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Project’s name: MEOR - Advanced Techniques of Microorganism Enhanced Oil Recovery


Throughout the life of an oil reservoir the pressure decreases and, with the extraction of the lighter fractions the oil becomes more dense and viscous which hinders its mobility. At the end of the secondary recovery stage the reservoirs still retain 30-70% of the original oil being then necessary to resort to enhanced recovery techniques. There are several techniques for the advanced oil recovery (EOR). The most common are the injection of CO2 or surfactants to promote removal of the entrapped oil. A growing interest has been registered for the enhanced oil recovery using microorganisms (MEOR). MEOR refers to the use of organisms to induce various effects which contribute to the oil recovery: biosurfactants production which will have a similar effect to the injection of chemical surfactants, with the advantage that biosurfatants are produced in situ and are less aggressive to the environment; CO2 production will help to boost the pressure in the reservoir and reduce the oil viscosity; the degradation of the heavy fraction of the oil, which will help to reduce oil viscosity; biomass production, which will also contribute to the displacement of the oil retained in the pores and changing the wettability characteristics of the reservoir rock; the production of biopolymers, which can help to bridge gaps and close preferential flow channels in the reservoir. The development of a microbial community in a petroleum reservoir can be achieved by two ways: by injecting an inoculum of the microbial consortium in the reservoir will then develop specific mechanisms of action for which they were prepared; or by stimulating the existing microorganisms in the reservoir by injection of nutrients suitable to promote specific metabolic pathways which carry out the production of the above mentioned agents, resulting in the desired behavior for enhanced oil recovery. The successful application of MEOR requires certain reservoir conditions in terms of porosity, permeability, temperature, pressure and salinity of the reservoir that are compatible with survival, proliferation and mobility of microorganisms. These conditions are common in many reservoirs, in particular in the Partex reservoirs which physical characteristics fall within the range of application of this technology. The aim of this project is to evaluate MEOR strategies developed in laboratory tests under the real reservoir conditions towards its potential application in field trials.

Starting date: February 2009

Completion date: February 2012

Budget: 300.000,00€

CEB-EEUM: Lígia Rodrigues, Jose Teixeira, Eduardo Gudiña, Ana Isabel Rodrigues
UAveiro: João Coutinho, Carlos Mendonça
Partex: Teresa Ribeiro, Laura Soares

Consortium: Centro de Engenharia Biológica (CEB); Universidade de Aveiro; Partex Oil and Gas

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