Skip to main content

Vladimir Litvinenko criticized the theory of organic origin of oil

Менделеевские чтения
© Форпост Северо-Запад

The International Scientific and Practical Conference "Mendeleev Readings. Chemical Processes in the Earth's Interior" already started. The main topic of discussion at its plenary session was the genesis of hydrocarbons. As is known, the traditional version is based on their organic origin, but recently the abiogenous hypothesis which assumes that oil originates in the Earth interior in the interaction of hydrogen, carbon and other chemical elements has become increasingly popular. And then through the microcracks in the lithospheric plates it rises to the surface of the Earth.

On the exact answer to the question of which of the scientists is right, depends neither more nor less than the existence of civilization. After all, in the first case, the reserves of fossil fuels will be completely exhausted over the next century, which will lead to a sharp shortage of heat and electricity. There is little hope for wind turbines and solar panels: they are very metal-intensive and have a low density of generated energy. That is, simply put, they are expensive and inefficient to operate. And the progress in geothermal or thermonuclear energy does not yet allow us to say that in the foreseeable future they can become an alternative to the same natural gas.

But if the supporters of the inorganic origin of hydrocarbons are right, then mankind may not worry, because this means that their reserves are capable of natural reproduction. In addition, it is already possible to start searching for black gold deposits at great depths, for example, in Western Siberia. Of course, the level of investment in the necessary technology will be higher than in the development of traditional deposits, but in the end the costs of such projects will be much lower - they will not require the construction of infrastructure from scratch, as in hard-to-reach Arctic regions.

© ПАО «Татнефть»

By the way, Dmitry Mendeleev was the first who presented the theory of abiogenous genesis of oil in a well-reasoned way. Many other scientists, such as Nikolai Kudryavtsev, a graduate of the Mining Institute, held the same view. Rector Vladimir Litvinenko, who opened the forum, reminded the conference participants of this.

"Dmitry Mendeleev's scientific activities are inextricably linked with the St. Petersburg Mining University. For example, his thesis was printed in 1856 exactly in the Mining Journal. In the library funds there are more than 25 lifetime editions of his scientific articles. And in our museum - materials of the first meeting of the Russian Chemical Society, which he created together with a group of like-minded people in 1868, correspondence with Nobel, and results of the Ural expedition of 1899. Dmitry Ivanovich was also an initiator of the creation in Gorny of the most modern at that time chemical laboratory. He was not only a brilliant scientist, but also an ascetic, who worked tirelessly for the development of Russian science and industry," said Vladimir Litvinenko.

He reminded that mankind has very vague ideas about what processes take place in the thickness of the shield and the underlying rocks, and the results of profile studies are rarely made public. However, even those data that are in the public domain suggest that traditional ideas about the origin of fossil fuels have nothing to do with reality.

© Форпост Северо-Запад

By the way, the other day there was news from China that the state oil company Sinopec drilled a well of 8937 meters deep in one of its fields. Its debit, according to forecasts, will reach one thousand tons per day. In all, there are 41 wells in the Tarim Basin with depths of more than 8,000 meters. Undoubtedly, such impressive figures speak in favor of the theory of inorganic origin.

"Chinese scientists today are seriously studying heat flows in the depths of the Earth in order to get more accurate scientific data on the structure of the lithosphere. Their research confirms the presence of deposits of deep oil and microcracks several kilometers long, thanks to which it rises closer to the surface of the planet and forms the traditional deposits. Some of these natural pantries which have been exploited for decades should have been exhausted long ago, but the production continues just because of the reserves replenishment", - assures Vladimir Litvinenko.

He stressed that this field of knowledge consists of numerous white spots and is characterized by uncertainties associated with the lack of precise scientific information. However, if the genesis of hydrocarbons was based on the decomposition of organics, then the formation of numerous fields in the Middle East would require biomass up to several hundred meters high, as well as circumstances that would help to bring it down to a depth of several kilometers.

Сауди Арамко

"We live in an amazing era in which the truth, through affiliated media and social networks, can be declared nonsense at any time, and any pseudoscientific theory, on the contrary, can acquire the status of truth in the last resort. Take hydrogen, which has long been declared an energy resource in the West. The fact that nowhere in the world there is neither its market, nor technologies of its combustion for obtaining electricity and heat by analogy with natural gas (the burning process of H2 occurs at much higher temperatures), it seems that no one is interested. As the saying goes, the end justifies the means, and it consists in discrediting fossil fuels and creating the illusion of the urgent need for energy transition. This is necessary in order to weaken the countries of raw materials, including Russia, and to deprive us of one of our competitive advantages - our rich resource base. But this is the dominant feature of our development, and it will remain so today and tomorrow, and in the next century. After all, the need for minerals will not disappear. Even if fossil fuels become less demanded commodity, the demand for copper, nickel, rare-earth metals, lithium will continue to grow," the rector of St. Petersburg University assured the audience, and then he addressed to the young listeners, of which there were many in the hall.

He urged them not to look for the easy ways of life and to acquire knowledge, because only in this case they will be able to objectively assess these or those initiatives and make high-quality forecasts for the future. And Vladimir Litvinenko closed his speech with a quote from Mendeleev: "Without the light of science there will be darkness with oil." This was said in the seventies of the XIX century, when Dmitry Ivanovich was working on elimination of problems hindering increase in production and processing of black gold in our country. It was then, after the mass launch of kerosene lamps on the market, that his demand soared. 150 years have passed, but the phrase is still relevant.

актовый зал
© Форпост Северо-Запад

The work of the International Scientific and Practical Conference "Mendeleev Readings. Chemical Processes in the Earth's Interior" will continue for two days. Among its participants are two RAS academicians - Aslan Tsivadze and Sergey Alexeenko, General Director of the All-Russian Research Geological Petroleum Institute Pavel Melnikov, Chief Curator of the D.I. Mendeleev Museum and Archive Tatiana Martynova, leading Russian and foreign scientists in the field of chemical and geochemical studies of fossils, genesis of hydrocarbons, study of deep phenomena occurring in the lithosphere.