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New Project Mixes Genomics And Geology To De-Risk Nova Scotia’s Offshore

A $4.9-million, three-year project, Microbial Genomics for De-risking Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration in Nova Scotia, was announced by Parliamentary Secretary for Science, Terry Beech. It is one of four national research collaborations awarded through Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP).

The projectwill help to create a comprehensive snapshot of Nova Scotia’s offshore with the goal of making it more attractive to oil and gas companies.

“This work builds on the Play Fairway Analysis that reduced risk for investors and helped attract over $2 billion in new exploration to Nova Scotia,” said Michel Samson, Minister of Energy. “This new research is an exciting and unique opportunity to gain an even deeper understanding of our offshore petroleum resources, position Nova Scotia as globally attractive, and generate new industry interest.”

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.

“Genomics is proving to be an invaluable tool to a range of sectors in Atlantic Canada,” says Steve Armstrong, President and CEO of Genome Atlantic. “We are very pleased to see so many partners working together to bring these innovations to our region.”

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.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to expand the information we have about our offshore resources,” says Stephen Dempsey, Executive Director, OERA, which helped develop the project and will manage its three-year duration. “The knowledge gained from this research will really benefit Nova Scotians and help set our region apart.”

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.

For more information:

Sue Coueslan
Genome Atlantic

Stephen Dempsey
Offshore Energy Research Association
Tel: 902-237-6282
Email: sdempsey@oera.ca

Marla MacInnis
Nova Scotia Department of Energy

Genome Atlantic is a not-for-profit corporation with a mission to help Atlantic Canada reap the economic and social benefits of genomics and other ‘omics technologies. Working with a broad range of partners, we help companies, genomics researchers and others collaborate around strategic R&D initiatives that create sustainable improvements in agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, energy, the environment, forestry, human health and mining. For more information, visit our website at www.genomeatlantic.ca

The Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that funds and facilitates collaborative offshore energy and environmental research.  OERA’s mission is to lead environmental, renewable and geoscience energy research that enables the sustainable development of Nova Scotia’s energy resources through strategic partnerships with academic, government and industry.  Since its establishment in 2006, the OERA has invested over $30 million in research, funded by the Province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Energy.
For more information, please visit the OERA website at www.oera.ca