Island is an underwater mountain located about 80 miles off the
coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1973 oil was struck
and off-shore platform Eugene 330 erected. The field began production
at 15,000 barrels a day, then gradually fell off, as is normal,
to 4,000 barrels a day in 1989, Then came the surprise; it reversed
itself and increased production to 13,000 barrels a day. Probable
reserves have been increased to 400 million barrels from 60 million.
The field appears to be filling from below and the crude coming
up today is from a geological age different from the original crude,
which leads to the speculation that the world has limitless supplies
really interested some scientists. Thomas Gold, astronomer and professor
emeritus of Cornell held for years that oil is actually renewable
primordial syrup continually manufactured by the earth under ultra
hot conditions and tremendous pressures. This substance migrates
upward picking up bacteria that attack it making it appear to have
an organic origin, i.e., come from dinosaurs and vegetation. As
best I have found so far Russian scientists support his position,
at least that petroleum is of primordial origin. There is now plenty
of evidence around proving the presence of methane in our universe.
It is easy to see it as a part of the formation of the earth. Under
the right conditions of temperature and pressure, it converts to
more complex hydrocarbons.
Andersen, an oceanographer and executive director of Columbia's
Energy Research Center proposed studying the behavior of this reservoir.
The underwater landscape around Eugene Island is weird, cut with
faults and fissures that belch gas and oil. The field is operated
by PennzEnergy Co. Andersen proposed to study the action of the
sea bottom around the mountain and the field at its top and persuaded
the U S Dept of Energy to ante up ten million which was matched
by a consortium of oil giants including Chevron, Exxon, and Tex
Corp. This work began about the time 3-D seismic technology was
introduced to oil exploration. Anderson was able to stack 3D images
resulting in a 4D image that showed the reservoir in 3 spatial dimensions
and enabled researchers to track the movement of oil. Their most
stunning find was a deep fault at a bottom corner of the computer
scan that showed oil literally gushing in. "We could see the
stream,” says Andersen. "It wasn't even debated that it was
continued for five years until funds ran out and they were unable
to continue. With the world having 40 years of proven reserves in
hand it is difficult to interest the major oil producers in much
exploration, let alone something done merely for research, and so
far from the current accepted theory of a fossil origin for oil.
occurrences have been seen at other Gulf Of Mexico fields, at the
Cook Inlet oil field, at oil fields in Uzbekistan, and it is possible
this accounts for the longevity of the Saudi Arabian fields where
few new finds have been made, yet reserves have doubled while the
fields have been exploited mercilessly for 50 years.
only can the doom and gloomers not show us running out of the natural
resources we recycle, but now there appears to be good odds of a
limitless supply of petroleum working its way up to where we can
caveat: Gold's theory is not yet accepted by all scientists, probably
all the more reason to trust it.
Crispin [send him mail]
is a retired businessman who heads a Catholic homeschooling cooperative
in Auburn, Alabama.