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Biotechnology: bacteria culture for oil recovery

Biotechnology: bacteria culture for oil recovery

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Credit

JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Biotechnology. Bacteria culture being placed into high temperature/pressure apparatus, during research into 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 oil viscosity; viscous, insoluble 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 oil towards a production well.

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