Creation Studies Institute
The Theory of Abiotic Oil

The Tale of the Never-ending Abiotic Oil
By Steven Rowitt, Ph.D.

It sounds like the title of a children’s story, but this subject is fraught with economic ramifications and a dose of political correctness mixed in for good measure. We should examine why the current scientific consensus, that petroleum is the result of putrefying plants and animals, is being challenged. Why is the theory that natural oil and gas might be of non-organic origin so hotly disputed? 

It is important to note that scientific consensus is usually a good thing. Those who are familiar with the world of research understand that it is the nature of empirical (experimental) science to see scientific consensus shift, sometimes very dramatically, when new discoveries are made. This is the nature of scientific enquiry and, for the most part, it is not a problem. Researchers publish their finding and invite comments from others experts, both pro and con. As other researchers attempt to reproduce the research, and comments are taken into consideration, a scientific consensus can emerge. 

When a prevailing scientific consensus is held up as proof positive in support of the long ages ascribed to evolutionary theory, the consensus is being given more weight than it deserves. Sadly, this is the case concerning the concept that oil and gas reserves are derived from decaying plants and animals: therefore, they require millions of years to form and these supplies are finite in nature. Early on, there was initial skepticism concerning the concept that oil and gas were byproducts of organic decay. The following quote, from the late Sir Fred Hoyle FRS (1982), exemplifies the suspicions that the accumulation of deceased animals and plants could not be the source of our planet’s oil and gas.

The suggestion that petroleum might have arisen from some transformation of squashed fish or biological detritus is surely the silliest notion to have been entertained by substantial numbers of persons over an extended period of time.

It is here that we need to review the Theory of Abiotic Oil (sometimes called Abiogenic Theory). It can be traced back to the early 19th century and notions of magmatism and petroleum, which some scientists thought fueled volcanoes. This concept, that petroleum is linked to volcanic activities, has been debunked, but the theory that oil is formed apart from the decay of animals and plants has persisted.

Russian geologist Nikolai Alexandrovitch Kudryavtsev proposed the modern abiotic hypothesis of petroleum in 1951. Since then, many scientists have embraced this theory citing compelling evidence (Abbass, 1996; Bergey, 2012; Pfeiffer, 2003; Losh et al., 2002; Olson & Ashworth, 2013). A leading voice in this slowly building scientific consensus was the respected astronomer and professor emeritus at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Thomas Gold (1920-2004). For years, professor Gold had been promoting the idea that oil is actually a renewable, primordial syrup that is continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions in the presence of tremendous pressures.

According to Gold, as this substance migrates to the surface, it is attacked by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin (Gold, 1999).

Other evidence that the Earth’s oil supply is being renewed includes the Eugene Island #330 oil field. This oil field is the one that inspired the title of this article. It has been verified that Eugene Island is rapidly refilling itself with oil, perhaps from some continuous source miles below the Earth’s surface (Lakoski, 2011; Cooper, 1999). The facts are incontrovertible. Production at the oil field, deep in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, was supposed to have declined years ago. In addition, for a while, it behaved like any normal field. Following its 1973 discovery, Eugene Island 330's output peaked at about 15,000 barrels a day. By 1989, production had slowed to about 4,000 barrels a day. Then suddenly - some say almost inexplicably - Eugene Island's fortunes reversed. The field, operated by PennzEnergy Co., is now producing 13,000 barrels a day and probable reserves have rocketed to more than 400 million barrels from 60 million. Stranger still, scientists studying the field say the crude coming out of the pipe is of a geological age quite different from the oil that gushed 10 years ago (Cooper, 2011).

One of the questions that should be addressed has to do with the incredible push back against this theory from the evolutionary scientific community (Heinberg, 2004; King, 2006; Termotto, 2010). Why would the fossil fuel camp defend against this not-so-new and well-documented hypothesis? One can only surmise that the view of ever-diminishing oil reserves fits into the green energy movement’s political views; therefore, the concept that oil and gas might be renewable resources is not politically correct.

There is a more important aspect to this debate. It has to do with the evolutionary worldview that it supported by the current consensus of millions-to-billions of years. The concept that our fossil fuels are the result of prior mass extinctions fits into the evolutionary paradigm. This materialistic and entirely naturalistic worldview is faithfully promoted in the mainstream media. They dutifully repeat anything these evolutionary scientists report as if what they say are undisputed facts. The millions and millions of years of evolutionary time are introduced to support the fact that, according to Darwin’s theory, change occurs so slowly that it cannot be seen with the naked eye or detected in the fossil record. This was, and continues to be, a foundational aspect of evolutionary theory. The hundreds of millions of years of death and decay are thought to be the source of the oil and gas reserves around the world. If the Abiotic Oil Theory is true, then the false evidence appearing real of the millions-to-billions of years of evolutionary time is no longer necessary, at least where oil and gas production are concerned.

Today, Darwin’s theory is presented as a foregone conclusion and, if you will, that is the prevailing scientific consensus. Even when we find what appears to be partially fossilized remnants of connective tissue, blood vessels with what appear to be intact red blood cells within an allegedly 70 million year old T. Rex femur (Nova, 2007); we continue to accept the scientific consensus that, given enough time, molecules can morph themselves into men. This completely unsubstantiated view, with regard to the T. Rex blood remnants, is presented as a 70 million year old miracle of preservation. The consensus of billions of years of deep time continues to be invoked. This is in spite of the fact that, under certain conditions, fossilization can occur rapidly (Veith, 2009). This view persists when it is evident that, apart from divine intervention, matter can neither be created nor destroyed. That is not a model, a hypothesis, or a theory; it is a “law” of physics.

More than a century after Louis Pasteur finally debunked spontaneous generation; evolutionists cling to a completely imaginary big bang beginning of everything as well as their musings concerning abiogenesis. This includes the possibility of extraterrestrial sources of life, e.g. Directed Panspermia (Crick & Orgel, 1973). So much for the scientific consensus as it is applied to the origin of life.

When we begin to examine the facts, apart from the bias of evolutionary dogma, we discover that much of what is held up as evidence in favor of Darwinian evolution is actually false evidence appearing real. What is of particular interest to those who are spiritually inclined is that the acronym for “false evidence appearing real” spells FEAR. The stark reality is this that worldview choices have very serious consequences. After all, if atheistic evolutionary theory is true, then the Word of God and the gospel are not. Atheistic evolution says, the best we can hope for is the struggle to survive as long as possible and then, to be overcome by disease finally succumbing to death. The result is a very bleak, hopeless and utterly meaningless life. However, if the Word of God is true, then humanity has a glorious hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Two thousand years ago, a Jewish fisherman named John opened his eyewitness account of the coming of the Messiah with the following introduction.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, John 1:1-4.

Do not make the mistake of accepting a scientific consensus, especially when it is being used to support false evidence appearing real. When we reject fear-based evolutionary lies, we can choose God’s forgiveness and the gift of everlasting life that is so freely offered, by grace through faith, in the risen Savior, Jesus of Nazareth.

Dig Deeper: Recommended Resources

Abbass, Samar (1996). The Non-organic Theory of the Genesis of Petroleum. Accessed 7.18.13 from

Bergey, David (2012). More Evidence for “Abiotic” Oil. Green Party of Canada. Accessed on 7.19.13.

Cooper, Christopher; (1999). It's No Crude Joke: This Oil Field Grows Even as It's Tapped. Wall Street Journal, April 16, 1999. Accessed 7.18.13 from the

Cooper, Christopher; (1999). Ibid.

Crick, F. H., & Orgel, L. E. (1973). Directed Panspermia. Icarus 19: 341. Accessed 7.18.13. 

Gold, Thomas (1999). The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels. New York, NY: Copernicus Books.

Heinberg, R. (2004). The ‘Abiotic’ Oil Controversy. Accessed 7.18.13 from

Hoyle, Fred (1982). Found in Fossil Fuel Theory for the Origin of Oil and Gas Debunked by Tom Termotto. Accessed 7.18.13 from Oil Leaks. Sir Fred Hoyle was a vocal critic of evolutionary Abiogenesis and the Big Bang. In fact, it was Professor Hoyle who is credited with coining the term the Big Bang. He estimated that the probability of cellular life evolving was about one-in-10 to the power of 40,000. His opposition to a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life is exemplified by his “Tornado in a Junkyard” illustration was later labeled by anti-creationists as Hoyle’s Fallacy is as follows: “The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable to the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.”  

Lakoski, Gregg (2011). Abiotic Oil is a Theory Worth Exploring. USA Today Sept. 14, 2011. Accessed 7.18.13.

Losh, S., Walter, L., Meulbroek, P., Martini, A., Cathles, L., & Whelan, J. (2002). Fluid Migration in South Eugene Island Block 330 Reservoirs. AAPG Bulletin, v. 86,      no. 8 (August 2002), pp. 1463–1488.

Kenney, J.F., Kutcherov, V. G.,  Bendeliani, N.A., & Alekseev, V.A. (2002). Rebuttal of article “Fossil fuel without Fossils.” Nature 12 August 2002.

King, Byron, W. (2006). Debunking the “Abiotic” Theory of Petroleum Formation. Accessed 7.18.13 on the Daily Duck.

Nova Science (2007). T. Rex Blood: Expert Q & A. Nova Science Now. Accessed 7.18.13 from the Nova beta page of the PBS..

Pfeiffer, David, A. (2003).  The End of the Oil Age. Ashland, OR: Wilderness Publications, pp. 258-59.

Olson, J., & Ashworth, R. (2013). Fracturing the Fossil Fuel Fable. Principia Scientific International. Accessed 7.18.13

Termotto, T., (2010). Fossil Fuel Theory for the Origin of Oil and Gas Debunked. Accessed 7.18.13 from Oil Leaks.

Veith, Walter (2009). Age Implications of Petrified, Fossilized Trees. Accessed 7.19.13   at Amazing Discoveries.


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