Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oilfield Systems

The first and second International Symposium on Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oil Systems were held in Colchester, United Kingdom from September 17-18, 2007 and Aarhus, Denmark from June 17-19, 2009, respectively. The next symposium will be held in Calgary, Alberta from June 13-15, 2011.

The first symposium was co-organized by University of Exxex and Danish Technological Institute, and the details about it could be found at International Symposium on Applied Molecular Microbiology in Oil Systems (ISMOS), especially the slides presented at the conference.

The second symposium was mainly held by the Danish Technological Institute, and the details could be found at its website, since it is temporarily not available now. Once I can access it, I will update the information here as soon as possible. Fortunately, the proceedings of the symposium has been published as Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oilfield Systems. The book was divided into five parts: 1 Introduction, Sampling and Procedures; 2 Application of Molecular Microbiological Methodsto the Oil Industry; 3 Problems Caused by Microbes to the Oil Industryand Treatment Strategies; 4 How Specific Microbial Communities Benefit the Oil Industry; 5 Fuel for the Future. The author started the book from the most probable number(MPN) technique, which is the traditional and fundamental method to count the number of microbes in media. In the second part several papers introduced the application of molecular microbiological methods to the oil industry, such as qualitative (which microbial communities are presented) and quantitative (how many microorganisms are present)analysis of microbes in the oil reservoirs. The problems (bio-corrosions and bio-fouling) caused by microbes and treatment technologies were presented in the third part. The benefits of microbes to the oil industry (upgrading the oil in processing and MEOR in E&P) were described in the following part. Finally, the applications of microbes in biofuels also were mentioned. A brief description of each method used by some of the contributing authors in this book was also attached.

The information for the next symposium could be reached at its official website. I am glad to see more progress of applied microbiology and molecular biology in oilfield.


Scientists Found Oil on the Gulf of Mexico Floor

Two months ago, I discussed two inconsistent articles about the destiny of oil plume from Well Macondo 242 in the Gulf of Mexico which were published on Science Express. In the post, I listed the ideas of the parties and did not support anyone of them. The White House claimed that the oil had gone by several oil-spill clean technologies, including the breakdown of the bacteria. Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of Oklahoma confirmed that later. Shortly before the confirmation, the results of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution failed the claim. I suspected the claim because of the quick degradation rate by the bacteria in such an environment without enough oxygen.

The latest news make people tend to believe that the oil is still in the ocean. Yesterday, it is reported that scientists found a large amount of oil accumulated at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The research ship Cape Hatteras found the oil in samples dug up from the seafloor in a 140-mile around the Deepwater Horizon well site1,2. It is highly possible that the oil came out from the Well Macondo 242.  While, oil spill environmental forensic tests are needed to fingerprint the oil, identify its source, and verify the hypothesis1~3.


1. Research teams find oil on bottom of Gulf.

2. Scientists find lots of oil on gulf floor.

3. Oil Spill Environmental Forensics: Fingerprinting and Source Identification.

Diaoyu Islands

Diaoyu (means fishing in Chinese) Islands, which is called Senkaku Islands by Japanese, became the focus since early this September because of the collisions of Chinese fishing boat and Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessels near the Diaoyu Islands on Sep. 8th1. After the collision, the crew and the fishing boat was detained by Japanese Coast Guard2.The relationship between the two countries fell down to historical low level. After Japan freed the 14 crew members on Sep. 13th3, and released the illegally arrested captain, Zhan Qixiong, who was accused of obstructing Japanese public officers while they performed their duties4, on Sep. 24th5. The unofficial meeting of Prime Ministers6 and Defense Ministers7 eased the bilateral tensions a little bit after, but which was tightened again because of the anti-Japan protests in several cities, such as Chengdu8, Zhengzhou9, Xi’an10, Wuhan11, etc., in China recently and the right-wing forces protests in Japan last Saturday12.

The Diaoyu Islands could be traced back to more than 600 years ago on the books such as Voyage with a Tail Wind and Record of the Imperial Envoy’s Visit to Ryukyu13. From that moment until late Tsing Dynasty, China Central government had the sovereignty of Ryukyu Kingdom, with the frequent tributary envoys of Ryukyu Kingdom to China and official missions of central government to Ryukyu14. Diaoyu Islands locate on the way between the mainland and the Ryukyu Islands. Hayashi Shihei listed Diaoyu Islands when he introduced Ryukyu Kingdom in his book Sangoku Trsuran Zusetsu (An Illustrated Description of Three Countries), which was published in the year of 1786. After having occupied Ryukyu Kingdom in 1872, Japan tried to take it over, but failed in 1885. Near the end of the first Sino-Japanese War, Japan occupied Diaoyu Islands in the early 1895. China ceded to Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty of the Penghu group and Taiwan according to the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The Japanese name of Diaoyu Islands, Senkaku Islands, was translated from its English name, Pinnacle Islands13.

Before the end of World War II, the Postdam Declaration defined the sovereignty of Japan as islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as US, UK and China determined15.  In 1951, Article 2 of the Treaty of Peace with Japan signed by Japan and the Allied Powers (excluding both the ROC and the PRC) at San Francisco stated that, “Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa (another name of Taiwan coined by Dutch invaders but not confirmed by PRC, the only valid government of China) and the Paracels”16. Article 4 of the separate peace treaty signed between Japan and the ROC in 1952 declared that all agreements between Japan and China before 1941 were null and void16. As stated above, Diaoyu Islands should be reasonably returned to China as a part of Taiwan16. However, Japan insisted that it found the islands first and they should not be included in the above treaties16. The hypothesis of hydrocarbon deposits in the waters off the Diaoyu Islands suggested by ECAFE (United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East) in 1969 sparkled the Diaoyu Islands issue, which remained quiet through 1950s and 1960s16. In accordance with the Okinawa Reversion Treaty signed between the US and Japan in 1969, it included that the Diaoyu Islands, since then Japan insists repeatedly that the islet group is part of Japan’s territory17. In fact, the act of take over the Ryukyu or Okinawa between the US and the Japan based on the treaty was refused by PRC, because of the sovereignty of Ryukyu is belong to China18. Also, the Diaoyu Islands is part of China announced by both PRC and ROC19~21. More details could be found in the following two articles, Islands’ sovereignty indisputable, and Defending Diaoyu Islands Campaign Re-upsurge: Why Diaoyu Islands is Chinese Territory?(Chinese).


  1. Zhan Qixiong.
  2. Collision with Chinese fishing boat and Japanese patrol boat near Senkaku Islands.
  3. Japan frees 14 crew members of Chinese ship after collision near disputed islets.
  4. Japan rejects apology on China boat row.
  5. Japan releases Chinese fishing boat captain.
  6. Kan, Wen Meet in Brussels.
  7. hinese defense chief urges Japan to properly handle sensitive issues.
  8. Anti-Japan Demonstration Ignites Chengdu(photos+video).
  9. Thousands in China, Japan rally over island claims.
  10. China: Anti-Japan demonstrations erupt in three cities.
  11. Anti-Japan Protests Enter Third Day in China With Wuhan Rally, Kyodo Says.
  12. “Thank you for waking us up, China” demonstration in downtown Tokyo.
  13. Senkaku Islands.
  14. Ryūkyū Kingdom.
  15. Postdam Declaration.
  16. Diaoyu Islands Dispute.
  17. Senkaku / Diaoyutai Islands.
  18. Modern Okinawa.
  19. China rejects Japan’s sovereignty claim over Senkaku Islands.
  20. Look Out for the Diaoyu Islands.
  21. Senkakus part of China, not Japan.

Modern Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery, Theory and Practice

Yesterday, before I wrote the previous blog, I occasionally found a new book, Modern Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery, Theory and Practice by James J. Sheng. That is the latest book about enhanced oil recovery I have ever known. I am not familiar with the author. I cannot find an introduction to him within the book. Thus, I searched his publications within, which collects all the papers published on Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) journals or presented at SPE conferences. The system returned to 10 results, including 3 journal publications and 7 conference papers. To my lucky, I found a brief introduction to his education background and working experience. After having received his B.S. from University of Petroleum, China, Dr. Sheng pursued his M.S. and PhD. degree in petroleum engineering at University of Alberta. All the papers but one he published was his work with Baker Hughes, an oil service company headquartered at Houston, TX, where he worked as a research scientist. Now he is working with Total as a senior research engineer at Houston, TX. He published the last paper SPE 102659 on SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering in Jun., 2008. Within the acknowledgement of the new book, he expressed his thanks to professors from University of Texas at Austin and personnels from Total mainly. It is possible that Dr. Sheng has joint projects with the UT. I do not have a chance to study the book, yet; since I believe a two years’ efforts with more than 15 years experience in this area could turn out a practical manual with theoretical explanations to chemical EOR technologies for petroleum professionals, especially for those who are working in enhanced oil recovery. One more thing, I am glad to see that he did not put microbial enhanced oil recovery in this book. Maybe he has the similar idea as me that MEOR is independent, instead of one of the chemical EOR technologies. The table of context of this book is listed below:

Chapter 1 Introduction;

Chapter 2 Transport of Chemicals and Fractional Flow Analysis;

Chapter 3 Salinity Effect and Ion Exchange;

Chapter 4 Mobility Control Requirement in EOR Processes;

Chapter 5 Polymer Flooding;

Chapter 6 Polymer Viscoelastic Behavior and Its Effect on Field Facilities and Operations;

Chapter 7 Surfactant Flooding;

Chapter 8 Optimum Phase Type and Optimum Salinity Profile in Surfactant Flooding;

Chapter 9 Surfactant-Polymer Flooding;

Chapter 10 Alkaline Flooding;

Chapter 11 Alkaline-Polymer Flooding;

Chapter 12 Alkaline-Surfactant Flooding;

Chapter 13 Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer Flooding.

How to Become a Nobel Peace Prize Winner?

1. If you were born in a non-western country, the only way is to attack the government funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), even subvert the government, or split the country into pieces.

Dalai Lama (1989)

Gorbachev (1990)

Suu Kyi (1991)

Liu (2010)

2. If you were born in western country, try to become the leader of the government and stop an ongoing war over another country.

KissingerLe (1973)

ArafatPeresRabin (1994)

GoreIPCC (2007)

Ahtisaari (2008)

Obama (2009)

The Nobel Literature Prize laureates have the similar characteristics as the  Peace Prize laureates.

Just now I read an article The Peace prize’s Subversive Potential, The Soviet Union faced pressure after Andrei Sakharov won the Nobel in 1975. Now it’s China’s turn by Mr. Gal Beckerman, the author of When They Come for US, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry. The author listed the similarity between the two prize, even the governments’ response to the announcement. After having read his opinion, I cannot agree with Chinese government any more. The Soviet Union has gone, should communist China follow the similar rule? As a Chinese citizen, I hope not. Of course Chinese needs more human rights and democracy, but the pressure from the foreign government is not welcome. The democratization of China is on its own road now. Unfortunately the unsuitable Nobel Peace Prize will decelerate the progress, because the people and the government can feel the enmity from western countries. Just like the exchange issue between US and China, the only result of the pressure from US government is making the situations worse, although the Chinese Yuan has become much stronger than before.

BTW, I wanted to say something about the journalist on China and Chinese. I recalled an article about Xinjiang on St. Louis Post Dispatch a couple of years ago (I tried to search it online but failed, thus I cannot offer the source this time). During the interview, a local Han-Chinese made comment on the Uighurs that they do not have “culture”. In Chinese, culture means not only “all the knowledge and values shared by a society” but “education; culture; schooling; literacy”. Certainly the Uighurs have their unique cultures, but some of them are lack of knowledge in science, which leads to job loss or low income. I am sure the comment means the latter instead of attacking the ethic group. If that happened in US, I guess the commentator may be accused of discrimination.

One more question here. If you are detained at home by police, could you use cell phone, or access to internet and post words on twitter? The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s wife could. Very interesting, huh? 🙂

Updated (Oct 27, 2010):

The Nobel Peace Prize has become an anti Chinese government tool , just as Geir Lundestad, one judge of Norwegian Nobel committee said during a talk at Oxford University, “the Chinese government solved the problem for us. On 25 December 2009, they punished him, they sentenced him to 11 years in prison.” The logic of the committee is a dissident from China should be awarded the prize after he was sentenced into prison without considering the fact that he broke the law he should obey as a citizen. Above all, the committee is sucking up to Western government and slapping others’ face instead of realizing Nobel’s dream.

Response to “Olympic Torch lights up China’s past”

Notice: A couple of months before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the torch rally arouse the anti China government incidents by dissidents of China. Sarah Richmond, a student of Missouri University of Science and Technology, wrote a short article “Olympic torch lights up China’s past” for the Miner, the campus newspaper. With a friend’s help, I wrote an essay to respond to her article on the next issue. Today more than thousands of articles reported the news that Liu Xiaobo, a dissident of China won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Liu is serving his 11 years sentence in prison because of inciting subversion. All the western media, politicians and government are glad to see a dissident of China winning the prize. It is more ridiculous that I felt when I heard that news than last year when I got to know Mr. Barack Obama, the president of a country is occupying Iraq and killing civilians in Afghanistan, won the same prize last year. Of course I could not forget what Dalai Lama, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has done to damage the peace of Tibet noways. Below is the full text of my response to the article, also to the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

It’s shocking and fascinating to come across opinions over and over again, especially in recent weeks, on how China and the Beijing Olympics deserve to be bashed. The article in the Opinions is one of them. I don’t blame western people for not knowing the specific history or for taking part of the “Free-Tibet” campaign as a result. But I do want to raise the question to western media who spread biased reports and mislead the masses, and I would like to offer some information, not as a Chinese native, but as someone who did extra readings and studies in this matter, to the Miners who are willing to know the truth behind the media.

Is Tibet a part of China? This is a historical question and history is always complicated. The history of Tibet’s relationship with China can be traced back hundreds of years. For recent history, I would recommend several articles and books, such as Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth by internationally known award-winning author and lecturer, Michael Parenti (, and A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State, by Dr. Melvyn C. Goldstein, a social anthropologist at the Center for Research on Tibet.

First of all, much evidence points to the historic fact of Tibet being a slavery society ruled with brutal dictatorship for centuries, quite the opposite of the peaceful Shangri-la as the Tibetan Exiles and the Hollywood movies describe. “History belies the Shangri-La image of Tibetan lamas and their followers living together in mutual tolerance and nonviolent goodwill. Indeed, the situation was quite different. Old Tibet was much more like Europe during the religious wars of the Counterreformation.” (Erik D. Curren, Buddha’s Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today (Alaya Press 2005), 41.) Tibetan Buddhism is not pacifistic, nor was the old Tibet free of bloodshed and torture. The 13th Dalai Lama himself used to collect religious artifacts made out of human skin and bones, and later gave many of them as gifts to world leaders and supporters. This happened in the middle of 20th century.

Second, Tibet has been closely connected with the central Chinese government in one form or another since as early as the seventh century. Up till 1944, it was clearly acknowledged in the U.S. documentary Why We Fight – The Battle of China, (which can be found in libraries, Blockbuster and YouTube) that Tibet, as well as Mongolia, was a part of China. What, then, made the U.S. and the rest of international world turn about face seven years later to blame China for “invading” Tibet? This is a question we should ask ourselves based on Cold War history. The answer to me is quite clear: they turned their back on historical facts in order to reject and fight against Communist China. In fact, the Tibet Government in Exile was funded by the CIA, as recorded in this disclosed file:, and the U.S. Congress still continuously allocates millions of dollars every year to support the Dalai Lama and his army.

Naturally, as any overthrown power would do if they were supported by other powers, the exiled Tibetans blame China for taking their privileges away, and ask for any support they can get. In doing so, instead of offering the world the whole story including their history of slavery, they give their one-sided, sympathy-seeking version of it. While presenting the Dalai Lama’s smiling pictures around the world, they started a violent riot on March 14, 2008 in Lhasa, killing innocent civilians and burning down residents’ houses and stores. The Olympic Games provide an opportunity to garner more media attention.

Most Western media, sadly, hasn’t been diligent in reporting the whole truth. An image of a Chinese soldier pulling a Tibetan child to safety was misused as documentation of Chinese abuse of Tibetan children. Death counts of mostly local Han and Muslim civilians were reported with headlines implying the loss of the Tibetan lives. A supportive celebration by the San Francisco Chinese community at the Olympic Torch Relay, where Chinese—not Tibetan—national flags were flown by the thousands, was labeled by the media as “Tibetans Flock to San Francisco to Protest Olympics”. More details can be found at, as well as many articles and You Tube video clips such as this interview with James Miles of The Economist at

It’s very disappointing to see that many people trust the media and one-sided propaganda, rather than taking a little time to read the real history. Blind trust isn’t much different than ignorance. It is both comic and sad that many Western supporters of “Free Tibet” don’t even know where Tibet is, much less have a basic understanding of the historical context, before they adopt a one-sided approach.

The Chinese, as well as many people around the world, were enraged when one of the “Free Tibet” supporters in Paris attacked a young female torch-bearer on a wheelchair to grab the Olympic Torch which she was protecting with her whole body. I personally believe that many Western protesters are truly touched by stories they’ve heard about the “plight of exiled Tibetans,” and they only want a better world with more freedom and democracy for everyone. Unfortunately, without historical context and awareness of the political undercurrents, they may well be fighting for something altogether different, such as “human rights” for former slave lords and dictators. Their passion and goodwill may in fact be abused in the whirlpool of Western politics towards China.

The recent protests and the media inclination not only hurt the feelings of the Chinese, the ever-improving relationship between China and the international world, but also damage the spirit of the Olympics. Only communications and respects for truth, not violence or blind blames, will bring us closer to the better world for which we strive.

Potsdam Declaration

The Postdam Declaration, or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement by the leaders of United States, United Kingdom, and the Republic of China calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. The document, which outlines the terms of surrender for the Empire of Japan as agreed upon at the Postdam Conference was issued on July 26, 1945. The full-text of the document is shown below1.

  1. We-the President of the United States, the President of the National Government of the Republic of China, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, representing the hundreds of millions of our countrymen, have conferred and agree that Japan shall be given an opportunity to end this war.
  2. The prodigious land, sea and air forces of the United States, the British Empire and of China, many times reinforced by their armies and air fleets from the west, are poised to strike the final blows upon Japan. This military power is sustained and inspired by the determination of all the Allied Nations to prosecute the war against Japan until she ceases to resist.
  3. The result of the futile and senseless German resistance to the might of the aroused free peoples of the world stands forth in awful clarity as an example to the people of Japan. The might that now converges on Japan is immeasurably greater than that which, when applied to the resisting Nazis, necessarily laid waste to the lands, the industry and the method of life of the whole German people. The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland.
  4. The time has come for Japan to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought the Empire of Japan to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason.
  5. Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay.
  6. There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world.
  7. Until such a new order is established and until there is convincing proof that Japan’s war-making power is destroyed, points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies shall be occupied to secure the achievement of the basic objectives we are here setting forth.
  8. The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.
  9. The Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives.
  10. We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners. The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.
  11. Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those which would enable her to re-arm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted.
  12. The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.
  13. We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction2.


1. Potsdam Declaration.

2. Potsdam Declaration(The Ministory of Foriegn Affairs “Nihon Gaiko Nenpyo Narabini Shuyo Bunsho : 1840-1945” vol.2, 1966).