“Spectacular geology and history, together.”
That’s how AAPG Honorary member Pinar Yilmaz of ExxonMobil set the scene for the upcoming International Conference and Exhibition (ICE), set Sept., 14-17 in Istanbul, Turkey.
“Participants will not only see the geology but also have a chance to visit the world-renowned historical locations,” she said of the upcoming conference, for which she serves as technical program co-chair.
Sponsored by the Turkish Association of Petroleum Geologists and the AAPG Middle East and Europe regions, the meeting’s theme – “The Spirit Between Continents: Energy Geoscience in a Changing World” – calls attention to the historical, cultural and geographical centrality of the locale.
Of course, geology always takes center-stage at ICE, and Yilmaz explained that it boasts a technical program that includes sessions on the following:
- Complex geology and tectonics of the Tethyan orogenic belt.
- Hydrocarbon potential of the Alpine-Himalayan basins.
- Unconventional potential of Turkey.
- Geology of the Mediterranean, Arabian platform, Arctic and Black Sea.
- Seismic data on key basins across the Black Sea and Turkey that illustrate the importance of the region to the oil and gas industry.
Of course, the information-packed technical program was helped in no small part by the record-breaking 820 abstracts submitted to this year’s ICE, which made the selection process for technical sessions highly competitive.
Yilmaz attributed that unprecedented level of interest to the immense appeal of the locale – geologically and professionally as well as culturally and historically.
“Istanbul is an exciting city,” she said.
“It’s easy to access, and culturally it’s a bridge between the west and the east. It’s a modern city with incredibly beautiful historical sights and unparalleled archeological history,” Yilmaz explained.
“Also, it’s filled with great restaurants and luxury hotels,” she added.
Yilmaz also noted that, because of its proximity to the Middle East, Asia and Europe, there are about 120 countries from which no visa is required, and for the rest, the Turkish government boasts a highly efficient ‘E-Visa’ process by which to enter the country, which complements the more-than 200 countries to which Turkish airlines offer non-stop service.
“Istanbul is ranked in the top of any travel destination worldwide,” she said. “All these factors encouraged the authors.”
History and Geology
Yilmaz points proudly to field trips offered at this year’s ICE, selected to demonstrate how the rich and storied history of the region was shaped in large part by its unique geology.
“There is the Western Anatolian field trip on the geology of the Aegean region, characterized by rifting of the Paleozoic-Mesozoic sedimentary platform reflected in major graben/horst topography of the Neogene tectonics, and its impact on the ancient civilizations, settlements, trade routes,” she said.
“This trip provides an opportunity to observe close connections between the geological parameters and the existence and longevity of some famous ancient settlements of western Anatolia,” she continued, “including the ancient world’s well-known cities of Ephesus, Miletus, Sardis, Hieropolis and Afrodisias.”
The Sivas basin field trip with salt outcrops is “a perfect analog to numerous salt-related oil and gas fields producing in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West Africa,” she noted.
“It is a natural setting to observe complex salt and sediment interaction that have undergone several deformation phases,” Yilmaz added. “The Sivas Basin is possibly the world’s finest open-air museum of salt tectonic structures. Although it is a continental basin, the structures are analogues of those developed in deep offshore domain in classical petroleum provinces controlled by salt tectonics such as in the Gulf of Mexico and Angola.”
She said high quality exposures to be featured on the field trip include:
- Halokinetic sedimentary sequences
- Welds and evaporite sheets
- Minibasins and overturned edges of minibasins.
“In the vicinity of the evaporite bodies, interesting analogues for drilled structures where seismic does not provide an image will be shown,” she added.
Lastly, she said, “The field trip to Central Turkey not only traverses across Mesozoic ophiolite mélanges and Tertiary sedimentary rocks, but it also visits two very famous archeological sites: a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) heritage site, Cappadocia, with its eroded volcanic tuff topography, where buildings carved into the tuff showcase Christian settlements from Roman times to today. Ancient buildings including churches carved in the tuff, with decorations preserved.
“The other site to visit is the Bronze Age Hittite city of Bogazkoy – Hattusa (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The Hittites lived in what is now modern Turkey and northern Syria around 2000 B.C., and established an empire by 1600 B.C. Hittites are most famous for their fights with neighboring empires, including the Egyptians where the use of iron chariots gave them decisive victories. Hittites were forerunners of the Iron Age, developing iron artifacts as early as the 14th century B.C.”
A Global Network
Like Byzantium and Constantinople before it, Istanbul’s geographic centrality makes it an important hub for international commerce, which Yilmaz said bolsters ICE 2014 as a unique opportunity for networking.
“You can meet with geoscientists from around the world, network and establish relationships with key independent and national oil company executives and top technical experts,” she said.
Also, Yilmaz pointed out that because of Istanbul’s privileged place as a geographic and economic hub, ICE 2014 is just the first among the major oil and gas conferences that will take place in there: the World Energy Conference (WEC) will be in Istanbul 2016, and the World Petroleum Council will have its Congress there in 2017.
“Istanbul won this honor over Houston, Almaty and Copenhagen,” she said, “where 70 member countries voted.”