Jürgen Rullkötter, PhD

Professor of Organic Geochemistry (retired)

Jürgen Rullkötter is a professor of organic geochemistry at the University of Oldenburg, Germany. He received his PhD degree at the University of Cologne in 1974.

With his experience in analytical and natural product chemistry he joined the Institute of Petroleum and Organic Geochemistry at the Research Centre Jülich (Germany) where he stayed for 17 years to investigate the bulk and molecular composition of fossil organic matter and petroleum. This research largely contributed to the understanding of the chemical processes and quantitative aspects of petroleum formation.

Biological marker parameters developed during that time are now widely used in the petroleum industry for oil/oil and oil/source rock correlation, for maturity assessment of organic matter and crude oils and for studying bacterial degradation of oils in reservoirs and in the environment.

With the development of environmental concerns, Professor Rullkötter extended his research to the microbial transformation of petroleum compounds in natural oil seeps and anthropogenic oil spills and, as a side aspect, to the investigation of asphalts used by the ancient Egyptians for mummification.

After he joined the University of Oldenburg in 1992, much of his research was devoted to paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic reconstructions based on the organic matter in marine sediments from the continental margins of the world’s oceans and to early diagenetic processes in coastal sediments of Holocene and Recent age.

He continued to work, however, on several aspects of petroleum in the environment and, among others, served on the NERC Committee on Decommissioning dealing with the scientific aspects of deep sea disposal of offshore structures, with the Brent Spar as an example of the environmental aspects of dismantling and using its parts for a harbor extension.

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