Natural Gas-Gobbling Bacteria May Help Combat Oil Leaks

Article title
A type of bacteria that eats natural gases may provide defense against leaks such as BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill and curb global warming, a scientific report says.


OSLO, April 28 (Reuters) - A type of bacteria that eats natural gases may provide a small defence against leaks such as BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 and curb global warming, a scientific report said on Monday.

The study identified a strain of microbe able to grow on both methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, and propane. Both are found in unrefined natural gas and scientists had previously thought that bacteria could only grow on one or the other.

In consuming both methane and propane the bacteria prevent the gases reaching the atmosphere, Britain's University of East Anglia said of the report written by two of its scientists in the journal Nature.

That means the microbes "could help mitigate the effects of the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere from both natural gas seeps in the environment and those arising from man-made activity such as fracking and oil spills," it said.

The versatile diet of the bacteria, methylocella silvestris, may mean a microbial ally in absorbing pollution and greenhouse gases that a U.N. panel of scientists says are extremely likely to be the main cause of global warming since 1950.

First found in northern Europe, the bacteria were also detected after BP's spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the worst U.S. offshore disaster, the study said. The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and spewed oil and gases into the Gulf of Mexico.


View Full Article

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


Post a Comment Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.


Our Privacy Pledge

Most Popular Articles

From the Career Center
Jobs that may interest you
Safety Compliance Officer
Expertise: Regulatory Compliance|Safety Officer
Location: Houston, TX
Sr. Safety Specialist
Expertise: Safety Engineering
Location: Richland, WA
SHES Supervisor/Procedure Writer- (Petrochemical Plant)
Expertise: HSE Auditing|HSE Manager / Advisor
Location: Baytown, TX
search for more jobs

Brent Crude Oil : $46.17/BBL 0.10%
Light Crude Oil : $43.04/BBL 0.39%
Natural Gas : $2.21/MMBtu 0.45%
Updated in last 24 hours