A microbial enhanced-oil-recovery (MEOR) process was successfully applied in a mature waterflooded reservoir in Saskatchewan, Canada. A nutrient solution, which was designed specifically for this reservoir to stimulate indigenous microbes to grow, multiply, and help to release oil, was tested and piloted. A significant decrease in water cut and increase in oil production have been realized through the selective stimulation of bacteria using nutrient injection.
The field is a mature waterflood averaging more than 95% water cut. To combat the increasing water-cut issue, an in-situ microbial response analysis (ISMRA) was performed on a typical high-water-cut producer in the area. The test well was treated with a nutrient solution and then was shut in for a number of days to allow indigenous microbes to grow and multiply. Upon return to production, the well produced at an average of 200% more oil with a 10% decrease in water cut for a year. Pretreatment rates averaged 1.2 m3/d of oil (8 BOPD) and post-ISMRA treatment daily production peaked at 4.1 m3/d of oil (26 BOPD). The ISMRA provides a direct support of laboratory studies and frequently increases oil production.
As a result of the successful ISMRA, a pilot project was initiated and the nutrients were applied in three batch treatments on an injector with three offset production wells. Three weeks after the first batch treatment, a water-cut decrease was seen at one of the offset producers. This well's oil production gradually increased from 1.4 to more than 8 m3/d (9 to 50 B/D). Oil production in another producer doubled from 1.5 to more than 3.0 m3/d (9 to 19 B/D). Subsequent treatments were tried on marginally economic wells and on a reactivated idle producer. The average decrease in water cut in these wells was more than 10%. On the idle well, oil production increased from 0.5 m3/d (3 B/D) pretreatment to an average of 3.0 m3/d (19 B/D) post-treatment.
Throughout the world, there remains a huge target for enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) processes to target (Bryant 1991). This successful MEOR application will have a tremendous impact on ultimate recovery in many of these reservoirs not only through an increase in production, but a decrease in operating costs through associated reduction in lifting costs with less water production.