Watching the World: Big business bugs

01/28/2002
Austria is seldom seen as an oil producer, but in the fertile corn fields northeast of Vienna there are wells that might have been abandoned as uneconomic 5 years ago but today are still producing.Some produce at a rate that takes them into the stripper category, but Austria does produce around 5 million bbl/year from fields that started production in 1938.Bugs and spillsThe reason that the fields can remain in economic production is attributable to bacteria and research into oil spill clean-up at Norway's University of Bergen. In the late 1970s, Egil Sunde became the first person to study the effects of bacteria on oil spills at the university. He found that bacteria could clean up o...
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