Squeezing Oil from Old Wells

Adding certain bacteria to oil wells may allow recovery of crude oil that pumps can't normally extract.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM May 26, 2006

Oil fuels the lives of most people around the world. We use it to power our cars and planes, heat our homes, and even manufacture shoes, plastic bottles, and other products. Without it, the world would be a very different place.

Oil can be pumped out of the ground only in certain places, however, and there's a limited supply. Now, scientists have found an unusual way to squeeze additional crude oil out of wells that were thought to be tapped out. They're using microbes to help extract the tra...

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