Microbial Genomics for De-risking Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration in Nova Scotia

A new initiative that links marine bacteria with traditional geoscience aims to bolster oil exploration in Nova Scotia’s offshore.

A $4.9-million, three-year project, Microbial Genomics for De-risking Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration in Nova Scotia, is one of four national research collaborations awarded through Round 5 of Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP).

The project will help to create a comprehensive snapshot of Nova Scotia’s offshore with the goal of making it more attractive to oil and gas companies. (continued below)


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Chronicle Herald July 13, 2016

University of Calgary, July 11, 2016

AllNovaScotia.com (by subscription only) July 13, 2016


The project is a collaboration between Genome Atlantic and Genome Alberta, the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA), the Nova Scotia Government, the Geological Survey of Canada, the University of Calgary, and Mitacs.

Under the guidance of Adam MacDonald, Senior Geophysicist with the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, core samples from the ocean bottom will be collected and subjected to a detailed geochemical analysis. In parallel, University of Calgary microbiologists led by Dr. Casey Hubert will use genomics – the combination of genetics, biology and computer science that helps us understand the DNA of every living thing – to identify the presence of marine bacteria associated with hydrocarbons, which can indicate that oil is nearby.

Integrating the genomics with geoscience maps and data can help pinpoint areas for exploration, reducing the associated risks.

Project funding is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Energy at $2.57 million in in-kind contributions; Genome Canada at $1.59 million; Geological Survey of Canada (Natural Resources Canada) at $402,274 in-kind contributions; University of Calgary at $260,906 in-kind contributions; and Mitacs at $44,994.