22 June 2008

Will our oil be depleted in 2028?

We were told by Petronas that Malaysia will become a net importer of oil in 2011. This does not mean that our oil is going to be depleted real soon. What the report meant is that our consumption of oil will be greater than our export, that is if our export stagnated at 700,000 barrels per day up to year 2011.

Our oil reserve was estimated at 3 billion barrels in 1980 but from that time up till now we have been producing 4 billion barrels so far. Our present production of about 700,000 barrels a day will last another 20 years, as estimated by Petronas. In their own reckoning, our reserves still stand at 4 billion barrels in 2008. This shows that since the 1980's, our reserve has never depleted, but in fact, increased in quantity.

Pak Lah, Shahrir and Hassan Marican has been playing this bogey (that oil will be depleted) all along, to justify the eradication of fuel subsidy to the rakyat. They say if the government were to subsidise fuel, the government will have no money for other developments and our future generations will be affected.

But will our oil be depleted in 20 year's time? What if our oil is not a finite resource and it will be there for the taking indefinitely?

Now, for the last century geologist ascertained that oil and gas is a product from fossil fuel. The debate over oil’s origin has been going on since the 19th century. From the start, there were those who contended that oil is primordial—that it dates back to Earth’s origin—or that it is made through an inorganic process, while others argued that it was produced from the decay of living organisms (primarily oceanic plankton) that proliferated millions of years ago during relatively brief periods of global warming and were buried under ocean sediment under fortuitous circumstances.

During the latter half of the 20th century, with advances in geophysics and geochemistry, the vast majority of scientists lined up on the side of the biotic theory. A small group of mostly Russian scientists—but including a tiny handful Western scientists, among them the late Cornell University physicist Thomas Gold—have held out for an abiotic (also called abiogenic or inorganic) theory.

While some of the Russians appear to regard Gold as a plagiarist of their ideas, the latter’s book The Deep Hot Biosphere (1998) stirred considerable controversy among the public on the questions of where oil comes from and how much of it there is. Gold argued that hydrocarbons existed at the time of the solar system’s formation, and are known to be abundant on other planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and some of their moons) where no life is presumed to have flourished in the past.

The Abiotic Oil theory holds that there must therefore be nearly limitless pools of liquid primordial hydrocarbons at great depths on Earth, pools that slowly replenish the reservoirs that conventional oil drillers tap.

The organic theory of the origin of oil has served as a logical underpinning at the heart of the peak oil theory. It says only a finite amount of biological material was deposited in sedimentary soil capable of forming oil, so there has to be a finite amount of oil.

The abiotic theory suggests oil is formed naturally in the mantle of the earth by chemical reactions. The abiotic theory would suggest more deep-earth discoveries of oil should be forthcoming, especially with new technology to find and recover cost-effectively offshore oil.

(For more information on this theory, please googled Abiotic Oil theory and Peak Oil theory)

Scientists have recently reported abiotic liquid hydrocarbons exuding from the mantle of the earth in fissures such as the Lost City Hydrothermal Field on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

The abrupt increase in oil prices now is artificial and many analyst said that it is being created by oil companies and speculators to make a fast gain, and acting for their own selfish interest. Oil producing countries will be making a killing, and that includes Malaysia.

If the Abiotic Oil theory is proven true, then we can be assured that our oil reserves will be there in perpetuity. It is sad that while our country is benefiting from this saga, the rakyat is facing hardship and misery due to the incompetency of those at the helm in dealing with this short term oil crisis.

"Negara Kaya, Rakyat Miskin".

1 comment:

BF said...

Good article, Zack. I think if you do further research (try gasresourses at: http://www.gasresources.net/ ) you will find that the abyssal theory is so well established (proven) that it underpins the prospecting strategies of the countries of the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Brazil, etc. Russia, for example has climbed to be the worlds number 1 oil and gas exporter on the back of the abyssal theory of petroleum evolution. The constituents of oil are high pressure hydrocarbon polymorphs and they can only be formed at the temperature and depths of the Earth's mantle.