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Bacteria Transforming Oil into Methane

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Canadian and English researchers succeeded demonstrating in 2007 that certain bacteria could fasten the process of making methane gas out of residual oil. In the technology currently used, only 17% of the oil extracted can be used for producing useful fuel, says an article from the Nature magazine.

The microbes that the scientists used existed underground for millions of years, and the transformation process took place naturally during that time. They fertilized those microbes and somehow made them a catalyst. The new product would not be oil but natural gas – a cleaner-burning fuel that contributes far less to global warming.

“You’re talking a very substantial amount of energy,” said study co-author Steve Larter, a University of Calgary petroleum geologist. “It’s potentially a game-changer if it can be demonstrated.”

And that’s a softer perspective for 2008. But still, oil will finish in a few decades. What will we do then?

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