Enchanced Oil Recovery with Application of Microorganisms

Some microorganisms living in petroleum reservoirs produce substances like gases, surfactants, polymers and/or acids, facilitating enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Therefore, selective stimulation of certain microbial species may be an inexpensive method for additional oil recovery.

There are three well-known approaches for Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) in the petroleum industry. First, it is paraffin removal and well stimulation, where the microbial inocula and nutrients are injected in individual wells. Second, it is microbially-enhanced water flooding, where the stimulation of microbial metabolism creates useful products to mobilize oil. Third, it is microbial selective plugging, where the enhancement of microbial growth in high permeability zone alters the water movement and increases the volumetric sweep efficiency. In the framework of this project it will be investigated experimentally what approaches are suitable for the North Sea reservoirs.

The screening process of the selected microbial candidates will be conducted by the microbial metabolite production study and its impact to oil viscosity, density and interfacial tension. In addition, nutritional selection and optimization for microbial growth will also be conducted. The results obtained from both tests will be used for the dynamic study of microbial displacement in the core flooding experiment.

During this project collaboration with petroleum companies (Maersk Oil and Dong Energy) and the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) will be carried out. DTI will take part in the selection of microbial candidates. The petroleum Companies will provide relevant samples of oil and reservoir rock, as well as compositions of reservoir brines.

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Alexander Shapiro: ash@kt.dtu.dk

Co-Supervisor: Dr. Sidsel Marie Nielsen: sa@kt.dtu.dk

Co-Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anna Eliasson Lantz: aela@kt.dtu.dk