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fluorescent microbes under the microscope made visible with FISH method

Hydrocarbon prospecting by next-gen sequencing

The proposed PROSPECTOMICS project intends to develop a radically new approach to Hydrocarbon (HC) prospecting based on molecular biological techniques. PROSPECTOMICS is the first project that utilizes the full potential of recent advances in so-called next-generation sequencing (NGS) with respect to hydrocarbon prospecting.

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Only the very recent developments in sequencing technology and the massive reduction in cost allow such a project to be carried out at an informative scale, which would have been unthinkable less than 10 years ago.


work flow chart of the prospectomics project

Partnership of vastly different fields

PROSPECTOMICS brings together vastly different fields (Biogeochemistry, Metagenomics, Metatranscriptomics, Metaproteomics, Bioinformatics, Machine Learning) and uses their individual strengths to complement each other in order to develop a completely novel approach that has the potential to challenge current technical paradigms. 

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The PROSPECTOMICS consortium consists of six groups from four countries, each an expert for one specific technology. Partnership with a petroleum exploration company guarantees a direct connection to real world conditions and uniquely offers the opportunities to immediately to field-test the hypotheses generated.


Flags of the EU

Key factor to reach EU's goals

Despite ongoing efforts to increase the percentage of renewable energy resources, HC will remain an important energy source for several decades. One of the key factors to reach EU’s ambitious goals in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is the replacement of coal by other energy sources, mainly natural gas.

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Additionally, increasing global competition for resources and rising energy prices as well as price differentials between the European Union and its competitors requires energy which is sustainable, affordable and with a secure and reliable supply. Exploration for new resources within the EU are a key factor for reaching these goals. PROSPECTOMICS will help to meet these challenges by paving the way for completely novel approaches to HC prospecting.



Biomolecular extractions

DNA, RNA, and protein extraction from single unique samples.


high-throughput sequencing of the entire DNA pool of a sample, genome assembly.


high-throughput sequencing of the entire RNA pool of a sample, assignment of metabolic activities to specific organisms.


targets cell proteins expressed at the time of sampling, correlation between the proteome and dynamic environmental conditions.


provides the physicochemical framework necessary to interpret omics results, verification via isotope labeling experiments.

Machine learning

a rapid protocol to screen large numbers of samples and validate the presence of hydrocarbons based on large multi-omics and biogeochemical dataset.


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