What would happen to crude oil if we never pumped it out of the ground?

Would it keep building up under there until the entire inner-Earth was crude oil and exploded? Would it degrade into anything else ever or remain forever?

2 Responses to “What would happen to crude oil if we never pumped it out of the ground?”

  1. jim z Says:

    You can think of crude oil as kind of like a river with a dam. The oil keeps upwelling upwards but is stopped by stratigraphic traps in mostly sedimentary rocks. It wouldn’t build up. The traps would fill and then continue to leak upwards.

  2. richardw Says:

    Eventually much of it would slide back under a continental plate where it will be oxidized or just sit there until something happens to Earth (such running into another celestial object).

    Crude oil comes from old biomass, which has a different elemental makeup from the majority of Earth. The elements to turn the entire Earth into crude oil just aren’t there. The earth is mostly oxygen, silicon, aluminum and a bunch of other stuff not vital to the production of crude oil.

    So, if you turned all the material on Earth we could into crude oil, you’d still be orders of magnitude away from resembling a crude oil planet.