Fundamental research project “Deep hydrocarbons”

This project is developing in the frame of Deep Carbon Observatory project

Objectives:

1. to determine the frame of thermobaric parameters (and depths correspondenly) for the abiogenic synthesis of hydrocarbons

2. to model a process of hydrocarbon migration from the depth to the Earth’s crust

3. to study mechanisms of reactions of hydrocarbon synthesis at pressure up to 70 kbar 

4. to investigate chemistry of carbon-sulfur compounds and possible routes of sulphur substances genesis together with hydrocarbon mixtures at high pressure and temperature

5. to investigate chemistry of carbon-nitrogen compounds and possible routes of nitrogen substances genesis together with hydrocarbon mixtures at high pressure and temperature

Collaborators: 

– Russian State University of Oil and Gas (Moscow)

– Institute of High Pressure Physics (Russia)

– Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institute (Washington D.C.)

Scope of work:

We study genesis, phase behavior, physical and chemical properties of complex hydrocarbon systems under extreme conditions of high pressure and temperature, at different value of oxygen and hydrogen fugacity. Quantitative analysis of solid, liquid and gaseous phases by means of gas chromatography and X-ray quantitative spectrometry will let us study thermodynamics and kinetics of the observed processes.

The list of research which we intend to pursue:

1. Abiogenic synthesis of complex hydrocarbon systems under conditions of the Earth’s upper mantle. We will study mechanisms of reactions of hydrocarbon synthesis under the pressure-temperature conditions relevant for the deep Earth down to 250 km. This includes influence of the form of carbon and hydrogen donors, value of oxygen and hydrogen fugacity to the synthesis of hydrocarbons under upper mantle conditions (pressure up to 70 kbar, temperature up to 1800 K).

Systems currently under investigations:

  • Ca(Mg)CO3–SiO2–H2O/D2O–Fe/FeO/Fe3O4
  • C/CO2–SiO2–H2O/D2O–Fe/FeO/Fe3O4

2. Sulphur content in natural petroleum systems could rich several percents. We will study the possible routes of sulphur substances genesis together with hydrocarbon mixtures at high pressure and temperature.

Examples of ongoing studies:                                                                                         

  • ·          CH4–C2H6–C4H10–…–CnH2n+2–S/H2S/FeS
  • ·          S+C+H2O,
  • ·          FeS+MgCO3+H2O

3. Nitrogen content in natural petroleum systems could rich several percents. We will study the possible routes of nitrogen substances genesis together with hydrocarbon mixtures at high pressure and temperature.

Examples of ongoing studies:

  • CH4–C2H6–C4H10–…–CnH2n+2–N/H2S
  • FeN + H2O+ C
  • Mg3N2 + H2O + C

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