The field history and performance of microbial culture products for the oil field is examined. For over 15 years, microbial culture products have been used for paraffin control, production enhancement, well bore treatments as well as for scale and corrosion problems. The wide-ranging capacity of microbes to effect positive changes in oil and water properties is described. The broad spectrum of oil types and formations that have been treated successfully is reported along with treatment protocols. Mechanistic considerations for modes of action are analyzed. Traditionally, these considerations involve the continuous production of biosurfactants, solvents and other oil mobilizing agents.

Continuous advancement of microbial technology has led to more recent development of new applications that use unique metabolic capabilities of microorganisms to address specific well problems. Examples of applying these products to problems in oil field production systems are shown. The outlook for development of new technologies and the future application of these products to the oil field is discussed.

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