Biochemistry breakthrough saves oil industry

Beer brewing process

(Happy Labour Day holiday, Canada! Enjoy not labouring today.)

CALGARY, Alberta – In a stunning announcement that stunned all of North America and a few other places as well, a team of University of Calgary biochemists announced today that they have genetically engineered a bacterium/yeast hybrid that converts crude oil and water directly into beer.

The hybrid was created from a common SRB (sulfur reducing bacteria) and the Saccharomyces yeast used to ferment beer.  The organism has been informally named Stampede in honour of the Calgary event that sets world records for beer consumption.  Patents have been applied for worldwide.

When quizzed further about the science involved, lead researcher Professor Titus Sphincter explained,

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Professor Sphincter “The Godfather of Beer” working on a batch

“Beer is made by fermenting carbohydrates.  Oil is hydrocarbon.  Same thing, just spelled differently.  We have to add flavorings and do a bit of filtering to clean it up, but the result is indistinguishable from conventional beer.  We’re still tinkering with the Stampede organism to fine-tune its ability to make different styles of beer.  Right now we can only make lager and pilsner.”

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A early batch of the beer converted from crude oil. It turns out that the floaties added character to this lager

The university is setting up a private company, UC PetroBeer Ltd, to commercialize the process.  University president Dr. Phil Anders is recruiting a team of executives, marketers and refinery process engineers for the new venture.  With all the layoffs in the oil and related industries, finding experienced people should pose no problem, especially since everyone in the oil business already has an intimate knowledge of beer.

Economist Eloi Morlock prophesied that oil/beer conversion would push the oil demand curve back above the supply curve, ending the current surplus hanging over the market.  This of course would reverse the recent decline in oil price.  Mr. Morlock went on to say that even with oil at $100 per barrel, its conversion to beer is still cheaper than conventional brewing.  Worldwide, the production of beer is about 2.6 million barrels per day, using the oil barrel measure of 1 barrel equals 42 gallons.  Using oil to produce this much beer would definitely firm up oil prices.

Not everyone in Canada was pleased with the announcement.  Moosepeace Beer CEO Pierre Francais-Allemagne was aghast.  He said, “Sacrebleu!  This is not possible!  Next these mad scientists will claim to have made a fine vin from cow manure!”