trapped at depths and temperatures much greater than those of the present-day producing reservoirs."

  At great depth, where the heat and pressure are high enough, she explained, methane is produced by oil being "cracked," and production of gas "is able to cause sufficient pressure to periodically open the fracture system and allow upward fluid flow of methane, with entrapment of oil in its path."

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

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Black Gold Stranglehold' shoots up charts Book explodes myths of oil shortages



'Black Gold Stranglehold' shoots up charts
Book explodes myths of oil shortages, sources


Posted: October 27, 2005
10:28 a.m. Eastern


"Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil," a new book that challenges notions that oil is a "fossil fuel" and that the world is running out of it, is skyrocketing up the best-sellers lists before its official debut tomorrow. 

The authors did an unprecedented four-hour interview with George Noory on "Coast to Coast AM," a national overnight radio program, last night. A tape of the show can be heard via the "Coast to Coast AM" website. 

It currently is listed at No. 10 among non-fiction best sellers at Amazon - and rising - and is No. 56 overall. The book has risen to No. 3 in the economics category and No. 5 in politics. 

"Black Gold Stranglehold" also disputes alarmist predictions that oil prices will be rising to $190 a barrel next year with gas prices going to $6 a gallon. 

"Last year, we predicted that we would see $3-per-gallon gasoline and we did," said Craig Smith, chief executive officer of Swiss America Trading Corporation and co-author along with Jerome Corsi. "Light crude for November fell $2.21 to $60.20 per barrel. To say that we will see $190 per barrel is a scare tactic that ties in with the message that we are running out of oil, which we are not." 

Smith specifically pointed to predictions by "oil guru" Matt Simmons. 

"Simply stated, we believe those who say we are running out of oil are wrong," he said. "We have plenty, maybe even an exhaustible amount available deep within the earth. We are sitting on more proven petroleum reserves than ever before, despite the increasing rate at which we are consuming petroleum products. New and gigantic oilfields are being discovered at an increasing rate, in places the fossil fuel theory would never have predicted possible. If we are running out of oil, why are worldwide oil reserves today at historically high levels? Since 1980, proven oil reserves have gone from 645 billion barrels to 1.28 trillion barrels." 

The problem, Smith says, is not oil scarcity, but rather, a refining crisis. 

"Today, the U.S. oil industry is sitting on a quantity of oil reserves that has never been higher," says Smith. "Still, we have built no new refineries, and the refineries in operation are producing at or near capacity." 

"Black Gold Stranglehold," co-written with Jerome Corsi, debunks the myth that the world is running out of oil through clear and compelling research based on the abiotic theory of oil. The abiotic theory asserts that oil is not a product of decaying dinosaurs and prehistoric forests. The scientific evidence cited in "Black Gold Stranglehold" suggests that oil is constantly being produced by the earth, far below the earth's surface, and that it is brought to attainable depths by the centrifugal forces of the earth's rotation. 

Buy "Black Gold Stranglehold." 

Related story: 

Corsi, Smith on 'Coast to Coast AM' 

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Forget everything you know about oil 

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