The image above represents the conventional American wisdom regarding the source of petroleum.
But what if this weren't true and we have been accepting these principles on faith?
According to Bill Engdahl, in Confessions of an "ex" Peak Oil Believer, the Russians have had a completely different theory and have applied it with much success since the 1950's.
In the 1950’s the Soviet Union faced ‘Iron Curtain’ isolation from the West. The Cold War was in high gear. Russia had little oil to fuel its economy. Finding sufficient oil indigenously was a national security priority of the highest order.
Scientists at the Institute of the Physics of the Earth of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Ukraine Academy of Sciences began a fundamental inquiry in the late 1940’s: where does oil come from?
In 1956, Prof. Vladimir Porfir’yev announced their conclusions: ‘Crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the earth. They are primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths.’ The Soviet geologists had turned Western orthodox geology on its head. They called their theory of oil origin the ‘a-biotic’ theory—non-biological—to distinguish from the Western biological theory of origins.
If they were right, oil supply on earth would be limited only by the amount of hydrocarbon constituents present deep in the earth at the time of the earth’s formation. Availability of oil would depend only on technology to drill ultra-deep wells and explore into the earth’s inner regions.
They also realized old fields could be revived to continue producing, so called self-replentishing fields. They argued that oil is formed deep in the earth, formed in conditions of very high temperature and very high pressure, like that required for diamonds to form. ‘Oil is a primordial material of deep origin which is transported at high pressure via ‘cold’ eruptive processes into the crust of the earth,’ Porfir’yev stated. His team dismissed the idea that oil is biological residue of plant and animal fossil as a hoax designed to perpetuate the myth of limited supply.