Fifty year ago, experts stated that Peak Oil would be reached by the year 2000. Now, most experts [Oilempire.us] say that this number will probably be in the year 2020. If you knew you were being told that a product would soon be in low supply, and you believed it, you could raise prices on a whim.
US Mineral Management Services (MMS) reveals that natural leakage of oil from the ocean floor is 620,500 barrels per year around North America alone. Considering that the world ocean area is over ten times that area, it can easily be extrapolated that at least 6 million barrels per year leak out into the world oceans.
Something’s not being tapped with that kind of natural leakage. In North America alone, the leakage equals 2.5 Exxon Valdez spills every year. Worldwide, that’s at least twenty-five Exxon Valdez spills.
On 10/15/08, American Airlines bought forty large aircraft for $8 billion. It seems they know something. Any smart investor doesn’t make an investment that big, without realizing that Peak Oil is a little further down the road than 2020 –that is, if it occurs at all.
Regulation will not permit oil drilling on 85% of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), [geologists estimate 85 billion barrels of oil available]. In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), it’s estimated there’s 7.7 billion barrels untapped. Include The National Environmental Policy Act, The Endangered Species Act, The Clean Water Act, and The National Historic Preservation Act as the major culprits passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress blocking drilling.
The US remains the only industrialized nation prohibiting offshore oil recovery. The largest US refined oil producer ExxonMobil currently owns less than 1.2 % of the known world oil reserves. But, it has invested more than $60 billion, and by 2010 plans to begin pumping oil or gas from no fewer than 20 additional projects.
A “windfall profits tax” imposed by the US government—already planned by the Obama Administration—will provide a major incentive to move headquarters abroad. This is incentive for any American oil company to drill in any other country. There has been a 59% decline in US oil production since windfall profits tax was initiated in 1980. It was recently eliminated late in the Bush Administration, but Obama promises to reinstate the tax right after he is inaugurated.
But new information has surfaced about abiotic oil formation, originally thought to be a scientific hypothesis about the natural formation of petroleum from non-biological sources. Since then, innumerable and conventionally unexplainable sources have been found. The White Tiger oil field in Vietnam, the Tengiz Field (Kazakhstan), the Panhandle Field (Kansas), and other cases in California, Venezuela, and Morocco which have oil likely seeping from fractures from below. Russia has drilled over 300 deep wells and has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest single oil producer.
On 2/1/08, Science presented more evidence for abiotic theory. Lead scientist Giora Proskurowski (Oceanography/University of Washington) says the hydrogen rich fluids venting in the Lost City Hydrothermal Field were produced by abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons. Carbon dating of petroleum is a reliable way to determine if an oil source is abiotic. Proskurowski found hydrocarbons that contained carbon-13 isotopes found from abiotic production. Carbon-12 isotopes seem to evolve from fossil petroleum.
Lost City is a hydrothermal field 2100 feet below sea level right along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In 2003 and 2005 Proskurowski and his team descended to collect abiotic liquid from the Lost City sea vents. Whether abiotic oil is produced naturally is moot. The real question, “How much is produced, and is it accessible?” It is known that abiotic oil normally exists below 30,000 feet, much further than 18,000 where there is no organic matter.
Oil sources seem plentiful: Athabasca Tar Sands (Canada), Oil Shale (Colorado/), 2 million barrels/yr expansion in Ghawar (Saudi Arabia/ Business Week), and massive new offshore drilling in Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, Brazil, Africa, and the Barents Sea (Energy Tribune/ Matt Pickard). Extensive drilling in the Arctic Sea, claimed by Russia, by Petro Canada and Dome Petroleum discovered significant oil. That doesn’t count all the new resources America has, but cannot drill because of environmental regulations.
It seems as if one party wants to increase our oil dependence, as well as oil prices. Per Alan Caruba (Family Security Matters), “If you wanted to bring the US to ruin, you could not have designed and implemented a more perfect scheme.” One hang-up exists that one just can’t get over. The total oil pumped out of the earth to date, exceeds the total organic matter buried through history. Maybe we need more carbon dating of all wells.
Kevin Roeten can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected] .