Washington, Apr 12: Non-renewable energy is scarce, realising this researchers are figuring out how to squeeze more petroleum out of abandoned or soon-to-be-abandoned oil fields.
The pioneering technology in this field is being developed by a Mississippi State researcher, Prof. Lewis Brown who already has extended the life of one field by 17 years, Science Daily reported. That may sound far-fetched for those unfamiliar with his ongoing research that involves the forced growth of oil-chasing microbes used to redirect injected water that, in turn, sweeps once-inaccessible oil from old wells into production. Brown said two-thirds of all US oil remains in the ground because it's not economically feasible to remove with existing technology. ''We've now developed a method to get some of that oil out of the ground,'' he added. The microbiology professor Brown proved with his experiments in the oil fields of Alabama. Analysts had predicted those wells would stop producing in 1998.
After Brown had applied his method, follow-up analysis indicated the wells could still produce--and might continue to do so until 2015 and till date it has produced more than 400,000 additional barrels. "This process has us talking about potentially recovering much of the now unrecoverable oil," Prof. Brown said. "This will help give us more time to develop replacements for our major energy source," he added.