National Research Council of Canada. Energy, Mining and Environment
Produced water; Petroleumwaste byproduct; Microbial communities; DGGE; q-PCR; Thermoanaerobacter
Hibernia is Canada’s largest offshore oil platform. Produced water is the major waste byproduct discharged into the ocean. In order to evaluate different potential disposal methods, a comprehensive study was performed to determine the impact from the discharge. Microorganisms are typically the first organisms to respond to changes in their environment. The objectives were to characterize the microbial communities and the chemical composition in the produced water and to characterize changes in the seawater bacterial community around the platform. The results from chemical, physicochemical, and microbial analyses revealed that the discharge did not have a detectable effect on the surrounding seawater. The seawater bacterial community was relatively stable, spatially. Unique microorganisms like Thermoanaerobacter were found in the produced water. Thermoanaerobacter-specific q-PCR and nested-PCR primers were designed, and both methods demonstrated that Thermoanaerobacter was present in seawater up to 1000 m from the platform. These methods could be used to track the dispersion of produced water into the surrounding ocean.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research22 (2015): 17697–17715.