MEOR refers to any enhanced petroleum recovery technique utilizing single celled microorganisms or their by-products. Recent advances in microorganism screening, selective breeding, rDNA, and more productive fermentation reactors, along with a better productive fermentation reactors, along with a better understanding downhole environments and transport have made MEOR a more attractive alternative to more conventional EOR techniques. Recent advances and commercial potential of six MEOR classifications are considered:
Bio-Production of Injected Materials;
Emulsification and Demulsification of Produced Hydrocarbons;
Desulfurization and Denitrogenation of Produced Hydrocarbons;
In situ Bio-Production of Polymers and Surfactants;
In situ Bio- Production of Miscible and Immiscible Gases; and
Production of Miscible and Immiscible Gases; and
Selective Formation Plugging.
It is a hard learned maximum of economics that true wealth comes only from increased efficiency. The petroleum industry has only just realized this. In petroleum industry has only just realized this. In 1984, petroleum product consumption is fairly level and prices are relatively stable. Prices may indeed be falling when expressed in constant, deflated dollars. At the same time, it is increasingly more expensive to search for, discover, produce and transport the earth's dwindling supplies of crude oil and this is particularly true of the United States' mature fields. Greater dependence on foreign imports is inevitable, but may be lessened through the development of unconventional sources and unconventional techniques: deep offshore; arctic; tar sands; perhaps infill drilling; and, of course, enhanced oil recovery Unfortunately, barring unpredictable price increases or a supply disruption, there appears little incentive for investment in these new, more expensive techniques. New production technology will not be enough. What is necessary is increased recovery efficiency without increased production costs. One of the promising new technologies is microbiological enhanced promising new technologies is microbiological enhanced oil recovery (MEOR). MEOR could potentially develop into one of the most efficient, economical unconventional recovery techniques. MEOR has the possibility of being to the petroleum industry what the microchip has been to the electronics industry.
MEOR is a blanket classification for any enhanced petroleum recovery technique utilizing single-celled petroleum recovery technique utilizing single-celled microorganisms or their by-products. A review of the literature reveals at least six discrete processes involving MEOR. Three are "in situ", that is, the process takes place within the petroleum formation process takes place within the petroleum formation and three are "ex situ", used either to manufacture production chemicals or to treat produced production chemicals or to treat produced hydrocarbons. The most mature, bioproduction of injection materials, is based on bacterial or yeast production of bio-polymers for use in conventional polymer flood, polymer-augmented waterflood, or micellar-polymer flood. Emulsification and Demulsification of produced hydrocarbons involves the biological separation of oil-water or perhaps viscosity lowering of heavy oil. Desulfurization and denitrogenation of produced hydrocarbons biologically removes produced hydrocarbons biologically removes environmentally suspect sulfur and nitrogen compounds. In situ bioproduction of polymers and surfactants involves the injection of chemical producing microorganisms into a petroleum-containing reservoir. These chemicals include mobility-controlling polymers, interfacial tension-lowering surfactants, or porosity-increasing acids. In situ bioproduction of miscible porosity-increasing acids. In situ bioproduction of miscible and immiscible gases would inject gas-producing bacteria into a petroleum reservoir. These gases either increase reservoir pressure or perhaps react with the petroleum to create a miscible front. Finally, selective formation plugging would create down hole regions of impermeability to plug theft zones, divert oil towards production wells, and increase recovery efficiency.
That microorganisms can metabolize crude oil has been recognised since before World War Two.