What is the natural replenishment rate of oil? Are extinction events connected with higher production?


Almost nil on human time scales.

The total estimated reserves (this number keeps changing over time) are of the order of 300E9 m^3. For convenience lets say all of this oil formed over the last 300 million years at a constant rate. Then the rate of formation is 1000 m^3 per year or ~6000 barrels of usable oil.

This obviously is a simple back of the envelope calculation and doesn't account for oil that has been lost/degraded/converted to other hydrocarbons over time. Also the rate of formation varies a lot (depends on climate, position/structure of plates and what not).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This answer could use some references. I suspect an estimate on the basis of reserves must be orders of magnitude off because it doesn't account for the fact that most (almost all?) molecules of hydrocarbons produced are not trapped or preserved. $\endgroup$
    – kwinkunks
    Jun 29 '15 at 0:00
  • $\begingroup$ @kwinkunks True, but for human purposes, what isn't trapped is lost. You could argue that by introducing humans to the production process we can get rid of the losses and gain a much bigger source, but that's outside of the scope of the question IMO. $\endgroup$
    – Luaan
    Mar 9 '16 at 15:45

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