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Talk:Abiotic oil

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This pseudoscience related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement.

This article is of MID importance to the wiki.

See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

Editorial notes

After reviewing the article & the criteria, methinks the article deserves bronze. Could use illustrations and a see also section, and some more references, to reach silver. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 06:28, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

I can't figure out how to make witty citations...— Unsigned, by: TKEtoolshed / talk / contribs

on the order of global warming denial HAHAHAHA good one aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhahahahaha... you almost had me.... aaaahahaha.... global warming is such junk science and 100% political BS.... and yes i am a scientist and engineer... what a dumb site this is — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Many thanks for your constructive contributions and inspired insights. Scarlet A.pngsshole 13:22, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
Engineer? Say no more! Redchuck.gif ГенгисGum diseaseModerator 16:35, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
No no no no no no!!! It was scientist and engineer!! Scarlet A.pngtheist 16:39, 2 January 2012 (UTC)


Do we have any additional evidence again besides "we haven't found any?" Maybe someone can explain exactly why it doesn't work? I believe it, I just want some more explanation.--brxbrx-brxbrx 02:20, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

Well, in a bit of shitty a pop-chemistry way, it probably wouldn't work for the same reason we don't see chunks of pure iron and aluminium lying around naturally and the same reason "water powered" cars are bollocks. Molecules react in the direction of give out energy until they're at their most stable configuration. For organic material you can't get more stable than H2O and CO2. That you burn oil to produce these is evidence that energy has been put into this substance against the natural flow of oxidation that happens across the world. While inorganic photocatalysts are known (the lab next to mine is researching splitting water to produce hydrogen using light) the best process we know that can do this is photosynthesis - which is a biological process. It uses light energy from the sun to CO2 and water and "fixes" them into higher energy molecules. In the case of oil they're hydrocarbons. This is why plants can burn but rocks, generally speaking, can't. While it is possible to form this from CO2 and water under high temperatures pressure (I'd have to look up the exact parameters) you'd a) have to have a good mix of CO2 and water that was completely oxygen free and b) keep it in one place long enough. I don't think that's particularly possible for permeable gases and liquids and I'm not sure the temperatures and pressures needed to convert fossil biomass into oil are even in the same ball park a the temperatures and pressures needed to convert CO2 and H2/H2O to hydrocarbons. So there is no real natural (by this I mean "non biological") process by which these fuels can form. I'd have to look up how much this is actually applicable to abiotic oil, but generally I'm not aware of many natural, non-biological processes (lightning strikes being one fairly well known example, but certainly couldn't explain oil) capable of doing this on Earth. Even if the right materials were lucky enough to come across an appropriate catalyst I doubt it would be possible. ADK...I'll receive your boar! 09:26, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
so some BoN adds his piece. Anybody want to have their hand at it?--"Shut up, Brx." 02:16, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
ah, cmon P-Foster. a roolback? This article gets all this crank traffic, can't we do some more to refute it?--"Shut up, Brx." 02:33, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
IANAG (I am not a geologist) but, in addition to ADK's comments, it seems like many of the claims for having "found" abiotic oil are either a, cherry-picks in oil extraction trends, or b, actually discoveries of methane and not oil. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:01, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
IANAG has officially become part of internet lingo and shall be a part of channers' vocabulary for decades to come, at least until Catnarok--"Shut up, Brx." 21:14, 27 July 2011 (UTC)


Does the debunkal of the abiotic oil hypothesis strengthen the case for biotic origin of hydrocarbon seas on Titan (moon of Saturn)? (talk) 15:37, 9 October 2011 (UTC)Martin J Sallberg

Not necessarily, there's a considerable difference between methane and the much longer hydrocarbon chains found in crude oil. Abiotic processes can produce shorter chains. ADK...I'll plagiarize your lint! 15:49, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, all the abiotic oil crank sites I've seen go crazy over methane despite the fact that methane != oil. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:56, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Titan has longer chain stuff as well. However, Titan's also very cold, tending to preserve compounds produced by solar UV in the upper atmosphere, and its icy mantle probably doesn't do much to decompose hydrocarbon materials left over from its original formation (the same certainly does not apply to Earth's mantle). Carbonaceous asteroids similarly have some complex organic compounds, even stuff similar to petroleum. This was likely produced and preserved by similar processes as those that operate on Titan...under conditions somewhat different from those in Earth's mantle or deep crust. Cjameshuff (talk) 17:45, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Titan also has hydrocarbons in the form of tholins. Most of the trans-neptune objects have surfaces colored by tholins. That is why they are brown or reddish in color. Tholins are not petroleum. However, they could probably be refined to make fuels (much like petroleum). Sadly, to burn the fuel, you'll need an oxygen atmosphere (no oxygen on Pluto) and to get it to earth, you'd have to burn more fuel than what you'd get. The universe truly hates us! (talk) 00:40, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

CO + H2 --> Oil?[edit]

I just want to know, is this actually true that artificial petroleum can be made from water gas? If so, then how is it possible? What needs to be done to cause the reaction to take place? Can it be efficiently and economically done on a mass scale? I'm really curious that there is a way to get rid of the problems we'll face with shrinking oil supplies. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 23:05, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

It's possible much for the same reason that burning oil produces oxidised carbon (CO, CO2) and oxidised hydrogen (H2O). The trouble is, we get energy out of that reaction... so to do it in reverse you need to put energy into it. Which just so happens to be the exact amount of energy to get out of it afterwards. Effectively it's all energy storage (free energy and water powered car pages also discuss this). Scarlet A.pngbomination 23:37, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
HK may be thinking (or the source where he got this may have been thinking) of the "water gas" reaction used to produce hydrogen as one step in the Fischer-Tropsch process. Basically its H2O + CO -> H2 + CO2, with the H2 then going on to be reacted with CO to make hydrocarbons. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:08, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Yep, there is that as a specific reaction. Similarly, the reaction I'm spending a thesis chapter on basically goes from synthesis gas (from coal) to methanol and then homologated to ethanol, which we can do to fuel cars (maybe). But as for it solving shrinking oil stocks, not likely, as your energy input is still considerable. My co-supervisor is running a project involving splitting water with sunlight, and I'm also doing some photochemical processes which are slightly better, as in principle you can grab the energy needed for that directly from sunlight. There's also a solar generator that will produce diesel out of thin air by taking a 10 metre wide mirror and focusing that much light down to a single point (enough to cut through metal) which kicks off fairly rapid thermal production of hydrocarbons from just CO2 and water (probably F-T chemistry at the heart of it, but powered entirely with renewable energy). That's great, but you need a lot of specialist kit and very bright conditions to run one of these massive generators at a rate to keep up with the demand for just a single car being used casually. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 00:27, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Kinda cool Scarlet A.pnggnostic 00:30, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
You're working on neat stuff! Would it be a reasonable guess that "splitting water with sunlight" is inspired by the light reaction in photosynthesis? (Just hoping this is somehow related to my field.) Doctor Dark (talk) 03:21, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
It's inorganic catalysis as opposed to photosynthesis. The light reactions are massively convoluted due to being a product of evolution and the amount of shuttling between different enzymes, while the reactions using designed materials chemistry tend to be far simpler. However, the basic principle is usually the same across the board; electrons absorb light and you use this excited state to perform redox chemistry. As it's fairly easy to get H+ from H2O, you just need these electrons to reduce these protons back to H2 and the "gap" left on your catalyst strips away the excess electrons on the OH- to form O2. Scarlet A.pngtheist 09:01, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry it took me so long to reply. When I was talking about synthetic petroleum, I figured that the main reason we'd still need oil is to produce petrochemicals. Already oil's use for electricity production is being faded out. I presume the energy for producing oil from water gas would come from something other than petroleum (hopefully renewable). My idea is to produce artificial petroleum from carbonyl (carbon monoxide, produced from incomplete combustion of charcoal), water, and electricity from any ordinary renewable source (to electrolyze the water into hydrogen and actually turn the water gas into artificial petroleum). Therefore, we no longer need to depend on our rapidly depleting natural petroleum reserves. Are there any problems with this plan? The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 15:16, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
That's already being done. Mostly in South Africa, in fact, as the oil embargoes placed on the country during the apartheid era forced them to use their coal reserves. Coal to synthetic chemicals isn't anything particularly new, it's just that we've just moved to oil because it's slightly easier - of course, this wouldn't be a problem if we didn't f**king burn it in the first place. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 15:27, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
A few more questions, then. Firstly, why isn't it being done in America to cut the addiction to oil? Secondly, is it possible to replace the coal with charcoal and still get the same result, as coal is non-renewable while charcoal is not? I think that this is a good way to avoid the implications of a shrinking oil supply on industrial society. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 19:31, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Because the "addiction to oil" stems entirely from the burning of it for energy, and we don't really use coal-fired cars. While I'm just going to pull a figure out of my ass, like less than 1% of fossil fuels actually go to chemical synthesis. If we didn't burn the stuff, it would effectively last us forever. But also, it's fairly emerging technology and the infrastructure is set up to use oil as a source. To switch to coal you need new catalysts, new reactors, new sites, new transportation methods. That means investment, and it's not economically viable to do that so long as we can get oil. Scarlet A.pngmoral 19:38, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
That doesn't really answer either of my questions. According to the edition of the Boy Scouts merit badge booklet on nuclear science I have (published 2004), only 3% of America's electricity comes from oil, and roughly half comes from coal (a decades-old geology textbook I have in my study reverses the position of coal and oil). Gasoline is a petrochemical: you can't just take crude oil and put it in your car. Therefore, petrochemicals are the main use of petroleum, not energy production (at least in America). My latter question was if you could substitute charcoal for coal in production of water gas, and my former was why America doesn't produce its own petrochemicals in the way I have described, rather than buying natural petroleum from Arabia and other places. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 20:05, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
What happens when you put gasoline into a car and switch on the engine? It burns, and moves the car - it's energy. Energy use when it comes to fossil fuels isn't limited to electric production in power stations, it's cars, portable generators, stoves all that sort of thing. Secondly, from crude oil you simply have to fractionate it and distill the fuel components and then catalytically crack the heavier fractions, which involves simply heating it in the absence of oxygen to break it down into lighter components. If you want to make it from coal you need to gasify into syngas and then build the components up - these are completely different processes and the energy consumption in the coal route is actually quite high, meaning you'd actually be consuming far more fuel to do so. Scarlet A.pngmoral 20:13, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I'll deal with each of your complaints one by one. Firstly, when I referred to "energy production", I referred specifically to electrical energy. I apologize for the ambiguity, but I highly doubted when someone sees a graph of U.S. energy sources, they are surprised not to find food taking a sizable chunk of the pie (I do not mean to create a strawman). To address your second point, I know that refining oil is necessary, and I know of how the process works. Artificial petroleum (hereafter "technoleum") contains the same alkanes in the same unknown amounts as natural petroleum. We can pretty obviously tell whether liquid is being formed or not, but we don't know how many carbon atoms each oil molecule has (somewhere from 5-17, if I remember correctly). I don't see what that has to do with anything: would you mind clarifying with what your point with this is? Thirdly, I have no idea what you mean when you say "...want to make it from coal...". What's "it"? I'm guessing the water gas, but I'm saying to use charcoal instead of coal. I will now quote the original text from Wikipedia:

"Water gas is a synthesis gas, containing carbon monoxide and hydrogen....The gas is made by passing steam over a red-hot hydrocarbon fuel such as coke:

   H2O + C → H2 + CO (ΔH = +131 kJ/mol)

The reaction is endothermic so the fuel must be continually re-heated to keep the reaction going. This was usually done by alternating the steam stream with an air stream."

Coal is also a hydrocarbon fuel, as is charcoal, which is just wood (mostly carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) heated so most of the oxygen and hydrogen escape. Besides, the reaction provided seems to require elemental carbon, but since coke and coal work and are only mostly carbon with a fair amount of impurities, charcoal too would do just fine. Like the text mentions, the steam blast is alternated with air to keep the charcoal hot. The result is water gas. Water is very abundant, and charcoal is made by heating wood. A machine to power and control the air and steam blasts could easily be made and powered by a renewable source. Result: completely renewable water gas. Water gas + electricity (also from renewable source) = technoleum. Technoleum can then be refined and used for petrochemicals and fuel sources just as ordinary petroleum can. No need for any fossil fuels: just wood, water, and electricity, which is completely renewable. Do you understand now, and could you please clarify where I requested? The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 23:56, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
"It" would be fuel, or any chemical component you want to get. And yes, I know what you're talking about as I am writing an entire thesis chapter on it. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 00:34, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for clearing that up. So, let's see what we have here. Syngas can be made into artificial petroleum by applying electricity. Syngas in turn can be made by gasifying coal, which is just turning it into coke and blasting it with steam and air. I see no reason why the coal cannot be replaced with charcoal, which is renewable while coal is not. Steam comes from water, and charcoal from wood. Therefore, all we need to make artificial petroleum that can be used just like "real" petroleum is wood, water, and electricity. The electricity can be produced from renewable sources, so no fuel needs to be consumed. Make sense The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 16:26, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, the main issue is why would you want to do that? Each step you're describing consumes energy, produces waste, and has an efficiency drop off. Why bother making petroleum for cars from coal or wood when the amount of energy you'll consume in doing so will mean you'll get about 10% or less compared to just burning that coal and wood directly. From syngas you can simply homologate to ethanol and use that in a car, or just burn the wood in a power station and have electric cars. Similarly, breaking it all down and then building it back up again to form petrol is massively pointless as many of the natural products you can get directly from wood and plants (renewable sources) can be used directly to synthesise chemicals quite efficiently, although we don't as a rule because we haven't had a century of development behind those routes yet. For example, the concept of the biorefinery uses locally sourced renewable products to produce chemicals and burning the waste to make electricity. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 16:35, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

"Not written better"[edit]

This topic Abiotic oil is not written better. Is tendentious and made by ignorant about this matter. If you correct the text, xerifes come soon and erase what you wrote. Therefore, is not rational wiki but I think irrational, profane and the ignorance prevails. The project surely tends to break.— Unsigned, by: Josiah1 / talk / contribs

Your comprehension of English is not sufficient for you to be making edits here. Try again in your native tongue, there's a good chance one of us knows it.--"Shut up, Brx." 04:10, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Ignore brx. What specifically is wrong with the article? Peter tanquam ex ungue leonem 04:12, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Did you see his edit? Anyways, he believes that abiotic oil is the best theory. That's his beef. See the link from his edit.--"Shut up, Brx." 04:14, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
I want not approve on it, I think polite post. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 09:40, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
How is that gentilman who you did speak by and by? I did think him Englishman. It is difficult to enjoy well so much several langages. I shall not forget nothing what can to merit your attention. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:14, 19 April 2012 (UTC)


Why are you misrepresenting the theory? There is no idea that oil is formed from CO, it is formed from methane. The main ideas are explained by Thomas Gold, and it is clearly correct. It is not a lunacy of the far-right, it was a perfectly valid Soviet theory, and it is still accepted in former communist regions.

That's hilarious. Goodnight now. She said her name was Billie Jean and she was fresh in town/I didn't know her stage-line ran from hell. 04:14, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
It's not hilarious--- it's ridiculous. You are writing nonsense. If you are criticizing a theory, you sould say what the theory says, not some made up nonsense. The theory is that it's methane from the mantle. The evidence is that we see deposits of methane flow, and it explains the data, while biogenic theory doesn't. Do you know anything about this? It's not a conspiracy theory, or a strange theory, it is very natural, and it goes back to Mendeleev.
A)Please sign your posts, and B) if true, why has this Hypothesis never found any oil deposits, while the theory of organic oil has? --Revolverman (talk) 04:24, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Then where did the methane come from? Or the multiple trace biomarkers you can find in crude oil? Scarlet A.pngpostate 00:23, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
I don't think the anonymous editor is necessarily advocating for the theory, but rather is saying that we are misrepresenting the theory.--"Shut up, Brx." 00:25, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
So when they say that "it is clearly correct" and "perfectly valid," they don't mean to advocate for it? She said her name was Billie Jean and she was fresh in town/I didn't know her stage-line ran from hell. 00:28, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
I always wondered what "and is clearly correct" meant... anyway, it's not clearly correct. There are many competing mechanisms and explanations for an abiotic source for oil. The trouble is, none of them make sense because they fail to take into account pyrolysis, which is what occurs to methane under the conditions proposed. If extending hydrocarbon chains was simply a case of the right temperatures and pressures, which is the overall basis of the competing abiotic hypotheses, then the petrochemical industry would be much different to what it is. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 00:34, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Retarded oil scientists and airheaded experts[edit]

Thread title extracted from BoN's post.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:49, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

It is manifest that this "rational wiki" does not have rational contributors, or you would be able to evaluate the scientific claims. The reason that "oil has not been found by this idea" is simply because idiots say so. There are oil fields all over Russia and one enormous one in Vietnam that are drilled into bedrock, where fossils could never get to, and produce commercial amounts of oil. It is simply propaganda that you guys can't evaluate because you don't read anything.

The hypothesis is that methane comes up from the mantle, because the early Earth had a ton of methane, and also, new methane is formed from limestone subduction as the limestone breaks up in the mantle. The methane is cooked to short chains in the mantle (this is experimentally verified, getting 2-5 carbon chains is impossible to avoid in mantle conditions, this is experimentally known both from Soviet work and Gold's reproduction), but they don't extend past 5 chains. Then the methane percolates up as a fluid, because it is light, and it goes up through the porous rock (there are pores all the way down in certain places), and the dissolved chains get longer as the hydrogen gets cleaved off by oxygen in rock, joining the chains into longer molecules, which are aromatics (like benzene), octane, etc, and you get oil.

The theory is completely predictive, it correctly gives the association of heavy metals with hydrocarbon deposits (this is inexplicable biogenically) and more startlingly, it explains why HELIUM is found with oil, something which makes no sense biogenically. Helium is produced from radioactive decay of heavy metals. It also explains why coal and oil are found together.

The fossils in coal are in the rock before the rock turned to coal. Peat and "coal balls" are plant matter exposed to abiogenic methane, not pre-coal precursors. The conversion to shale is the last stage of forming longer chains as oil percolates up through rock. These things are explained by Gold, but they are obvious, as the fossils in coal sometimes cross a seam from top to bottom, and they are clearly nothing to do with the origin of the coal.

The upwelling methane idea is already accepted in the west, because the continental shelves and other places outgass methane much faster than is imaginable under any sort of biogenic hypothesis. It is really kind of retarded that the oil scientists still deny that oil is abiogenic, as there is absolutely zero scientific evidence for this, it was all based on mentally defective misinterpretation of the data. The people writing here share these misconceptions, and have learned nothing about the subject. I would recomment a quick read of Gold's book, "The Deep Hot Biosphere" and a cursory glance at the nonexistent fabricated counterarguments in the mainstream literature.

Skepticism means being skeptical of all ideas, even ones that are pontificated out by airheaded experts. Actually, it only means being skeptical of mainstream ideas, because to be skeptical of nonsense is not hard, it is only hard to be skeptical of things that are promoted by a social consensus. If you don't know how to do this, by evaluating the scientific claims coldly and objectively, without social bias, you are not fit to call yourself a skeptic.

And YES, I am promoting the idea, but you also misrepresent the idea atrociously by making up crap, like the carbon-monoxide business, which is pulled out of somebody's ass.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 00:10, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Zoogard. The goal of this post is not to persuade you, you are not sufficiently scientifically literate. Rather the goal of this post is to make you feel maximally terrible when you realize how stupid you all are. It's motivated by hatred, and malice, and hopefully you will all psychologically die and be replaced by better versions of yourself. (talk) 21:03, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
We love you too. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 21:06, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Rather silly argument against.[edit]

Basically, the reason we know oil is biogenic is the isotope ratios edit: and presence of certain chemicals which indicate biological origin. "No oil company has ever successfully found a well using the theory" is, first off, factually BS, and secondarily, the fact that this guy did successfully find oil does not in any way prove it valid either. Irrespective of the ideas about oil's origin, everyone agrees that the oil you could actually reach needs to be cooked out at high temperatures and then collected in a trap. It's almost as stupid as arguing that nobody predicted an eclipse using geocentric model. Just because a theory is wrong, doesn't make it an awesome guide where oil can't be found. Dmytry (talk) 15:28, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

The isotope ratios are more consistent with pore migration than biology, and the trace biological chemicals in oil are due to deep-Earth bacteria and archaea, which were predicted from these markers to be living down there, and subsequently found. The theory of abiotic origin is valid, because it is true, and it is denied by mentally defective morons like you. Idiot. Although you are an idiot, you are right that predicting deposits is not the main test of a theory. It is held up as the main test, because by any other metric, the biogenic theory falls flat on its face. (talk) 23:51, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

The real thing?[edit]

Theoretically, if the water processing rate and efficiency is high enough, can this oil be considered "abiotic"? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Hey numbskull, ALL OIL IS ABIOTIC. It's all produced in the mantle, where it is thermodynamically preferred for methane to make chains. The "evidence" claimed against the theory is mentally retarded farting by so-called experts that can't get their head out of their ass. The theory is misrepresented here because the "skeptics" on this site have a negative intelligence, as these idiots never learned how to think without political guidance. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs


Seems kinds of short.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 10:01, 11 August 2016 (UTC)