The Kazan Workshop on Abiotic Hydrocarbons—co-sponsored by the President of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO)—was held 13-17 April 2013 on the historic campus of Kazan Federal University. Kazan is the capital and largest city in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, which is an important oil-producing region. More than 40 people from six countries participated in the workshop. The organizing committee was co-chaired by Academician Renat Muslimov, Professor of Geology at Kazan Federal University and Advisor to the President of the Republic of Tatarstan on development of oil fields; Professor Danis Nurgaliev, Deputy Rector of the Kazan Federal University and Professor of Geology; and Academician Anatoliy Dmitrievsky, Professor of Geology and Director of the Institute of Oil and Gas of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow). Dr. Irina Plotnikova (pictured), Head of the Department of Oil and Gas Geology, Kazan Federal University, played lead roles in planning the workshop and organizing a field excursion to the oil-producing region of Tatarstan.
Field and experimental papers on the origins and distribution of abiotic hydrocarbons were featured in the workshop’s scientific program. For example, Vladimir Kutcherov shared his experimental data on the synthesis and transformation of hydrocarbon systems at temperatures and pressures corresponding to Earth’s upper mantle. Konstantin Litasov discussed melting relations and stability of alkanes at pressures of 50-80 GPa. Thomas McCollom evaluated geological and experimental evidence for abiotic hydrocarbon formation in Earth’s crust. Christopher Ballentine provided an assessment of mantle-derived abiotic hydrocarbon contributions to crustal fluids.
A workshop session on geological structures in oil and gas regions included a paper on oil-refilling channels by Vladimir Trofimov, and another session on geochemical aspects of the formation and migration of hydrocarbons featured a paper on isoprenoid biomarkers and microbial transformation of deep hydrocarbons by M. Chudetsky. A session on modern influxes of hydrocarbons included a paper by S. B. Ostroukhov on mass exchange processes in oil and gas fields. The full agenda is available online here.
The workshop generated discussion about developing testable hypotheses for discriminating between biotic and abiotic methane and other hydrocarbons. It may be possible for some of the participants in this workshop to share samples and reconvene in two or three years with new data, including measurements using new instruments currently under development.
From Left to Right: Standing: Radmir Khaziev, Edward Fakhrutdinov, Gulmira Salahetdinova, Alsou Gubaidulina, Fidaniya Nosova, Hailiang Dong, Chris Ballentine, Tom McCollom, Sergey Ostroukhov, Michael Chudetsky, Renat Muslumov, John Saul, Vladimir Kucherov, Marilyn Bridges, Steven Soter, Rustem Seiful-Mulyukov, Rustem Mukhametshin, Galina Kayukova, Vladimir Morozov, Gennady Petrov. Sitting: Irina Plotnikova, Alina Stadnitskaia, Craig Schiffries, Goram Goradze, Shakira Muslimova, Jesse Ausubel.
A full list (PDF) of the meeting's Organizing Committee can be downloaded here.
Meeting report contributed by Craig M. Schiffries.