By | July 9, 2008

An interesting resource on energy reserves from a global perspective can be found in "Statistical Review of World Energy 2008" by BP.  (Link)

The report was mentioned in a presentation based on it at Rice University by Mark Finley, BP America general manager for global energy markets, hosted by Amy Myers Jaffe, assoc. director, Baker Institute for Public Policy (on C-SPAN2 June 24, rerun June 30).

The talk was quite informative: Global reserves are good for 40 years in oil and natural gas, 150 years in coal. Charts showed that oil reserves, while expected to decline (peak oil), instead have been going up year after year.

Most interesting in this regard, during the Q&A following the talk was Mark Finley’s response to an unrelated question that in recent years the deep water discoveries of oil have been most significant in raising reserve estimates.

This should make it easier for Floridians and others to a accept offshore drilling. Rigs will be over the horizon past continental shelves.

My ears perked up when I heard "deep water." Those regions would be nearer the Earth’s mantle where presumably we have lots of abiotic petroleum from the primordial solar nebula (see recent find by NASA of hydrocarbons on Saturn’s moon Titan). With a tendency of continental margins to run parallel to very deep subsidence basins (geoclines), increased seepage of oil from the mantle into accesible strata may be expected to occur. By contrast, sedimentary deposits in the abyssal plane of oceans primarily are fossil-poor clastic sediments, such as turbidites and volcanics, with few organic remains from ancient fossils, because the ocean floor is being recycled at a fairly rapid clip by plate tectonics.


Hermann G W Burchard Dept of Mathematics Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK 74078

Source: The Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University