The following excerpt from an article by FTW energy editor Dale
Allen Pfeiffer expresses the FTW position on abiotic oil:
A WORD ABOUT ABIOTIC OIL
There is some speculation that oil is abiotic in origin — generally
asserting that oil is formed from magma instead of an organic
origin. These ideas are really groundless. All unrefined oil carries
microscopic evidence of the organisms from which it was formed.
These organisms can be traced through the fossil record to specific
time periods when quantities of oil were formed.
Likewise, there are two primal energy forces operating on this
planet, and all forms of energy descend from one of these two.
The first is the internal form of energy heating the Earth’s interior.
This primal energy comes from radioactive decay and from the heat
energy originally generated during accretion of the planet some
4.6 billion years ago. There are no known mechanisms for transferring
this internal energy into any secondary energy source. And the
chemistry of magma does not compare to the chemistry of hydrocarbons.
Magma is lacking in carbon compounds, and hydrocarbons are lacking
in silicates. If hydrocarbons were generated from magma, then
you would expect to see some closer kinship in their chemistry.
The second primal energy source is light and heat generated
by our sun. It is the sun’s energy that powers all energy processes
on the Earth’s surface, and which provides the very energy for
life itself. Photosynthesis is the miraculous process by which
the sun’s energy is converted into forms available to the life
processes of living matter. Following biological, geological and
chemical processes, a line can be drawn from photosynthesis to
the formation of hydrocarbon deposits. Likewise, both living matter
and hydrocarbons are carbon based.
Finally, because oil generation is in part a geological process,
it proceeds at an extremely slow rate from our human perspective.
Geological processes take place over a different frame of time
than human events. It is for this reason that when geologists
say that the San Andreas fault is due for a powerful earthquake,
they mean any time in the next million years — probably less.
Geological processes move exceedingly slow.
After organic matter has accumulated on the sea floor, it must
be buried by the process of deposition. In geological time, in
order for this matter to be a likely prospect for hydrocarbon
generation, the rate of deposition must be quick. Here is an experiment
you can conduct to get an idea how slow the rates of deposition
are. Place a small stone on the bottom of a motionless pond. Take
another stone of about the same size and place it at the mouth
of a small stream, a stream where the current is not so great
that it will sweep the stone away. Check both of these stones
yearly until they have been buried by deposition. You might see
the stone at the mouth of the stream covered over within a few
years, but it is unlikely that you will see the stone in the pond
buried within your lifetime.
It is a simple geological fact that the oil we are using up
at an alarming rate today will not be replaced within our lifetime
— or within many lifetimes. That is why hydrocarbons are called
non-renewable resources. Capped wells may appear to refill after
a few years, but they are not regenerating. It is simply an effect
of oil slowly migrating through pore spaces from areas of high
pressure to the low-pressure area of the drill hole. If this oil
is drawn out, it will take even longer for the hole to refill
again. Oil is a non-renewable resource generated and deposited
under special biological and geological conditions.