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ISSN:2157-7463

Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology
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Research Article

Effect of Nutrient Addition on an Oil Reservoir Microbial Population: Implications for Enhanced Oil Recovery

Xiaoyi Wang1, Dongmei Li2, Phil Hendry2, Herbert Volk3, Abdul Rashid4, Keyu Liu4, Manzur Ahmed3, Se Gong3, Wan Ata B Wan Daud5 and Tara D Sutherland1*
1CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, P.O. Box 1700, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia
2CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences, P.O. Box 52, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia
3CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering, P.O. Box 132, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia
4CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering, P.O. Box 1130, Bentley, WA 6112, Australia
5PETRONAS Research Sdn Bhd, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Corresponding Author : Dr. Tara D. Sutherland
CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
Clunies Ross Street, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia
Tel: +61-2-62464236
Fax: +61- 2-62464000
E-mail: [email protected]
Received January 20, 2012; Accepted March 05, 2012; Published March 07, 2012
Citation: Wang X, Li D, Hendry P, Volk H, Rashid A, et al. (2012) Effect of Nutrient Addition on an Oil Reservoir Microbial Population: Implications for Enhanced Oil Recovery. J Pet Environ Biotechnol 3:118. doi:10.4172/2157-7463.1000118
Copyright: © 2012 Wang X, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

The increasing demand for petroleum is driving the development of technologies including MEOR (Microbial enhanced oil recovery)—the use of microbes within a reservoir to enhance oil recovery. In this study we initially determined that availablilty of suitable carbon sources was limiting microbial growth and metabolism of an oil reservoir microbial community. Subsequently we identified metabolic processes that are initiated after addition of nutrients that addressed this limitation. Four distinct metabolic pathways were stimulated: (i) fermentation of the added nutrient; (ii) methanogenises of the metabolites of fermentation; (iii) accumulation and decay of biomass; and (iv) oxidation/co-metabolism of petroleum. Biomass, when introduced as a nutrient, led to similar increases in live cell numbers in oil reservoir microcosms as addition of molasses. In addition to acting as a nutrient, disrupted microbial biomass led to formation of oil-water emulsions and significant lowering of the interfacial tension. These results suggest biomass manipulation can play an important role in MEOR.

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