JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Biotechnology. Cultures of oil-degrading bacteria under evaluation as part of a research project to develop microbially-enhanced oil recovery methods. Researchers hope to breed strains of chemical- producing bacteria, which can survive in the high temperatures & pressures of oil reservoirs. Several different bacterial chemicals are envisaged: surfactants & solvents to lower the viscosity of the oil; viscous polymers to block porous "thief zones" where oil is lost; fermentation gases to clean debris from blocked wells and soluble polymers to thicken the water pumped into a reservoir, making it more effective at sweeping the oil towards a production well.
Model release not required. Property release not required.