October 10, 2010
Sustainable Oil Production?By John McLaughlin
Who would have thought the current controversy over manmade global warming could lead to significant rethinking of the entire climate change phenomenon and, as an unintended consequence, shatter another environmental group-think error involving sustainable oil production? Stick with me here. We need to review some history first.
Climate change alarmists, seeking to bolster their theory of the hypothetical properties of carbon dioxide to foster manmade global warming, devised the concept of radiant energy balance. The problem is that all such concepts to date specify solar radiation as the primary source of energy for Earth's climate system. Unfortunately, not only is this fundamentally flawed science, it has made it difficult to fully explain variations in ocean temperatures causing such well-known regional phenomena as the Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation,.
Any correct science model of physical phenomena must include all variables and constants. Missing from the current models is the heat input originating from the molten material forming the core of our planet and upon which the thin crust floats. A Canadian engineer estimates this core heat could range from 75% to nearly 100% of that received on earth originating from the sun. So why ignore something of such potential magnitude? Because core heat flow remains difficult to precisely quantify. Not only is little really known about the source of that heat, but its impact on climate appears discontinuous due to the movement of tectonic plates forming the crust.
However, as more and more scientists begin to realize what has been overlooked, focus is shifting to theories proposed over the last couple of decades which may provide the key to not only explain certain climate change phenomena but could lead to new conclusions about petroleum production. What is that key? It involves recognition of the potential source of the heat -- a nuclear fission reactor at or near the very center of the planet.
Current conventional wisdom holds that petroleum products result from accumulation of ancient biomass. Oil is said to form from preserved remains of prehistoric algae and zooplankton through a process called diagenesis.
In the late 19th Century, Dmitri Mendelev, renowned Russian chemist and inventor who achieved great fame when he proposed the first version of a periodic table of elements, studied petroleum hydrocarbons. He concluded hydrocarbons originated from carbon deposits in the depths of the earth perhaps dating back to the formation of the planet and could be formed by chemical combination under suitable temperatures and pressures without need for biomass. Astronomical observations of vast amounts of methane on other planets and moons (such on Saturn's Titan) -- obviously formed without the benefit of biomass -- supported this theory.
Such observations prompted Thomas Gold (1920-2004), an astronomy professor at Cornell University, to conclude that, since petroleum and its component hydrocarbons were present across the entire universe, including in meteorites and captured interplanetary dust, there was no reason to believe that only on Earth could they come from a biological origin. Further, he pondered a mystery about helium, one of the essential elements of the universe, present in trace amounts everywhere in nature yet never chemically combining like, say, hydrogen and oxygen do to form water. Yet the only place on Earth helium is ever found in abundance is with pools of petroleum underground.
Thus, Gold theorized that oil and gas were born out of the Big Bang and trapped in the Earth 4.5 billion years ago in randomly dispersed molecular form. But, the intense heat of Earth's volcanic core "sweats them out" of the rocks that contain them, sending petroleum compounds and helium migrating upward through the porous deep Earth because they are more fluid and weigh less. Gold believed that, in a region between 10 and 300 kilometers deep, the hydrocarbons nourished vast colonies of microbes where all of earthly life began and where today a vastly greater mass of living things exist than on the surface of the planet. The migrating oil and gas swept up the biological wreckage of this life as they percolated upward, together with molecules of helium, all of which eventually became trapped and concentrated in near-surface reservoirs where oil is usually found.
When, in the late 1970s, Gold discovered that major oil-producing regions in the Middle East and southeast Asia were defined by large scale patterns in surface geology and topography, such as deep fault lines, he proposed a drilling project at Lake Siljan in central Sweden near a large meteor crater. While the project found an oily sludge at about 20,000 feet, Gold could not convince critics that it came from mantle flow. A second bore hole also discovered oil, but it too failed to provide convincing proof of Gold's theory.
Meanwhile, geologists in the Soviet Union were well along in formulating similar abiogenic hypotheses of oil production. In 1970, they began a major drilling project on the Kola Peninsula, near the Norwegian border, seeking a better understanding of the earth's crust. Scientists expected to find a geologic zone, known to exist because of seismic recordings, marking a transition between granite and denser basalt which would add credence to abiogenic theory. Instead, to their surprise, they found a layer of metamorphic rock (rock which has been intensively reworked by heat and pressure) extending about 3 to 6 miles beneath the surface. This rock had been thoroughly fractured and surprisingly saturated with water at depths where free water should not be found.
Three other big surprises came from the project. First, the Russians found a menagerie of microscopic fossils -- 24 distinct species of plankton microfossils as deep as 4 miles below the surface -- covered with carbon and nitrogen rather than the typical limestone or silica. Despite the harsh environment of heat and pressure once thought impossible to sustain life, the microscopic remains were remarkably intact. A second surprise was how quickly temperatures rose as the borehole deepened. At just 12 km (approximately 7 miles) down, temperatures exceeded 350O F at pressures where rocks began to act more like a plastic than a solid. The borehole had a tendency to flow closed whenever the drill bit was pulled out for replacement -- the factor which ultimately halted all progress in 1992. Finally, the Russians complained of mud flowing out of the hole described as "boiling" with hydrogen. Where did that come from?
Spurred on by the Russian findings and a 1990 discovery of crude oil in a 6-kilometer-deep well drilled in long-presumed oil-free granite of central Sweden (which he viewed as only explainable by migrating petroleum), Gold postulated an inexhaustible supply of petroleum constantly percolating outward from Earth's volcanic core. Convinced that he was onto something significant, Gold published his theory in a 1992 paper. "The Deep Hot Biosphere", followed seven years later by a book with the same name. However, as skeptics of manmade global warming would appreciate, some geologists were so incensed by Gold's ideas they petitioned to have the government remove all mention of it from the nation's libraries. Gold called the action "an effort at book-burning, pure and simple," but it had the desired effect of discrediting his work.
Now it appears that Gold may indeed have been correct about abiogenic oil production. He just did not correctly conceive of another means by which it could occur. J. Marvin Herndon, an American scientist with degrees in physics and nuclear chemistry, concluded that the conventional wisdom of a rock shell (the mantle) surrounding a hot fluid core could not, at the temperature and pressure at the center of the Earth, sustain long-term convectional heat transfer. Instead, beginning in 1993, Herndon published the first of a series of scientific articles revealing the background, feasibility and evidence of a nuclear fission reactor, called the georeactor, at Earth's center. The georeactor could provide the energy source for heating Earth's core. In addition, the nuclear reaction would provide the atoms needed for petroleum production, maintain earth's geomagnetic field (including solving riddles of geomagnetic field variability), and produce large quantities of deep-Earth helium.
While other scientists have proposed similar ideas, Herndon described a surprisingly large georeactor inside Earth's 2400-km core consisting of a uranium sub-core surrounded by a shell -- all approximately 24 km (17 miles) in diameter -- containing fission products and products of radioactive decay which form "a slurry or a fluid." Such a slurry would sustain convection in the microgravity environment within the shell allowing lighter (low atomic number) fission products, including carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and helium to flow outward while heavier actinides remained to sustain the critical mass needed for continuing fission.
Thus, given the heat and pressure environment of the outer core and surrounding mantle, it becomes no great scientific leap to postulate (as did Mendelev) molecular bonding of the elemental carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen into simple molecules of methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen dioxide (water). The simple molecules, along with free helium isotopes and hydrogen, would continue to rise upward migrating within the near-liquid lower crust. There, following the scenario laid out by Thomas Gold nearly 20 years ago, the molecules would settle in reservoirs forming the sources of petroleum with an organic fingerprint and accompanying helium found today -- providing a renewable and virtually inexhaustible supply.
Thus, as researchers dig deeper into sources of climate change, we must seriously consider the concept of a molten Earth core fed by nuclear waste from a georeactor at its center emitting heat as well as the elements to form hydrocarbons creating petroleum. With great heat (including an abundance of CO2) escaping the crust by mechanisms such as hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor triggering major events such as El Nino ocean warming, we may be getting closer to climate change truth than the mythology of "man-made climate disruption."
This makes a lot of sense to me.ReplyDelete
I have noticed a few sites have changed the way they imbed links and data, including advertising.
I have taken the position that when posting an article, it not be edited and that we do not advertise and benefit from someone else's original work.
It is more accurate to post the entire thing or none of it. I keep my comment separate from the work or in many cases add none at all, using the comment section as everyone else does.
I am making an assumption that someone has figured out a way to have a greater revenue stream for their site and in the future if ads are imbedded, I will not strip them off.
What say you Whit?ReplyDelete
It is all about the decorum, not the content, right?ReplyDelete
... were so incensed by Gold's ideas they petitioned to have the government remove all mention of it from the nation's libraries. Gold called the action "an effort at book-burning, pure and simple," but it had the desired effect of discrediting his work.
Now it appears that Gold may indeed have been correct ...
The creation of oil as an ongoing process makes more sense than a one time event which occurred eons ago. That said, using up in a couple of hundred year, oil reservoirs which have accumulated over eons doesn't make sense.ReplyDelete
I think of oil as a reduction. Add heat and pressure, cook off the lighter stuff and voila!
I think of earth's core as a giant incinerator and volcanoes are it's smoke stacks. Pressure forces geological and organics into the core where they're burned up and reduced. Building pressures are released periodically and the debris is added to the earth's surface.
This is a continuous loop. A big question in this theory is man's ability to use up the reduction faster than it is produced.
When the Rulers and Masters decide that the content is "garbage", well, there you are.ReplyDelete
It those that believe they are Rulers and Masters to decided what topics can be discussed and which are verbotten. Which are pertinent and which are just beyond the norm.
True in geology, true in politics, just another incontrovertible truth, for those book burning authoritarians that are more concerned about decorum than intellectual content.
I can see your point and think the method possibly provides some inoculation but I don't like to post long articles clipped from elsewhere.ReplyDelete
I rather clip parts, make my comments and link to the original.
I don't think long articles work at the EB regardless of whether they're copied from elsewhere or are original content.
Many commenters at the EB, (especially some of the regulars) often disregard the post altogether or glean a line or two which can be used as cover to advance an ongoing agenda, meme or feud.ReplyDelete
I hesitate to ask about Bob's comments about Barney Frank.ReplyDelete
You mean they had nothing to do with the post or were about Barney's predilections.ReplyDelete
Won't matter much if the magnetic poles reverse in 2012.ReplyDelete
We'll all be dead.
Or most of us.
Sean Bielat is only 35 years old.
That's enough to make me bipolar.
In the NYTimes, Friedman writes:ReplyDelete
I still find it amazing that with all the climate, security, health and financial interests America has in reducing its dependence on oil, our Congress could not work out an energy bill over the past two years...
I was going to say that is where my agreement ended. As I thought about it though, I'm not sure that I even agree with that.
I've lost faith in Washington, D.C. I think the nation is better off when DC is shut off. I don't think a politician's primary role is to write national policy. When a state sends a Congressman or Senator to Washington, that official's primary role is to protect his or her state against an ever-growing Federal entity.
Thomas Friedman: An X-Ray of Dysfunction
I agree with Friedman on this -
DC is dysfunctional.
I think Steve Forbes had it 100% correct, the only solution is to starve the beast.ReplyDelete
Glenn Beck did a nice piece on Fabian socialism as the belief in the inevitability of gradualism; Gramscian indoctrination being a more choreographed version.ReplyDelete
It strikes me that this country is facing a COIN operation at home as demanding as the ambitious program implemented in Iraq and AfPak.
I have long (privately) considered the foreign COIN - ambitious. I'll stay with that word since I am not a scholar in the subject. But on the surface ...
The domestic COIN is more critical, using the term insurgency in a figurative sense for course correction.
All a little apocalyptic for my taste but a conclusion I reached after the Health Care Bill which is looking like a 'hot mess'. The stories I could tell about health care treatment and invoicing practices. All leave the taste of a dirty badly managed industry.
But I know nothing.
Except I thought we were so much better than this.
Well, I don't care if it's brought by the oil faeries; they better find some more of it, and damned quick.ReplyDelete
CL you are far too modest. Do continue.ReplyDelete
Rufus, nothing will ever be done about imported oil until the price is high enough to bring tears to our eyes.ReplyDelete
The only exception to that would be by government edict and that is politically impossible. So we are left with higher prices to do the deed.
There are two possible ways to get higher prices, giving money to the Arabs or higher taxes on consumption.
Take your pick.
The fact is: there are only 3 million bbl/day of new projects coming online in the next 12 months, and only 2.5 million bbl/day coming online in 2012. That's not enough to make up for the decline in flow from existing wells. I've given the link for this before at Wiki Mega-projects.ReplyDelete
Meantime, the Developing World, led by China, India, and the OPEC Nations, themselves, is demanding between 1.5 and 2.0 Million bbl/day More, every year.
It's starting to look like them old Mayans were onto something.
Well, the congress coming up sure as hell isn't going to raise gasoline taxes, so I guess we'll just keep feeding money to the jihadists until finally, some day, some common sense peeks out from under the covers.ReplyDelete
Oil is a $4 Trillion/Yr business. Its power is mind-boggling. We are, essentially, screwed - at least, for awhile.
The "Price" will, eventually, give the game away. Today, Oil is up about 70% from 2005, and "production" is Flat, and getting ready to decline.ReplyDelete
We're looking at oil, probably, in the $100.00 to $120.00/bbl range next Summer, and a return to (Official) Recession shortly thereafter.
I read a comment a while back that I can't duplicate in subtlety, but, in effect, the writer was mentally overloading from global existential stress. What if this? That? Or god forbid?ReplyDelete
The woman's husband (IIRC Trish) was teaching (training?) her to move into a different mental space by redefining the problem sets and one's relationship to them.
Not exactly the same as ignoring a problem in hopes that it will disappear but reaching a more realistic challenge configuration.
It's not my nature to do this but I get tired of hearing myself bitch so I have been trying to self-train.
I have seen what I would call hints of improvement in the quality of the private sector professional work force - an increase in the number who take their jobs seriously and have responsible personal habits and reasonable critical thinking skills. It's not a uniform change by any means, but sporadic both within and among industry sectors (health care and financial services being especially recalcitrant) and I'm not at all convinced it is a trend so much as wishful thinking.
But I see nothing of that sort in the public sector - not even hints. (I am waiting for the news that Sean Bielat is exposed as a transgendered transvestite). As far as I can tell, the debate seems to be whether the nature of a bureaucracy self selects for marginal functionality or vice versa. Those who claim that we don't need smaller government, but more efficient government speak to one side of that debate only.
Regardless of architecture or construction as the source issue, one has to answer any of several questions - energy, health care, and financing being three - before making the claim that "it's not so bad","we've been through worse", or "this too shall pass".
Yes. Yes. I don't think so.
My own view is that there is an optimal size of government relative to human nature. This country is currently stuck with a government that is too big, which implies we, as a country, are stuck with trying to make it somehow better. Right now that means new people. I hope it's enough and I hope it's in time.
In the main I am very, very negative, which is why I don't post much. Enough from Debi Downer for awhile.
A little "negativism" isn't a bad thing, CL; in fact, it's necessary from time to time. You can't fix the problem if you haven't "identified" the problem.ReplyDelete
Right now, I'm getting somewhat intrigued with what Chris Christie is accomplishing in NJ. If he can Fix New Jersey, then he, or someone, can fix the Country.
The Stars would have to "line up" right, but that does happen from time to time. We're all just frustrated, and grouchy right now. Those in power have let us down, and we're pissed at ourselves for not keeping a close enough eye on them.
They told us they would "love us in the morning," and we were stupid enough to believe them.
Couldn't have said it better myself Rufus.ReplyDelete
We're in a bit of a conundrum.ReplyDelete
Spend more to keep the economy from going down the drain completely or shut down Federal deficit spending and risk deflation and millions in breadlines.
With the country so sharply divided, either way, you can expect a bloodbath in 2012 with no incumbent being safe.
Watch out for a charismatic, telegenic populist.
So many people are on government payrolls.ReplyDelete
A quick google suggests 16% of the workforce are government employees.ReplyDelete
I am not worried about oil or a double dip. I am 75% convinced that the Middle East will erupt within the next two years - full-bore. Just too much noise in a region with too much hyper-tension, fast toys and bad books.ReplyDelete
This war may not be over. In fact, you may wonder whether what we have seen so far is but an overture for the main - and much wider - event.
Whit, the only way I can imagine making any meaningful cuts in Government Spanding is to do a 10% Reduction, or somesuch number, "across the board." I mean, "Across the Whole board." Postal Service, Military, Welfare, Social Security - the whole shebang.ReplyDelete
No "if ands or buts." Anything else just ends up in a two year argument, with "nothing" being cut.
Another way of doing it would be the "return to the 2008 Budget" ploy.
I can't see anything else garnering the popular support, necessary.
I'm sticking to it.
Obama's new national security advisor called a 'disaster' by GatesReplyDelete
Ed Lasky adds:
Hey it might have been worse-the deputy NSC adviser, Ben Rhodes, was a frustrated fiction writer who morphed into the Foreign Policy speechwriter for the Obama campaign and then was promoted to be the deputy NSC adviser-with no, zero, military ,intelligence or diplomatic experience. He also was involved in writing the Cairo speech.
Maybe we should count our blessings....
Thomas Lifson adds: Donilon was a lobbyist for Fannie Mae, and fought off regulatory reforms. If he does for national security what he acomplished for the economy, we are doomed.
In the book "Obama's Wars," Woodward writes that, "Gates felt that Donilon did not understand the military or treat its senior leadership with sufficient respect."
"The secretary later told Jones that Donilon would be a ‘disaster' as Obama's national security adviser," Woodward wrote.
Corker likes to express it as 20 percent of the GDP, Rufus, a figure that has more or less held for 50 years until now @26.ReplyDelete
He agrees with you:
No carve outs.
Hewitt says gotta have defense percent gaurantee.
Corker says it's a non-starter, that it would start the arguments all over again at the Giddyup.
Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe.ReplyDelete
From its spot in space — at a place of neutral gravity known as the L2 Lagrange Point — W.M.A.P. did one thing spectacularly well: it observed minute fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, the heat remaining from the Big Bang.
It is hard to overstate just how far this one small satellite has carried us in our understanding of the history of the universe, its character and origin.
It has been little more than half a century since the cosmic background radiation, the residual temperature of the universe, was first discovered. W.M.A.P. succeeded in measuring it in remarkable detail, beyond its designers’ wildest hopes.
There are still many, many mysteries. But suddenly it was possible to say with real precision just how old the universe is — 13.75 billion years — and that it was made up of measurable percentages of things we still don’t understand: 73 percent dark energy and 22.4 dark matter.
Only 4.6 percent is the ordinary kind of matter we actually know something about.
Mat is working on a battery that runs on Dark Energy.ReplyDelete
If someone goes on a three day drunk or is bipolar or whatever, should we leave up everything they write?
What if cutting off an avenue for his cries for help sends him completely off the deep end?
...other fears expressed in previous thread.
"We're all just frustrated, and grouchy right now."
Speak for yourself, Big Boy.
I'm happier than a pig in slop.
Bob reports that he is up also.
Along with the Moon.
Don't Be A Such A RickReplyDelete
Stephen Kruiser walks PJTV viewers through the greatest gaffes of former CNN personality Rick Sanchez.
Also, Kruiser tells you why the brilliant Andrea Tantaros thinks you should not "lean forward" at MSNBC, especially if you are in Keith Olbermann's office.
That mighta been me, or it mighta not been me.ReplyDelete
Woman in a Blue DressReplyDelete
PJ guy is more offensive than Rick!ReplyDelete
What a handsome dude!ReplyDelete
He grew up on the Palouse!ReplyDelete
Fell in love with Melody, and learned shot gunning early!
And knows how to tip his hat!
PJ Guy should be shot.ReplyDelete
Jeeze, almost done.
His lips are perfect.ReplyDelete
He is beautiful, that young man.ReplyDelete
The moon is high, and so am I.ReplyDelete
Old sorority song, from my sis; when we went skinny dipping to gether.
She was a hell of a woman, in her nudes.
I loved her.
I have never posted under any other name.
Don't even know how to.
It's nice, once again, to see someone slander my name across this blog the last couple days.ReplyDelete
The moon is a beautiful golden crescent low on the western horizon.ReplyDelete
It's really wonderful coming up so high, it is lovely, and luscious.ReplyDelete
The moon there, on the horizon.
I usually don't see the same things other people do. From where I'm sitting the moon is dark and shadowed over.ReplyDelete
It is like a crescent, so darling, floating there, Christ, it gets me.ReplyDelete
The everlasting symbol of everlasting life.
Waxing and waning.
Waning and waxing.
But I'm just me.
I usually don't see the same things other people do. From where I'm sitting the moon is dark and shadowed over.ReplyDelete
No..it's all good, I tell you....all good....Melody....
That was bobReplyDelete
It is the boon of our good times .It is the best that we have to offer, it is the most of us.....it is the best we have to offer....O Melody....ReplyDelete
As for abiotic oi: it probably just ain't true. The fact is, all of the oil has been found in the types of rocks predicted by the "Biotic" theory of origination.ReplyDelete
And, that's not just because that's where they've drilled. Many times (hundreds of thousands, at least, I'd guess) they have drilled in rock, right next to the sedimentary rock, that should have, according to the abiotic theory, have had oil. It never has.
Those abiotic boys developed elegant theories, and wrote interesting books, but they Never Found Oil.
What will be interesting is a world without the USA being the USA (Just as the Iranian Mullah's wanted, Obama is giving them)ReplyDelete
China on the rise.
Look for wars to come..
America is being set on a path of dhillihood and 2nd class world status...
This is the Hope and Change Obama and his people have advocated...
From the ANSWER coalition to Acorn, from the American Communist Party to the PLO, all Obama's peeps..
I am with Doug. Leave them up, in case we are needed.ReplyDelete
Britain added its voice to the protest in a statement by Jeremy Browne, a junior foreign minister.ReplyDelete
He hailed gestures including a Kenyan appeal court's ruling this year that the mandatory death penalty for murder was unconstitutional and a recent moratorium on executions in Mongolia.
"It is also an encouraging start that China has expressed its intention to reduce the numbers of crimes eligible for the death penalty from 68 to 55," Browne added.
"Brothers, I have returned home. On the eighth (October) they placed me under house arrest.ReplyDelete
I don't know when I will be able to see anyone," said a Sunday night posting on Liu Xia's Twitter account.
Authorities detained dozens of Liu's supporters in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities Friday as they celebrated his award.
"They are there - they are almost out. It is too emotional," Nelly Burgueno, the mother of trapped miner Victor Zamora, told AFP.ReplyDelete
Zamora's young wife, meanwhile, could not stop crying.
"God be willing, in a few days the whole country will be weeping with joy... when we see these miners emerge from the depths of the mountain to embrace their wives, children, mothers and fathers," President Sebastian Pinera said.
Rescue to Start
"I am with Doug. Leave them up, in case we are needed."
Melody wss offended, (again)
she's the one that's being used without permission...
Maybe we oughta man up, be chivalrous like Whit, and let the chips fall as they may.
When that young wife gets a whiff of Zamora, Sam, the tears will REALLY start to flow.ReplyDelete
Hopefully they won't need an anal surgeon after all those weeks devoid of women.ReplyDelete
Never thot about what goes on on nuclear subs, and I'm not about to volunteer to find out.
When I grew up in Rock Island I lived in a house with a big dog and my father was a working man, we went to church on a Sunday, and my mother did hose. I played baseball in the afternoon, and shot buckets in the evening time. I fished for a living and went to dance with the girl next door. I am listening to George Noorey.ReplyDelete
I hiked in the mountains, dreamed of a girl....I played the flute.....went goo goo....I had my shotgun.....and Jacgue too....vodka and pepsi....I knew what to do.....ReplyDelete
I remember being fascinated by Gold's work way back when...ReplyDelete
It is fascinating now to look back at the hostility I would get mentioning it from scientific types, even relatives with hard science college teaching positions... Way out of proportion to a casual conversational aside.
Lately I've been thinking about that reaction and how some folks compare "commonly accepted" science to religion. Or at least how we used to experience religion...
When I started shipping out most of the unlicensed crew were from the old days...ReplyDelete
Some of them,"Peaches," "Sand box," "Squirrel," I never learned their real names.
All were social misfits in one sense or another. A very colorful life.
Nowadays it's, at least on US vessels, a whole 'nother story. More testing than any other industry I know of. Very pc now. Like some weird office life. Ugh...
But, back in those days, back when the Santa Barbara rift was still leaking oil and at times leaving sheens covering the surface we had a bos'n with a colorful turn of phrase... Some where I've got a notebook full of his "sayings."
He used to refer to oil as "earth blood."
He'd look over to those patches of iridescence and say "Yeah, she's bleeding..."