This is too long to copy and post but here are some excerpts.
The gas methane, CH4, the principal component of natural gas, does not contain sufficient evidence in itself from which to deduce its origin on the Earth. There is some evidence from its isotopic composition, but interpretations of that are not unique. Information, however, exists in the mode of occurrence of natural gas reservoirs, in the geographic and geological relationships, in associated chemicals, and, above all, in the frequent association with other hydrocarbons, specifically crude petroleum and bituminous coal. Although there are numerous occurrences of natural gas without the heavier hydrocarbons, the association is generally so clear that one cannot contemplate an origin for the natural gas deposits independent of those of petroleum. We shall therefore first consider the origin of the whole set of hydrocarbons, including natural gas, and then discuss aspects that are specific to methane.
Debate about the Origin of Petroleum
It is remarkable that in spite of its widespread occurrence, its great economic importance, and the immense amount of fine research devoted to it, there perhaps still remain more uncertainties concerning the origin of petroleum than that of any other commonly occurring natural substance. (H.D.Hedberg, 1964)
Actually it cannot be too strongly emphasized that petroleum does not present the composition picture expected from modified biogenic products, and all the arguments from the constituents of ancient oils fit equally well, or better, with the conception of a primordial hydrocarbon mixture to which bio-products have been added. (Sir Robert Robinson, President, Royal Society, 1963)
The capital fact to note is that petroleum was born in the depths of the Earth, and it is only there that we must seek its origin. (D. Mendeleev, 1877)
The origin of petroleum has been a subject of many intense and heated debates, ever since this black fluid was first discovered to be present in large quantities in the pore spaces of many rocks. Is it something brought in from space when the Earth was formed? Or is it a fluid concentrated from huge amounts of vegetation and animal remains that may have been buried in the sediments over hundreds of millions of years?
Arguments have been advanced for each viewpoint, and although they conflict with each other, each line of argument sounds strangely convincing. In favor of the biogenic origin of petroleum, the following four observations have been advanced:
(1) Petroleum contains groups of molecules which are clearly identified as the breakdown products of complex, but common, organic molecules that occur in plants, and that could not have been built up in a non-biological process.
(2) Petroleum frequently shows the phenomenon of optical activity, i.e. a rotation of the plane of polarization when polarized light is passed through it. This implies that molecules which can have either a right-handed or a left-handed symmetry are not equally represented, but that one symmetry is preferred. This is normally a characteristic of biological materials and absent in fluids of non-biological origin.
(3) Some petroleums show a clear preference for molecules with an odd number of carbon atoms over those with an even number. Such an odd-even effect can be understood as arising from the breakdown of a class of molecules that are common in biological substances, and may be difficult to account for in other ways.
(4) Petroleum is mostly found in sedimentary deposits and only rarely in the primary rocks of the crust below; even among the sediment, it favors those that are geologically young. In many cases such sediment appears to be rich in carbonaceous materials that were interpreted as of biological origin, and as source material for the petroleum deposit.
On the other side of the argument, in favor of an origin from deeply buried materials incorporated in the Earth when it formed, the following observations have been cited:
(1) Petroleum and methane are found frequently in geographic patterns of long lines or arcs, which are related more to deep-seated large-scale structural features of the crust, than to the smaller scale patchwork of the sedimentary deposits.
(2) Hydrocarbon-rich areas tend to be hydrocarbon-rich at many different levels, corresponding to quite different geological epochs, and extending down to the crystalline basement that underlies the sediment. An invasion of an area by hydrocarbon fluids from below could better account for this than the chance of successive deposition.
(3) Some petroleums from deeper and hotter levels lack almost completely the biological evidence . Optical activity and the odd-even carbon number effect are sometimes totally absent, and it would be difficult to suppose that such a thorough destruction of the biological molecules had occurred as would be required to account for this, yet leaving the bulk substance quite similar to other crude oils.
(4) Methane is found in many locations where a biogenic origin is improbable or where biological deposits seem inadequate: in great ocean rifts in the absence of any substantial sediments; in fissures in igneous and metamorphic rocks, even at great depth; in active volcanic regions, even where there is a minimum of sediments; and there are massive amounts of methane hydrates (methane-water ice combinations) in permafrost and ocean deposits, where it is doubtful that an adequate quantity and distribution of biological source material is present.
(5) The hydrocarbon deposits of a large area often show common chemical or isotopic features, quite independent of the varied composition or the geological ages of the formations in which they are found. Such chemical signatures may be seen in the abundance ratios of some minor constituents such as traces of certain metals that are carried in petroleum; or a common tendency may be seen in the ratio of isotopes of some elements, or in the abundance ratio of some of the different molecules that make up petroleum. Thus a chemical analysis of a sample of petroleum could often allow the general area of its origin to be identified, even though quite different formations in that area may be producing petroleum. For example a crude oil from anywhere in the Middle East can be distinguished from an oil originating in any part of South America, or from the oils of West Africa; almost any of the oils from California can be distinguished from that of other regions by the carbon isotope ratio.
(6) The regional association of hydrocarbons with the inert gas helium, and a higher level of natural helium seepage in petroleum-bearing regions, has no explanation in the theories of biological origin of peroleum.
Advocates of the Abiogenic Theory
Among the early advocates of a non-biological origin of petroleum was the great Russian chemist Mendeleev, the originator of the periodic table of the elements. His arguments, presented in a paper on the origin of petroleum (Mendeleev, 1877) are still valid today. He already knew of the large-scale patterns of hydrocarbon occurrence, but his information on the processes that shaped the Earth was not our present understanding, and made his explanations much more complex than would need to be the case now.
Sokoloff (1889) discussed the “cosmic origin of bitumina” (carbonaceous substances from petroleum to pitch and tar), and he related these to the meteorites, knowing then already about their hydrocarbon content. He stressed that oil and tar occur in basement rocks, such as in the gneiss of Sweden. He could find no relationship to the fossil content of rocks, and he stressed that porosity was the sole circumstance which relates to the accumulation of bituminous substances.
Vernadsky (1933) gave reasons why he considered that with increased pressure and deceased oxygen availability with depth, hydrocarbons would be stable and largely replace carbon dioxide as the chief carbon-bearing fluid.
Kudryavtsev (1959) the most prominent and strongest advocate of the abiogenic theory in modern times, argued that no petroleum resembling the chemical composition of natural crudes has ever been made from genuine plant material in the laboratory, and in conditions resembling those in nature. He gave many examples of of substantial and sometimes commercial quantities of petroleum being found in crystalline or metamorphic basements, or in sediments directly overlying those. He cited cases in Kansas, California, Western Venezuela and Morocco. He pointed out that oil pools in sedimentary strata are often related to fractures in the basement directly below. The Lost Soldier Field in Wyoming has oil pools, he stated, at every horizon of the geological section, from the Cambrian sandstone overlying the basement to the upper Cretaceous deposits. A flow of oil was also obtained from the basement itself.
Hydrocarbon gases, he noted, are not rare in igneous and metamorphic rocks of the Canadian Shield. Petroleum in Precambrian gneiss is encountered in wells on the eastern shore of Lake Baikal. He stressed that petroleum is present, in large or small quantity, but in all horizons below any petroleum accumulation, apparently totally independent of the varied conditions of formation of these horizons. This statement has since become known as “Kudryavtsev’s Rule” and many examples of it have been noted in different parts of the world. Commercial accumulations are simply found where permeable zones are overlaid by impermeable ones, he concluded.
Kudryavtsev introduced a number of other relevant considerations into the argument. Columns of flames have been seen during the eruptions of some volcanoes, sometimes reaching 500 meters in height, such as during the eruption of Merapi in Sumatra in 1932. (We since know of several other instances.) The eruptions of mud-volcanoes have liberated such quantities of methane, that even the most prolific gasfield underneath should have been exhausted long ago. Also the quantities of mud deposited in some cases would have required eruptions of much more gas than is known in any gasfield anywhere. The water coming up in some instances carries such substances as iodine, bromine and boron that could not have been derived from local sediments, and that exceed the concentrations in seawater one hundred fold. Mud volcanoes are often associated with lava volcanoes, and the typical relationship is that where they are close, the mud volcanoes emit incombustible gases, while the ones further away emit methane. He knew of the occurrence of oil in basement rocks of the Kola Peninsula, and of the surface seeps of oil in the Siljan Ring formation of Central Sweden (which we shall discuss later). He noted that the enormous quantities of hydrocarbons in the Athabasca tar sands in Canada would have required vast amounts of source rocks for their generation in the conventional discussion, when in fact no source rocks have been found.
Beskrovny and Tikhomirov (1968) noted, as did Anders, Hayatsu and Studier (1973), that of the many possible isomers of petroleum molecules, the particular sub-set found in natural petroleum is also the one singled out in artificial oil production from hydrogen and carbon rather than from biological substances.
Profir’ev (1974) argued that so-called source rocks have no identification that proves their hydrocarbons to be primarily biogenic. He also discounted the hypothesis, often advanced, that the transport and deposition of oil from supposed source rocks to the final reservoir was accomplished by solution in gas: the quantities of gas that would be required would exceed by orders of magnitude the quantities that could be derived from the supposed source materials.
Levin (1958) concerned himself with the formation process of the Earth, claiming that the class of meteorites called carbonaceous chondrites, a low-temperature condensate that was probably responsible for bringing in solids that contained water, could have brought to the forming Earth several times larger quantities of carbonaceous materials than all the ocean water.
Kravtsov (1975) presented much observational material. He showed that the natural seepage of methane in many areas was far more than could be supplied by any kind of gasfield known. If the volcanic gases of the Kurile Islands, for example, are typical of the gases emitted over the time-span of the volcanic activity there, the amount of methane emitted would far exceed the conventional estimate of the present-day total world reserves. He also gave many examples of “Kudryavtsev’s Rule.”
Kropotkin and Valyaev (1976, 1984) and Kropotkin (1985) developed many aspects of the theory of deep-seated, inorganic origin of hydrocarbons. They concluded that petroleum deposits were formed where pressure conditions permitted the condensation of heavier hydrocarbons, transferred from great depth by rapidly rising streams of compressed gases. In volcanic regions, they noted, decomposition of hydrocarbons would be favored, resulting in the formation of carbon dioxide and water, while in “cool” regions hydrocarbons would be preserved, and could accumulate in alluvial cover and highly fractured beds, depending on the presence of adequate reservoirs and covers. According to these authors “vertical migration of hydrocarbons from levels far below formations rich in biogenic organic matter, which have been considered the source material for the oil, can be demonstrated in a majority of deposits.” Kropotkin also presented numerous examples where Kudryavtsev’s Rule is satisfied in a striking way.
There were several voices also outside Russia (or the Soviet Union), who argued for a non-biogenic origin. Most notable among them was Sir Robert Robinson (1963, 1966) who, like Mendeleev, can be considered among the most distinguished chemists of his day. He studied the chemical make-up of natural petroleums in great detail, and concluded that they were mostly far too hydrogen-rich to be a likely product of the decay of plant debris. Olefins, the unsaturated hydrocarbons, would have been expected to predominate by far in any material that was derived in that way.
Sylvester-Bradley (1964, 1972) discussed that the meteorites have hydrocarbons, and that hydrocarbons on the Earth derived in major part from such material. He proposed that hydrocarbons streaming up through the crust from great depth would have provided energy sources for simple forms of life. He knew about the biological materials in petroleum, but, like Robert Robinson, he thought that they were due to contaminating additions from microbiology in such locations.
Before discussing further the possible origins of hydrocarbons on the Earth, it is necessary to discuss the present state of knowledge of the formation process of the Earth and the planetary system, and the materials that contributed to the formation.