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Application of Synchrotron Radiation to Petroleum Geochemistry

August 5-6, 2004

Location: Brookhaven National Laboratory

This workshop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), will be hosted at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York, the home of the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), a premier national user facility supported by the DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The NSLS operates two electron storage rings; an x-ray ring and a Vacuum Ultraviolet (UV) ring which provide intense light spanning the electromagnetic spectrum from the infrared to x rays.

Over the last decade, there has been a surge of interest in the life and physical sciences in exploiting the power of high-intensity synchrotron radiation to probe the atomic and molecular structures in a variety of substances. The primary goal of this workshop is to promote the opportunities that the synchrotron spectroscopy offers for addressing the many challenging problems in petroleum geochemistry. Through resolving molecular structures and processes in detail, the method finds applications in a broad range of issues, from mechanisms of preserving organic matter to the generation of oil in source rocks, and its expulsion and migration through them.

A major objective of the workshop is to bring together researchers and other interested people from academia, industry, government, and the National Laboratories to identify and discuss important research areas and applications that can benefit from using synchrotron spectroscopy, and to forge collaborations among these different groups to tackle the major issues in petroleum geochemistry. Thus, the workshop should enhance the already successful public/private partnering in the DOE's Fossil Energy Program.

The workshop will focus primarily on three themes in the applications of synchrotron radiation to petroleum geochemistry:

  1. Understanding chemical structures (e.g., speciation of sulfur and nitrogen containing compounds)
  2. Understanding chemical processes (e.g., geochemical catalysis)
  3. Understanding physical structures and processes (e.g., microgeometry and flow in porous rocks)

Presentations on these themes will be followed by an industrial panel, and by discussions by breakout groups, topically organized. Such collective discussions and sharing of information and ideas by experts in an interactive environment will help to shape the needs and priorities for future research in synchrotron applications in petroleum geochemistry.