Oil biodegradation in produced water

The post-doc is based on the BioRec project focusing on produced water clean-up and fully funded by Mærsk Oil.

Produced water is a term used in the oil industry to describe water that is produced as a by-product along with the oil and gas.

To achieve maximum oil recovery, water flooding is often implemented, in which water is injected into the reservoirs to help force the oil to the production wells.

The injected water eventually reaches the production wells, and treated by hydrocyclone or filter. However, after separating oil from water, the water still contains small oil droplets. Removal of these oil droplets by bacteria or enzyme would have a positive environmental impact as most produced water is discharged into the sea. If the water quality could be improved to acceptable level, reinjections into oil reservoirs are also a possibility. Reinjection of poor quality water into oil reservoirs could pose significant risks to reserve due to near wellbore damages.


Erling Halfdan Stenby
Head of Department, Professor
DTU Chemistry
+45 45 25 20 12