Marine bacterium Oleiphilus messinensis ME102 (DSM 13489T) isolated from the sediments of the harbor of Messina (Italy) is a member of the order Oceanospirillales, class Gammaproteobacteria, representing the physiological group of marine obligate hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria (OHCB) alongside the members of the genera Alcanivorax, Oleispira, Thalassolituus, Cycloclasticus and Neptunomonas. These organisms play a crucial role in the natural environmental cleanup in marine systems. Despite having the largest genome (6.379.281 bp) among OHCB, O. messinensis exhibits a very narrow substrate profile. The alkane metabolism is pre-determined by three loci encoding for two P450 family monooxygenases, one of which formed a cassette with ferredoxin and alcohol dehydrogenase encoding genes and alkane monoxygenase (AlkB) gene clustered with two genes for rubredoxins and NAD+-dependent rubredoxin reductase. Its genome contains the largest numbers of genomic islands (15) and mobile genetic elements (140), as compared with more streamlined genomes of its OHCB counterparts. Among hydrocarbon-degrading Oceanospirillales, O. messinensis encodes the largest array of proteins involved in the signal transduction for sensing and responding to the environmental stimuli (345 vs 170 in Oleispira antarctica, the bacterium with the second highest number). This must be an important trait to adapt to the conditions in marine sediments with a high physico-chemical patchiness and heterogeneity as compared to those in the water column.