Biotechnology: bacteria culture for oil recovery

Biotechnology: bacteria culture for oil recovery

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Credit: JERRY MASON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Biotechnology. Technician using an anaerobic tent to culture anaerobic bacteria, during research into microbially-enhanced oil recovery methods. Researchers hope to breed strains of chemical- producing bacteria, which can survive in the high temperature, high pressure, oxygen-free environ- ment of an oil reservoir. Several different bacterial chemicals are envisaged: surfactants & solvents to lower oil viscosity; viscous polymers to block porous "thief zones" where oil is lost; fermentation gases to clear blocked wells & soluble polymers to thicken the water pumped into a reservoir, making it more effective at sweeping the oil towards a production well.

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Keywords: anaerobic tent, application, applied, bacteria, bacteria contrl, biotechnology research, culture, genetic, genetics, oil eating, oil pollution, oil recovery research, oil-eating, oil-eating bacteria

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