I'm sure that a jungle planet would probably have more fossil fuels than Earth, as there'd be a lot more organic carbon, which would get buried underground and converted into fossil fuels. We'd probably also need to have factors like tectonic drift, high precipitation, tightly-packed, nonporous soil, etc. in order to bury that organic carbon, and a good amount of heat and pressure. So, the bigger, the better, as larger planets have a greater heat of formation, and more gravity, so there'd be more heat and pressure to turn organic carbon into fossil fuels. What I request for is a formula that predicts how much untapped fossil fuels an planet would have based on factors like:

  • Size
  • Age
  • Core temperature
  • Biomass

And there is a Goldilocks zone, as if the planet's interior has too much heat and pressure, we will get diamonds, and diamonds are not fossil fuels. I hope that that formula can be used to find out how much energy a given planet can store away.

  • $\begingroup$ Pretty much any solid, earth-like or rocky planet (for gravity) covered in a few moles of moles and left alone for a few million years. Ta-da, 1000-km oceans of oil! $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2020 at 22:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Actually, a jungle doesn't have more carbon to make petroleum, but rapidly cycles the carbon unless decay can be prevented. You need trees falling and not rotting, which can probably eventually make coal (this happened in the carboniferous period) or organics being deposited into anoxic seas (as is believed to have happened in the Tethys sea where Saudi Arabia sits today). Actually, diamonds ARE fossil fuels, but no one burns diamonds for heat (but they could like coal, if there were enough of them). $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Dec 3, 2020 at 22:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ During the Carboniferous period Earth was a jungle planet by any reasonable definition... lots of forest, high temperatures, lower sea levels, etc. Coal forming was facilitated by trees that had a lot of lignin which things had yet to evolve to consume effectively, enabling greater rates of fossilisation than are possible in the modern day. I fear fossil fuel creation is much too complex for anyone to give you a nice straightfoward answer. $\endgroup$ Feb 6, 2021 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


Hydrogen + Carbon + Heat + Pressure = Petroleum

This question has a hard science answer as we have already produced petroleum in a lab setting. It has nothing at all to do with biomass. We have nearly perfected the process of locating it as well, in reserves far larger than what used to be sought using topology, and at depths where no life could ever have been, such as the White Tiger fields off Korea. So your short answer was given by @Punintended, but the mole of moles is not necessary. We have discovered that four things are needed to make oil:

Requirement 1: Heat and Pressure

  • Polymerization of hydrocarbons takes place in the temperature range 600-1500 degrees C and at pressures range of 20-70 kbar [Kenney et al., 2002]
  • These conditions prevail deep in the Earth at depths of 70-250 km [Carlson et al. 2005].
  • In the asthenosphere the temperature is still relatively high but the pressure is greatly reduced comparable to the low mantle. This creates a situation where the mantle is partially melted. The asthenosphere is a plastic solid in that it flows over time. If hydrocarbon fluids could be generated in the mantle they could be generated in the asthenosphere zone only.

Requirement 2: Hydrogen

Experimental data published in Nature recently [Green et al. 2010] shows that water-storage capacity in the uppermost mantle “is dominated by pargasite and has a maximum of about 0.6 wt% $\text{H}_2\text{O}$ (30% pargasite) at about 1.5 GPa, decreasing to about 0.2 wt% $\text{H}_2\text{O}$ (10% pargasite) at 2.5 GPa”. Another possible source of hydrogen is hydroxyl group in some minerals (biotite, muscovite).

Requirement 3: Carbon

Mao et al., 2011 demonstrate that the addition of minor amounts of iron can stabilize dolomite carbonate in a series of polymorphs that are stable in the pressure and temperature conditions of subducting slabs, thereby providing a mechanism to carry carbonate into the deep mantle. In [Hazen et al., 2012] authors suggest that deep interior may contain more than 90% of Earth's carbon. Possible sources of the carbon in the crust are shown in Fig. 1.

Sources of the carbon in the crust (fig. 1)

Using our research we can even say where oil could be found in Sweden.

Together with two research colleagues, Vladimir Kutcherov has simulated the process involving pressure and heat that occurs naturally in the inner layers of the earth, the process that generates hydrocarbon, the primary component in oil and natural gas.

The degree of accuracy in finding oil is enhanced dramatically – from 20 to 70 percent.

The successful production of complex hydrocarbons with in a completely sterile environment also bring biotic oil deposit theory into serious question. The formation of oil deposits from biota requires lateral migration. That can’t happen according to these new discovered mechanisms.

Hydrocarbon compounds generate in the asthenosphere of the Earth and migrate through the deep faults into the crust of the Earth. There they form oil and gas deposits in any kind of rock in any kind of the structural position (Fig. 2). Thus the accumulation of oil and gas is considered as a part of the natural process of the Earth’s outgrassing, which was in turn responsible for creation of its hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.

A scheme for the genesis of hydrocarbons and petroleum deposit formation (fig. 2)

The most convincing evidence of the above mentioned mechanism of oil and gas deposit formations is the existence of such giant gas fields as Deep Basin, Milk River, and San Juan. They are located in Alberta, Canada, and Colorado, United States. The formation of these giant gas fields questions the existence of any lateral migration of oil and gas during the oil and gas accumulation process.

The discovery of these extremely large and deep deposits actually challenges the theory of biotic petroleum formation, which we have never yet successfully demonstrated.


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