Author Topic: Liberal Rag Laments: We Will In All Likelihood Never, Ever Run Out Of Oil...Damn  (Read 726 times)

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Offline trapeze

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This is a very, very long article. Reserve the better part of an hour unless you are a speed reader. Worth the time, though. I learned something new while reading it which was, in and of itself, worth the price of admission...

The United States and Canada, mindful that the good times will not last forever, are also hunting for new supplies. All have been looking with ever-increasing interest at a still-larger energy source: methane hydrate.

The land sheds organic molecules into the water like a ditchdigger taking a shower. Sewage plants, fertilizer-rich farms, dandruffy swimmers—all make their contribution. Plankton and other minute sea beings flourish where the drift is heaviest, at the continental margins. When these creatures die, as all living things must, their bodies drizzle slowly to the seafloor, creating banks of sediment, marine reliquaries that can be many feet deep. Microorganisms feed upon the remains.

In a process familiar to anyone who has seen bubbles coming to the surface of a pond, the microbes emit methane gas as they eat and grow. This undersea methane bubbles up too, but it quickly encounters the extremely cold water in the pores of the sediment. Under the high pressure of these cold depths, water and methane react to each other: water molecules link into crystalline lattices that trap methane molecules. A cubic foot of these lattices can contain as much as 180 cubic feet of methane gas.

Most methane hydrate, including the deposit Japan is examining in the Nankai Trough, is generated in this way. A few high-quality beds accumulate when regular natural gas, the kind made underground by geologic processes, leaks from the earth into the deep ocean. However methane hydrate is created, though, it looks much like everyday ice or snow. It isn’t: ordinary ice cannot be set on fire. More technically, ice crystals are typically hexagonal, whereas methane-hydrate crystals are clusters of 12- or 14-sided structures that in scientists’ diagrams look vaguely like soccer balls. Methane molecules rattle about inside the balls, unable to escape. The crystals don’t dissolve in the sea like ordinary ice, because water pressure and temperature keep them stable at depths below about 1,000 feet. Scientists on the surface refer to them by many names: methane hydrate, of course, but also methane clathrate, gas hydrate, hydromethane, and methane ice.

Estimates of the global supply of methane hydrate range from the equivalent of 100 times more than America’s current annual energy consumption to 3 million times more. A tiny fraction—1 percent or less—is buried in permafrost around the Arctic Circle, mostly in Alaska, Canada, and Siberia. The rest is beneath the waves, a reservoir so huge that some scientists believe sudden releases of undersea methane eons ago set off abrupt, catastrophic changes in climate. Humankind cannot tap into the bulk of these deep, vast deposits by any known means. But even a small proportion of a very big number is a very big number.

The article discusses all things petroleum which includes conventional oil, unconventional oil, natural gas and methane hydrate. Well written and easy to understand. You can, after reading it, pretty much laugh at anyone who says that we are going to run out of oil someday.

And if you want another laugh at the expense of the environutjobs you can tell them that methane is forming all of the time, perpetually all over the earth in quantities that humans alone could never dream of creating by themselves and that this is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide could ever be.

Ha, ha. Hee, hee. Ho, ho.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 11:16:38 PM by trapeze »
In a doomsday scenario, hippies will be among the first casualties. So not everything about doomsday will be bad.


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There is so much methane in the earth.  Ships disappearing in the Bermuda triangle, it has been speculated, were engulfed by large methane emissions which will not support the ship.  Loss of buoyancy causes it to drop to the bottom.

Offline Weisshaupt

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Hey don't forget about the Abiotic Oil


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There were a finite number of prehistoric plants and dinosaurs, it's a reasonable probability that we burned through those plants and animals a long time ago.

Offline Libertas

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Earth First!  We'll mine and drill the other planets later!   ;D
Irrumabo!  GOP? - Nope. No more. They made their bed, now let them die in it.*
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