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Abiotic oil theory vs fossil fuel theory

  1. Dec 20, 2006 #1
    So I'm starting to read up on some of this stuff on the internet but most the argument counterargument seems to be from the same sources Gold vs peak oil theorist. Is this debate so far concluded in academics that no research is being published in journals? What is the curret status of the abiotic oil theory? I realize that the subject matter is hard to study since we can't reliably monitor whats going on deep with in the earth as far as I know. So are we going to have to wait several decades for proof/disproof or do we have enough evidence from what comes out of the ground to end the debate?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2006 #2
    Sorry, I'm lazy, can you sum up what you know about the 'abiotic oil theory' for me.

    All the oil that has been successfully mined thus far, is to my knowledge, biotic in origin. In fact a lot of research has gone into this, I'd go as far as to say, that hydrocarbon evolution has been very well researched indeed!

    With the state of science today, we can say with confidence that oil is not formed in the deep earth; even though it is true that the deep earth is extremely difficult to monitor, this should not be a factor concerning us. Even if it is in the deep earth (highly improbable!) the energy expended in drilling for it would exceed the energy returned by the oil itself. Also trying to make oil abiotically ourselves would probably be a similarly fruitless endeavour.
  4. Dec 22, 2006 #3
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  5. Dec 22, 2006 #4
    Not saying the theory is true but, from what I recall, part of the theory has the abiotic oil seeping from deep underground and replenishing existing deposits.
  6. Dec 22, 2006 #5
    Even if that were true the hydraulic conductivity of deep rock and oil is quite low, low enough to make waiting for the reservoir to replenish an expensive process.
  7. Dec 22, 2006 #6
    There are two schools of thought among those who hold the abiotic oil theory, one school thinks that replenishment is too slow to be of any use, while the other claims replenishment that keeps pace with, or even outpaces, withdrawl. From what I've read, claims about rapid replenishment involve methane and light oil through fault lines in sedimentary rock. However, much of the replenishment numbers seem to have been debunked by further studies. Here is a basic paper on the issue with good references.

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2006
  8. May 30, 2010 #7
    If oil comes only from fossil fuel, then why is oil being found at 30,000 feet, and organic matter isn't found below 16,000 feet?.
    Just asking.
  9. Jun 5, 2010 #8
    A lot of the really deep oil is in sedimentry basins where there has been tens and hundreds of millions of years of sedimentry deposits from outflowing rivers. For example alot of the very deep stuff in the gulf of Mexico basicaly has the Appalachians lying on top of it. Since they rose they have been being weathered and that sediment has been flowing out to the Mississipi delta. This has left the GOM with a huge amount of sediment where the weight of it pushes the older layers deeper into the crust.

    I cant speak for other very deep oil deposits such as Tupi\ Sugar Loaf in Brazil but this is linked to the break up of Africa and South American with mirroring deep water deposits of the coast of Angola.
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