ABIOTIC OIL AND THE EUGENE ISLAND CONTROVERSY
In the West it is almost universally held that all oil and gas is derived from fossils. This is not the case elsewhere, particularly among Russian and Ukrainian scientists who have, over several generations, tenaciously propounded the notion that oil and gas are abiotic, can be found deep below the surface of the earth in most parts of the world and in very large amounts.
An abiogenic hypothesis was first proposed by Georgius Agricola in the 16th century and various additional abiogenic hypotheses were proposed in the 19th century, most notably by Prussian geographer Alexander von Humboldt, the French chemist Marcellin Berthelot and the Russian chemist and inventor Dmitry Mendeleev. Mendeleev is best remembered for formulating the Periodic Law and creating in 1863 a farsighted version of the periodic table of elements. Abiogenic hypotheses were revived in the last half of the 20th century by Soviet scientists who had little influence outside the Soviet Union because most of their research was published in Russian. The hypothesis was re-defined and made popular in the West by Thomas Gold who developed his theories from 1979 to 1998, and published his research in English.
The Gulf of Mexico Eugene Island Block 330 field, located about 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana is often cited by the proponents of the abiotic oil theory. Depleted oil wells found themselves, as if by magic, suddenly replenished with new oil, and no one could say exactly why.
Eugene Island is a submerged mountain with landscape riven with deep fissures and faults from which spew spontaneous belches of gas and oil. Up on the surface, a platform designated Eugene Island 330 began producing about 15,000 barrels of oil per day in the early 1970s. By 1989, the flow had dwindled to 4,000 barrels per day. Then, suddenly, production zoomed to 13,000 barrels. In addition, estimated reserves rocketed from 60 to 400 million barrels. Even more anomalous is the discovery that the geological age of today’s oil is quite different from that recovered 10 years ago.
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the oil reservoir at Eugene Island is rapidly refilling itself from “some continuous source miles below the earth’s surface.” In support of this surmise, analysis of seismic records revealed a deep fault which “was gushing oil like a garden hose.” The deep-seated oil source at Eugene Island strongly supports Thomas Gold’s theory about The Deep Hot Biosphere. Gold is a respected astronomer and professor emeritus at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Hew has held for years that oil is actually a renewable, primordial syrup continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As this substance migrates toward the surface, it is attacked by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the dinosaurs.
The apparent deep-seated oil source at Eugene Island and Gold’s ideas make petroleum engineers wonder about a similar situation at the seemingly inexhaustible oil fields of the Middle East. Norman Hyne, a professor at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, said, “The Middle East has more than doubled its reserves in the past decades, despite half a century of intense exploitation and relatively few new discoveries. It would take a pretty big pile of dead dinosaurs and prehistoric plants to account for the estimated 660 billion barrels of oil in the region.”
Western geologists and scientists find the theory either annoying or amusing and refuse to consider it seriously although there are exceptions. The theory continues to be held in much higher regard by Russian scientists and geologists for historical and perhaps ideological reasons.
About the Eugene Island field controversy most petroleum scientists believe that the depletion profile is adequately explained by replenishment from deeper reservoirs of normal biologically derived petroleum. In regard to oil depletion concerns, while the rate went up again in the early 1990s along with the overall estimated recoverable petroleum, the rate has since declined.
(Source: U.S. News/Advanced Earth and Space Science/Peak Oil/Wikipedia/metaoceanic)