It seems many geologists are being petty, arguing over facts that have yet to yield answers about crude oil. The mid July 04 Hedberg Conference by American Association of Petroleum Geologists again discussed biogenic versus abiotic origins of hydrocarbons, an interesting and very significant industrial issue. At current rates of world consumption (over 26 billion barrels a year) and with 80% coming from fields discovered before 1973, end of supply is always a concern because proven reserves are only 1,213 billion barrels, 75% of which is in 370 fields worldwide. It is projected that production rates will peak in 2037 unless new reserves are found and sharply decline thereafter.
Then along comes Dr. Thomas Gold, professor emeritus at Cornell and an astronomer no less, who says not to worry. Petroleum is a renewable resource made deep in the earth by inorganic processes (abiotic - an idea first proposed by Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov in 1757 who called it "rock oil") and does not come from piles of dead dinosaurs and fermenting leaves (biogenic). The conventional wisdom of petroleum geologists has been offended and most of them are steamed.