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It seems, at times, that oil is almost like diamonds: ... highly political, its "scarcity" a conspiratorial and convenient fiction. We actually don't even know what oil is, ... and what it is made from, and how it is made. Is it possible that it is a renewable resource? That it is the result of an organic process? That there might be, ... at least theoretically, an unlimited supply, and that recovery is the only issue? I do not have answers to any of these questions. fwiw.

Life is no longer that mysterious.

Are you aware that we can now make synthetic diamonds so similar to the real that the makers are required by law to laser-etch a "maker's mark" to prevent the devaluation of genuine diamonds?

Oil is not as little-understood as you seem to think, either. Yes there is a contrary theory about its origin that is not biological (originated with a geologist in Moscow), however it is considered mock-worthy by most geologists, a bit of research on the web (for anabiotic oil) will find plenty of reasons for this mockery. However, even if it were true, the theory still does not posit that oil is instantly produced -- either way, it is still a slow geologic process.

The transmutation of organic material into oil is understood enough that we can imitate it, as is done in the facility that turns turkey waste into an equivalent of Texas Crude #4; it's located near a ConAgra Turkey processing plant in Carthage, MO, and only recently went to 100% capacity, producing 450-600 barrels per day.

Unfortunately they have had some down-time as the plant has a terrible smell. Since the plant was designed to have "zero emissions," this has caused them to shut down operations and re-tool a bit.

One of the most bizaare aspects of this miracle transmogrification during this era of oil panic is that the only press this plant has received recently is the local paper's complaint about the stink:

Last year, Discover magazine ran a piece on the process, and another article is available here:

The company that built the plant is working on a second Agri-waste processing plant in Colorado. Thereafter they expect to start pursuing sewage treatment contracts. They say that, once they have a dozen plants, their per-barrel cost will be $10. If they license the technology out, it could ramp up rather quickly; there is enough agri-waste and sewage needing disposal to make a real dent in oil imports.

If the Carthage plant gets past its stink problem, the Sierra Club will then be able to remove the ConAgra plant from their "bad guys" polluter list:

With regard to Saudi truthfulness:

Aramco's former vice president and lead geologist, Sadad al-Husseini, has been moving toward "peak oil" ideas for some time now.

Going back to January (when he was still on the team):

More recently, in the aug 2nd "Oil and Gas Journal," al-Husseni wrote an article entitled "Why higher oil prices are inevitable this year, and the rest of the decade."

I've not read the article (it requires a subscription to obtain it on the web), but the Oil Depletion Analysis Center describes the article as follows:

Saudi Sees No Return to Low Oil Prices

Calling US Energy Information Administration (EIA) price forecasts "unrealistic and misleading", a recently retired executive of the Saudi national oil company, Aramco, predicts that supply constraints will inevitably lead to higher oil prices through the end of this decade. "Given the complex issues associated with finding and developing substantial new production capacity within a limited number of years, there is little ground for optimism regarding a return to an era of inexpensive oil prices", former Saudi Aramco Vice President Sadad al-Husseini writes in the US trade publication, Oil & Gas Journal ('Why higher oil prices are inevitable this year, rest of decade', August 2, 2004). While geopolitical problems in the Middle East and elsewhere are likely to continue to influence oil prices "for years to come", he says that the US Geological Survey and EIA conclusions about future oil production capacities "are not straightforward and cannot be reliable." He sees no evidence of the massive investments with supportive national policies "occurring on the required scale anywhere in the world" to meet projected increases in demand, and in any case, "there are good technical reasons to believe that the remaining oil and gas resources are in fact of much lower quality and profitability than the global reserves now being consumed." Given that "no major oil discoveries or expansion projects are now in sight," he concludes that "it would take years of investments to replace declines, let alone adding new net increases in production capacity."
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