Research indicates bacteria broke down majority of Gulf oil spill

Researchers at the University of Rochester have found evidence suggesting that the majority of the oil spilled after the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig might have been consumed by local bacteria.

Many types of bacteria are capable of metabolizing hydrocarbons like the crude oil and natural gas that was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after the spill, but there has been uncertainty as to how much of this matter was ultimately broken down in this fashion.

According to an assessment spearheaded by Rochester's John Kessler, as much as 200,000 tons or more of oil and natural gas might have been consumed, leaving only around two-fifths of the initial spill in the water by September 2010. In addition, while the full ecological impacts of the practice are not detailed, the study indicates that the controversial use of dispersants might have encouraged this process.

"Interestingly, the oil and gas consumption rate was correlated with the addition of dispersants at the wellhead," said Kessler. "While there is still much to learn about the appropriateness of using dispersants in a natural ecosystem, our results suggest it made the released hydrocarbons more available to the native Gulf of Mexico microorganisms."

PennEnergy's Research area details the impact of the oil spill on U.S. oil policy.


Sign up for PennEnergy's eNewsletters
For Email Newsletters you can trust

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust

Weekly Newscast

 

Whitepapers

Substation Communications Design Legacy to IEC 61850 Best Practices

Two trends, the migration of the electrical grid to the “Smart Grid” and the adoption of Ethernet...

How to Mitigate Risk and Ensure Compliance: Govern Your Documents Accordingly

Too often, organizations hear “information governance” and think “records management” and “compli...

Using Information Intelligence for the Energy Sector

  In this IDC Energy Insights white paper, sponsored by EMC, the author provides an overview...

Enterprise Content Management in the Energy Industry: Increase Safety and Reliability, Reduce Costs and Damages

This Frost & Sullivan white paper looks at the need for enterprise content management to incr...

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>

Technical Digest

 

Archived Articles

PennEnergy Articles
2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGFJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Intl Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Utility Products Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

HydroWorld Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

COSPP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

ELP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013