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Development of an In Situ Biosurfactant Production Technology for Enhanced Oil Recovery

Description: The long-term economic potential for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is large with more than 300 billion barrels of oil remaining in domestic reservoirs after conventional technologies reach their economic limit. Actual EOR production in the United States has never been very large, less than 10% of the total U. S. production even though a number of economic incentives have been used to stimulate the development and application of EOR processes. The U.S. DOE Reservoir Data Base contains more than 600 reservoirs with over 12 billion barrels of unrecoverable oil that are potential targets for microbially enhanced oil recovery (MEOR). If MEOR could be successfully applied to reduce the residual oil saturation by 10% in a quarter of these reservoirs, more than 300 million barrels of oil could be added to the U.S. oil reserve. This would stimulate oil production from domestic reservoirs and reduce our nation's dependence on foreign imports. Laboratory studies have shown that detergent-like molecules called biosurfactants, which are produced by microorganisms, are very effective in mobilizing entrapped oil from model test systems. The biosurfactants are effective at very low concentrations. Given the promising laboratory results, it is important to determine the efficacy of using biosurfactants in actual field applications. The goal of this project is to move biosurfactant-mediated oil recovery from laboratory investigations to actual field applications. In order to meet this goal, several important questions must be answered. First, it is critical to know whether biosurfactant-producing microbes are present in oil formations. If they are present, then it will be important to know whether a nutrient regime can be devised to stimulate their growth and activity in the reservoir. If biosurfactant producers are not present, then a suitable strain must be obtained that can be injected into oil reservoirs. We were successful in answering all three ...
Date: September 30, 2007
Creator: McInerney, M. J.; Knapp, R. M.; Duncan, Kathleen; Simpson, D. R.; Youssef, N.; Ravi, N. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department