Microbiologically enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) is the use of microorganisms to facilitate, increase or extend oil production from a natural reservoir. The concept is more than 40 years old, however, early proposals were poorly conceived and in most instances of no practical value. Recent studies have developed microbial biotechnology to resolve specific production problems such as pressure depletion and sweep inefficiency in a target reservoir.
Field trials to determine and document the effectiveness of microbial process, and to assess the validity of laboratory studies and models have been conducted. The application of ME0R in these trials has resulted in a substantial and sustained increase in production compared to control operations on the same reservoir. Increased production has been sustained from a single treatment.
A field assessment of the new technology in the Alton field is described. Twelve months after treatment an approximate 40% increase in net oil production continues. The test is unique because of the stringent controls applied during the assessment.