Conspiracy Watch: Drill, Corsi, Drill

Oil not from living organisms

Illustration: Peter Hoey

the conspiracy: Oil is the product not of ancient microorganisms, but of a chemical reaction deep beneath the earth’s crust. So no matter what the doomsayers claim, we’ll never run out of the stuff—which means the oil companies are massively ripping us off at the pump.

the conspiracy theorists: Cold War Russian scientists looking for homegrown energy sources first came up with the idea of “abiotic oil.” (Abiotic: not from living organisms.) The theory was refined by former Swift Boater and Conspiracy Watch favorite Jerome Corsi, also the author of The Obama Nation. Corsi’s 2005 Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil posits that crude is an unlimited resource. So where is it, then? Corsi says we need to look “where we have never looked—even deeper in the world’s seas.” Now that’s offshore drilling.

meanwhile, back on earth: Giora Proskurowski, a researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, recently discovered small amounts of hydrocarbons forming through an abiotic process deep in the Atlantic. The abiotic oil believers have seized on his findings, but Proskurowski says sorry—talk of bottomless, Saudi-free oil is “a pipe dream.”

Kookiness Rating: tin foil hattin foil hattin foil hattin foil hat (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)