Personally im ok with the current reciepe, but if you have to change it, Prop#1 sounds good to me.
I agree geo is cheap for what people use it for. When i first start out i go find a pit of lava, fill cells and shove into a geo. As it stands, even with just forestry, BC and IC2 one can still get lava shipped from the nether, althought it costs a bit more
(pump + bottler + wax capsules + ender chest). For that to work, you'd need to farm up bees, which is quite time consuming, and the lava you get from the bees and capsules is rather slow. Also, the whole thermal expansion / Quarry thing is why i removed thermal expansion from my client. I realise i could just disable the crucible, but meh.
Off topic: But i just found a oil pocket with a diameter of 30. Im expecting 14,000 buckets from this!