Author(s): Eckford RE, Fedorak PM
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Abstract Oil fields that use water flooding to enhance oil recovery may become sour because of the production of H(2)S from the reduction of sulfate by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). The addition of nitrate to produced waters can stimulate the activities of nitrate-reducing bacteria (NRB) and control sulfide production. Many previous studies have focused on chemolithotrophic bacteria that can use thiosulfate or sulfide as energy sources while reducing nitrate. Little attention has been given to heterotrophic NRB in oil field waters. Three different media were used in this study to enumerate various types of planktonic NRB present in waters from five oil fields in western Canada. The numbers of planktonic SRB and bacteria capable of growth under aerobic conditions were also determined. In general, microbial numbers in the produced waters were very low (<10 ml x (-1)) in samples taken near or at wellheads. However, the numbers increased in the aboveground facilities. No thiosulfate-oxidizing NRB were detected in the oil field waters, but other types of NRB were detected in 16 of 18 produced water samples. The numbers of heterotrophic NRB were equal to or greater than the number of sulfide-oxidizing, chemolithotrophic NRB in 12 of 15 samples. These results showed that each of the oil fields contained NRB, which might be stimulated by nitrate amendment to control H(2)S production by SRB.
This article was published in J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology