We all grew up believing that oil is a fossil fuel, and just about every day this 'fact' is mentioned in newspapers and on TV, often when quoting supposedly learned scientists who should know better. However, let us not forget what Lenin said — "A lie told often enough becomes truth." Soon after the end of World War II, the Soviet dictator, Stalin, realised that the then Soviet Union needed its own substantial oil reserves and production system if it was ever again called upon to defend itself against an attacker such as Hitler's Germany.
In 1947, the Soviet Union had, as its petroleum 'experts' then estimated, very limited petroleum reserves. Stalin's response was to set up a task force of top scientists and engineers in a project similar to the Manhattan Project – the top-secret US program to develop the atom bomb during WWII — and initially under the same secrecy, and charged them with the task of finding out what oil was, where it came from and how to find, recover and efficiently refine it.
In 1951, the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins was first enunciated by Nikolai A. Kudryavtsev at the All-Union petroleum geology congress. Kudryavtsev analysed the hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum, and pointed out the failures of the claims commonly put forward to support that hypothesis. Stalin's team of scientists and engineers found that oil is not a 'fossil fuel' but is a natural product of planet earth — the high-temperature, high-pressure continuous reaction between calcium carbonate and iron oxide — two of the most abundant compounds making up the earth's crust.