Thermophilic Bacteria in Arctic May Provide Oil & Gas Reserves

CALGARY, Ontario, Sept. 18 (UPI) — Heat-loving bacteria found in sediment in the Arctic Ocean could target undiscovered oil and gas reserves, scientists in Canada said.

The thermophilic bacteria found off the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen are genetically similar to bacteria found at hot offshore oil reservoirs, said university researcher Casey Hubert, who led the investigation with the Max Planck Institute for Marine Biology in Germany.

The Spitsbergen bacteria were found as dormant spores, which likely were transported to the sediment in seepage from hot sub-seafloor habitats, Hubert said.

The anaerobic microbes were found in abundance, indicating they came from a huge oxygen-free habitat, Hubert said.

“We expect ongoing surveys will pin-point the source, or sources, of these misplaced microbes,” Hubert said. “This could have interesting applications if they are really coming up from leaky petroleum reservoirs.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Nature & Ecosystems, Other
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