Everybody knows that oil and gas drilled out of the earth comes from the remains of plants and animals trapped underground millions of years ago. This received wisdom so dominates our thinking that it is enshrined in the very language we use--fossil fuels. They took eons to form, and we are using them up far faster than they can be replenished.
What if the whole theory is wrong?
That's the premise of a small but passionate band of Russian and Ukrainian contrarians. They argue that oil and gas don't come from fossils; they're synthesized deep within the earth's mantle by heat, pressure and other purely chemical means, before gradually rising to the surface. Under the so-called abiotic theory of oil, finding all the energy we need is just a matter of looking beyond the traditional basins where fossils might have accumulated.
The idea that oil comes from fossils "is a myth. … We need to change this myth," says petroleum engineer Vladimir Kutcherov, at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. "All kinds of rocks could have oil and gas deposits."
Alexander Kitchka of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences brashly estimates that 60% of the content of all oil is abiotic in origin, and not from fossil fuels. He says companies should drill deeper to find it.
This article appears in Forbes.
This is a hypothesis already embraced by the conspiracy theorists.
I mentioned this once before, way back in February: Oil: The Other Blood
What if it turned out to be true?
There'd be no reason to be fuel-efficient. Air pollution would be prevalent globally. The greenhouse effect would amp up.
Always a catch.