Nowhere Near The Peak

One of the most pernicious of predictions made by the eco-left is the prediction that we will soon (or already have) run out of oil. I say pernicious because the notion is put out there without proof for the purpose of wrecking (or at least, severely reducing) economic activities.

It’s a plausible notion, if only because it plays on our fears that we’re part of some grand zero-sum game. It also sounds “scientific” because it draws on a memory: We once heard that oil comes from dinosaurs, and no more is being created. The idea that we’ve past the peak of oil production has been especially viral these past few years, the failures of Malthusianism not withstanding.

A major new oil find in Brazil does more than push back the date of our demise. It lends credence to an idea that frightens the pessimists. You see, these fields and several being drilled in Russia, are very deep – much deeper than any dinosaur bones are going to be. Indeed, they’re deep enough that most existing explanations for their existence needs to be – um – revised.

In 1999, [Thomas] Gold published “The Deep Hot Biosphere,” a paper that postulated that coal and oil are produced not by the decomposition of organic materials, but in fact are “abiogenic” — the product of tectonic forces; i.e., deeply embedded hydrocarbons being brought up and through the earth’s mantle and transformed into their present states by bacteria living in the earth’s crust.

The majority of the world’s scientists scoff at Gold’s theory, and “fossil fuel” remains the accepted descriptor of oil. Yet in recent years Russia has quietly become the world’s top producer of oil, in part by drilling wells as deep as 40,000 feet — far below the graveyards of T-Rex and his Mesozoic buddies.

Is it possible that Thomas Gold was right again, and that the earth is actually still producing oil? It’s tantalizing to think so.

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