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No. 124: Jul-Aug 1999

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The mystery of eugene island 330

Eugene Island is a submerged mountain in the Gulf of Mexico about 80 miles off the Louisiana coast. The landscape of Eugene Island is riven with deep fissures and faults from which spew spontaneous belches of gas and oil. Up on the surface, a platform designated Eugene Island 330 began producing about 15,000 barrels of oil per day in the early 1970s. By 1989, the flow had dwindled to 4,000 barrels per day. Then, suddenly, production zoomed to 13,000 barrels. In addition, estimated reserves rocketed from 60 to 400 million barrels. Even more anomalous is the discovery that the geological age of today's oil is quite different from that recovered 10 years ago. What's going on under the Gulf of Mexico?

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the oil reservoir at Eugene Island is rapidly refilling itself from "some continuous source miles below the earth's surface." In support of this surmise, analysis of seismic records revealed a deep fault which "was gushing oil like a garden hose."

The deep-seated oil source at Eugene Island strongly supports T. Gold's theory about The Deep Hot Biosphere. Gold holds:

"that oil is actually a renewable, primordial syrup continually manufactured by the earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As this substance migrates toward the surface, it is attacked by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the dinosaurs."

The apparent deep-seated oil source at Eugene Island and Gold's ideas make petroleum engineers wonder about a similar situation at the seemingly inexhaustible oil fields of the Middle East.

"The Middle East has more than doubled its reserves in the past 20 years, despite half a century of intense exploitation and relatively few new discoveries. It would take a pretty big pile of dead dinosaurs and prehistoric plants to account for the estimated 660 billion barrels of oil in the region, notes Norman Hyne, a professor at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. "Offthe-wall theories often turn out to be right," he says."

(Cooper, Christopher; "It's No Crude Joke: This Oil Field Grows Even as It's Tapped," Wall Street Journal, April 16, 1999. Cr. C. Casale.)

From Science Frontiers #124, JUL-AUG 1999. 1999-2000 William R. Corliss