As we continue to talk about Peak Oil and the claim that the world is
running out of oil, some might recall that Nazi Germany during World
War 2 ran it's war machine on synthetic gas and oil.
scientific studies have demonstrated that the earth forms its own oil,
abiotic oil, from a process that appears to involve methane deep within
the earth. Unfortunately, we don't know how much of this oil the
earth produces and whether it is possible to economically extract it.
But we do know that the 19th century Russian scientist was correct in
his belief that oil was created within the earth from other than fossil
For an excellent understanding on abiotic oil read, "Project Savior's What We Know Wednesday: Abiotic Oil, Myths and Facts.
Still even if abiotic oil has little potential for future needs, there was the technology that existed in the early 1930s that allowed the Germans to produce its own synthetic gas and oil.
What happened to it?
World War 2, Germany had little natural oil reserves to call upon to
run its massive war machine. The solution was to come up with the
technology to run the equipment needed for war.
Nazi's had to come up with a way to create synthetic fuels if they were
to be able to engage their enemies in battle. When it comes to war,
humans can often exceed perceived technological limitations and the
It wouldn't be much of a stretch to assume Germany's brilliant scientists came up with the process alone. But, in reality the Germans had a little help from Standard Oil.
"....The Standard Oil group of companies, in which the Rockefeller family owned a one-quarter (and controlling) interest,1
was of critical assistance in helping Nazi Germany prepare for World
War II. This assistance in military preparation came about because
Germany's relatively insignificant supplies of crude petroleum were
quite insufficient for modern mechanized warfare; in 1934 for instance
about 85 percent of German finished petroleum products were imported.
The solution adopted by Nazi Germany was to manufacture synthetic
gasoline from its plentiful domestic coal supplies. It was the
hydrogenation process of producing synthetic gasoline and iso-octane
properties in gasoline that enabled Germany to go to war in 1940 and
this hydrogenation process was developed and financed by the Standard
Oil laboratories in the United States in partnership with I.G.
Farben..... Source: Standard Oil Fuels World War 2
But the history of Corporate America helping the Nazi war machine is well documented. What is not as well known is that the technology that created Nazi synthetic gas and oil is still around today and in use.
In South Africa, there is a company called Sosol that utilizes the same technology the Nazi's used to create synthetic oil.
"...In 1948, the newly elected National Party regime formally instituted apartheid. Two years later, it created Sasol. Aside from mining and manufacturing chemicals, Sasol set out to develop a domestic gasoline-production capability, a goal that became more urgent when many oil-producing nations refused to sell oil to the apartheid regime. In the late 1970s, using government loans, the firm built a huge complex at Secunda, where it has produced some 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline that is functionally no different than the gas produced from Texas crude.
the end of apartheid, Sasol has prospered, finding new markets and
customers outside its borders. But with the spike in oil prices of the
last few years, it has really caught fire. (Note this five-year chart of Sasol, whose shares were listed on the New York Stock Exchange in
2003, against ExxonMobil.) And that has much to do with the company's
technological promise....." Source: Slate
Evidently, the South African company finds it economically feasible to produce this synthetic gas.
So it is an interesting factoid that synthetic fuels utilizing Nazi technology from the 1930s is still being used.
the larger point is that if there was 1930s technology that was
efficient and sufficient enough to fuel the massive German war machine
with synthetic gas and oil, we are likely capable of utilizing our
advanced technology to move past our dependence on oil (biotic or
I am not advocating that the world continue to run on fossil fuels. It is a dirty form of energy that kills a lot of life with the pollution that arises from it. It is also clear that it contributes to global climate change. But I am pointing out that our energy sources and technology are likely much more advanced and capable of meeting present and future energy needs than the public realizes.
all, large profits are made from a perceived lack or scarcity. Look at
the massive profits Enron generated out of creating a supposed scarcity
of electricity in California. Most of us may recall the rolling
blackouts that occurred in California from a supposed energy crisis.
Later it was revealed that those blackouts were manufactured by Enron
for maximum profits.
"...The traders also said that Enron's retail unit, Enron Energy Services, or EES, used the fear created by the blackouts to push large California businesses into more than $1 billion in long-term energy contracts...." Source: Market Watch