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The Impact of Genomics Sciences on the Oil and Gas Industry- Part 1: The Good, the Bad and the Hungry: Micro-organisms and Their Effects on Oil Sands Tailings Ponds

Nov 29, 2013
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Nexen Annex Theatre (+15 level)
801 - 7th Ave SW
Calgary, AB
This event is currently not open for registration.
Environment - Water Heavy Oil Oil Sands


In this information session co-hosted by Genome Alberta, Julia Foght (Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta), and Peter Dunfield (Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary) will describe research into biological generation of greenhouse gases in oil sands tailings ponds.

Contrary to public perception that oil sands tailings ponds are ‘toxic to all life’, they actually are home to trillions of thriving micro-organisms. These natural, complex, and diverse microbial communities have large-scale detrimental and beneficial activities – depending on the species and depth where they are found within a tailings pond.

The Hydrocarbon Metagenomics Project has made progress in discovering desirable and undesirable microbial activities in situ, providing information for effective tailings pond management, and identifying potential barriers to reclamation of tailings in end-pit lakes. Our joint presentation will highlight some of the mega-consequences of harbouring micro-organisms in tailings ponds. This research can be used to inform tailings pond operators how to better manage and predict methane emissions from ponds and end pit lakes.


Genome Alberta is co-hosting this information series focused on showcasing emerging research applicable to the oil and gas industry that has come out of the Genome Canada funded ‘Hydrocarbon Metagenomics Project’.

The project was designed with one goal in mind: to minimize the environmental impact of oil sands production.

Using state of the art genomics tools and expertise, this project harnesses the genetic potential of the microorganisms, genes and biological processes present in Canada’s oil sands, oilfields and coal beds. In the same way that genetic information generated by the human genome project is revolutionizing medicine and allowing doctors to target genes to improve the body’s health, the project allows scientists to develop techniques to use naturally occurring organisms and bioprocesses to decrease the environmental impact of hydrocarbon extraction.

By designing new biotechnologies that decrease the energy and water required currently for oil sands extraction and by enhancing methane production from coal beds this project will help to ensure that both Canada and the world’s current energy requirements are met with the smallest environmental impact possible. The accomplishment of this aim will help Canada’s energy production become an environmentally sustainable enterprise.

For more information, please visit:

Who should attend?

- Air emissions and greenhouse gas emissions specialists
- Green energy specialists, coordinators and managers
- Government policy advisors and managers
- Regulators
- Regulatory reporting specialists
- Environmental monitoring and reporting specialists, supervisors and managers
- Land management field personnel and management
- Technology Managers
- Experienced Professionals interested in learning about new technologies

Nov 29
11:30 AM Registration & Lunch
12:00 PM Presentation & Discussion
(Noon on Nov 28)
At Event
PTAC Member FREE $25.00
Non-Member $50.00 $75.00


Marc Godin, P.Eng.
Technical Advisor
Katie Blanchett
Operations Manager

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