Using a breakthrough process, which does not require microbes to be injected, over one hundred Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) applications have been conducted since 2007 in producing oil and water injection wells in the United States and Canada. On average, these applications increased oil production by 127% with an 89% success rate. This paper reviews the MEOR process, reviews the results of the first one hundred plus applications and shares what has been learned from this work.

Observations and conclusions include the following:

  1. Screening reservoirs is critical to success. Identifying reservoirs where appropriate microbes are present and oil is movable is the key.

  2. MEOR can be applied to a wide range of oil gravities. MEOR has been successfully applied to reservoirs with oil gravity as high as 41° and as low as 16° API.

  3. When bacteria growth is appropriately controlled, reservoir plugging or formation damage is no longer a risk.

  4. Microbes reside in extreme conditions and can be manipulated to perform valuable in-situ "work." MEOR has been applied successfully at reservoir temperatures as high as 200°F and salinities as high as 140,000 ppm TDS.

  5. MEOR can be successfully applied in dual-porosity reservoirs.

  6. A side benefit of applying MEOR is that it can reduce reservoir souring.

  7. An oil response is not always seen when treating producing wells.

The application of MEOR can be applied to many more reservoirs than originally thought with little downside risk. This review of more than a hundred MEOR applications expands the types of reservoirs where MEOR can be successfully applied. Low risk and economically attractive treatments can be accomplished when appropriate scientific analysis and laboratory screening is performed prior to treatments.

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