Microbial-enhanced heavy oil recovery under laboratory conditions by bacillus firmus bg4 and bacillus halodurans bg5 isolated from heavy oil fields

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Abstract

Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) is one of the tertiary recovery methods. The high viscosity and low flow characteristics of heavy oil makes it difficult for the extraction from oil reservoirs. Many spore-forming bacteria were isolated from Oman oil fields, which can biotransform heavy crude oil by changing its viscosity by converting heavier components into lighter ones. Two of the isolates, Bacillus firmus BG4 and Bacillus halodurans BG5, which showed maximum growth in higher concentrations of heavy crude oil were selected for the study. Gas chromatography analysis of the heavy crude oil treated with the isolates for nine days showed 81.4% biotransformation for B. firmus and 81.9% for B. halodurans. In both cases, it was found that the aromatic components in the heavy crude oil were utilized by the isolates, converting them to aliphatic species. Core flooding experiments conducted at 50◦C, mimicking reservoir conditions to prove the efficiency of the isolates in MEOR, resulted in 10.4% and 7.7% for B. firmus and B. halodurans, respectively, after the nine-day shut-in period. These investigations demonstrated the potential of B. firmus BG4 and B. halodurans BG5 as an environmentally attractive approach for heavy oil recovery.

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Shibulal, B., Al-Bahry, S. N., Al-Wahaibi, Y. M., Elshafie, A. E., Al-Bemani, A. S., & Joshi, S. J. (2018). Microbial-enhanced heavy oil recovery under laboratory conditions by bacillus firmus bg4 and bacillus halodurans bg5 isolated from heavy oil fields. Colloids and Interfaces, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2010001

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