Hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale play has moved to produced water only scenarios because of prohibitive water disposal costs. Well completion under produced water only conditions increases the demand on chemical additive performance. In addition, water reuse selects deleterious microorganisms through natural selection, which may increase the likelihood of formation souring. Conventional biocides are typically used to mitigate these risks, but to some extent, they present health, safety, and environmental (HSE) concerns. In addition, several conventional biocides have side reactions with sulfide, notably tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium sulfate (THPS) and 2,2-dibromo-3-nitrilopropionamide (DBNPA). This paper describes an improved method for the effective control of deleterious microorganisms without the use of conventional biocides.

An environmentally friendly system that includes nitrate-reducing bacteria (NRB) coupled with nitrate co-introduction was previously shown to mitigate souring as effectively as a biocide alternative for more than 1,000 assets. The NRB inhibit growth of the deleterious sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) primarily by competing for the available carbon source if the source is limited. This paper describes an improved NRB/nitrate system that incorporates a sulfate analog, which presumably inhibits dissimilatory sulfate reduction and enhances mitigation. Laboratory experiments were performed to measure the amount of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) produced in field brine samples inoculated with SRB. The improved NRB/nitrate system was shown to inhibit the production of H2S under worst-case scenarios in laboratory competitive exclusion experiments.

Results for the new treatment at four trial wells are presented. Sulfate-reducing bacteria populations, acid-reducing bacteria populations, and a gaseous H2S concentration were monitored over three months and were found to satisfy the operator's set key performance indicators. Overall, the amount of chemical required for treatment was reduced for this improved system, which substantially reduced the operator costs to treat the wells.

The combination of chemistries with mutually exclusive cellular targets highlights the value of synergistic effects, specifically reducing system cost to treat while retaining low aquatic toxicity, as compared to traditional biocides used in the oilfield.

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