Founded in 2013, Biota says DNA sequencing technology can help maximize production in horizontal shale wells by directing operators where to place the wells, and how they should be completed.

These samples come from drilling mud and cuttings and provide baseline data needed to characterize the well as production begins and comingles all of the microbial DNA. More samples are taken during completion operations and then from produced oil and water during production.

To screen for contamination, Biota samples several sources of DNA, including the humans working on the job and any dirt at the drillsite that may be swept into the well during operations.

The company notes that it was founded on the idea that the new and dramatically lower price point meant shale producers could now afford to use DNA sequencing as a diagnostic technology in each and every well – an aspect that the company hopes will distinguish it from the established technologies it is competing against.

Biota says its DNA data line up with geochemistry tests, per independent studies.

The company has also explored DNA sequencing applications for conventional wells and offshore production facilities.

In the short term, Biota has goals to integrate DNA data with other subsurface data sets that companies routinely use.