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Mendenhall Research Fellowship - Research Opportunity # 17-28. Revitalization of Hydraulically Fractured Shale Oil and Gas Wells Through Enhanced Microbial Natural Gas Production
Large increases in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. have been driven by unconventional technologies (directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing) in shale. With this technology there is a finite reserve of oil or gas that is available and once it has been recovered (sometimes after several rounds of hydraulic fracturing) the well is capped. It may be possible to extend the life of existing wells and associated infrastructure by promoting microbial gas production in existing shale wells. Microbially-produced (biogenic) natural gas is of interest because there is potential for regenerating biogenic gas by stimulating biodegradation of carbon sources in-situ. Microbial methane production (microbial methanogenesis) is relatively slow under natural conditions and would not be commercially viable; however, it may be possible to develop a methodology that would stimulate microbial methanogenesis in situ to produce economic quantities of biogenic gas within a reasonable time frame (months to years). Development of a viable methodology for the stimulation of microbial methanogenesis in shale would provide additional natural gas resources using existing infrastructure. In theory, many cycles of stimulation and production are possible if biodegradable organic matter remains accessible in the shale to microbes.
Proposed Duty Station: Reston, VA
Areas of Ph.D.: Microbiology, bioengineering, biogeochemistry, or molecular biology with a focus on biodegradation processes; or related fields (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines but with knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered).
Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research Biologist or Research Chemist
(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above. However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources Specialist.)
The position involves work in the office, laboratory, and some field work. Office work requires use of a computer and associated hardware with normal risks. Lab work involves working with chemicals, glassware and microbial cultures (non-pathogenic); this involves some risk and hazards that require training precautions. Chemicals include flammable liquids, irritants, and possible carcinogens; eye protection, lab coats and gloves, and proper lab safety precautions are required. Field work involves travel by air and use of rental vehicles to access test sites in remote locales like the Powder River Basin in eastern Montana. Travel will usually be with other experienced USGS scientists and staff. Some walking and carrying of equipment over rough ground will be involved, and the incumbent must be in reasonable physical health. Weather conditions in the field are unpredictable (rain, snow, lightning), and there are possible encounters with wildlife. Proper field precautions and gear (boots, etc.) are required. The employee applies a wide range of safety precautions when controlled conditions deteriorate due to unforeseen conditions or previously unknown risks.
Occasional travel - Overnight travel up to 2 nights per month may be required.
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This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/518617500. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.