SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
Using a breakthrough process, which does not require microbes to be
injected, more than 100 microbial enhanced-oil-recovery (MEOR) treatments were
conducted from 2007 to the end of 2010 in oil- producing and water-injection
wells in the United States and Canada. On average, these treatments increased
oil production by 122%, with an 89% success rate. This paper reviews the MEOR
process, reviews the results of the first 100+ treatments, and shares what has
been learned from this work. Observations and conclusions include the
- Screening reservoirs is critical to success. Identifying reservoirs where
appropriate microbes are present and oil is movable is the key.
- MEOR can be applied to a wide range of oil gravities. MEOR has been applied
successfully to reservoirs with oil gravity as high as 41°API and as low as
- When microbial growth is appropriately controlled, reservoir plugging or
formation damage is no longer a risk.
- Microbes reside in extreme conditions and can be manipulated to perform
valuable in-situ "work." MEOR has been applied successfully at reservoir
temperatures as high as 200°F and salinities as high as 140,000 ppm total
dissolved solids (TDS).
- MEOR can be applied successfully in dual-porosity reservoirs.
- A side benefit of applying MEOR is that it can reduce reservoir
- An oil response is not always observed when treating producing wells.
MEOR can be applied to many more reservoirs than thought originally with
little downside risk. This review of more than 100 MEOR well treatments expands
the types of reservoirs in which MEOR can be applied successfully. Low-risk and
economically attractive treatments can be accomplished when appropriate
scientific analysis and laboratory screening are performed before
© 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- Original manuscript received:
23 August 2011
- Meeting paper published:
19 July 2011
- Revised manuscript received:
4 October 2012
- Manuscript approved:
14 October 2012
- Published online:
6 December 2012
- Version of record:
27 December 2012