Navigation Links
Bacteria keep tabs on state of oil field

The ups and downs of the bacteria in an oil field provide a useful source of information for keeping tabs on the state of the oil field itself. In theory, this process known as 'biomonitoring' can increase the yield from an oil field. This is the conclusion reached by Geert van der Kraan, who obtained his doctorate on this topic at TU Delft on Tuesday, 5 October.


Oil fields are highly specific ecosystems. For instance, they contain no oxygen and the temperature, pressure and salinity are often high. This means that oil fields are home to a very particular community of bacteria. The exploitation of oil fields gives rise to a great many changes. In order to obtain more oil from a field, methods such as pumping seawater into the field are used in order to flush through the oil. Seawater injection has a number of effects, such as the introduction of sulphate. This changes the composition of the bacteria populations in the oil field. Bacteria that reduce sulphate thrive, prompting the release of hydrogen sulphide, which is not only toxic but also has an adverse effect on the quality of the oil and damages the pipelines.

Information source

For this reason, these bacteria have always been closely monitored by the oil industry. For his doctorate research, Geert van der Kraan investigated whether a brand new step could be taken. He wanted to know whether the microbial changes (i.e. the types and quantity of bacteria present) could be used as an information source to track what is taking place in the oil field. This concept is known as biomonitoring. It is an approach that has the potential to boost oil exploitation or to prevent the production of harmful hydrogen sulphide at an early stage. This can be achieved by smart management of oil wells.

Positive indications

Geert van der Kraan has studied various Dutch oil fields, focusing on the microbial communities living there. "There are very positive indications that biomonitoring is a realistic option. The changes in the microbial diversity of the pore water from the oil well can provide a good understanding of the changing geochemical conditions in the oil field itself. This may well enable the oil field to be exploited more efficiently."


In addition to monitoring, bacteria can also be used to improve oil extraction. Geert van der Kraan explains: "Encouraging the growth of certain groups of bacteria at specific locations in the oil field is an interesting proposition. This growth partially blocks the porous structure of the rock that contains the oil, forcing the water to take another route. It can then move oil that is more difficult to reach, increasing the effectiveness of oil extraction."

Geert van der Kraan is the first researcher to obtain his doctorate as part of the ISAPP programme (Integrated System Approach Petroleum Production). ISAPP is a collaboration between TU Delft, Shell International Exploration & Production and TNO.


Contact: Roy Meijer
Delft University of Technology

Related biology news :

1. FSU researchers examine how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics
2. Scientists reveal important clues to how bacteria and viruses are identified as enemies
3. Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers identify structure that allows bacteria to resist drugs
4. Pickle spoilage bacteria may help environment
5. Rice study examines how bacteria acquire immunity
6. New microfluidic chip for discriminating bacteria
7. Insulin may reduce several inflammatory factors induced by bacterial infection
8. Jailbreak bacteria can trigger heart disease
9. Backstabbing bacteria: A new treatment for infection?
10. Talented bacteria make food poisoning unpredictable
11. Imaging reveals key metabolic factors of cannibalistic bacteria
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)...  Arxspan has entered into an agreement with ... use of its ArxLab cloud-based suite of biological ... will support the institute,s efforts to electronically manage ... internally and with external collaborators. The ArxLab suite ... Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound and assay registration, ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... 2015 About signature verification ... to identify and verify the identity of an ... the secure and accurate method of authentication and ... individual because each individual,s signature is highly unique. ... dynamic signature of an individual is compared and ...
(Date:11/2/2015)...  SRI International has been awarded a contract of ... to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer Program ... modern testing and support facilities, and analytical instrumentation to ... studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention drugs. ... Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline to bring ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Epigenetics Corp. ("Zenith" or the "Company") today announced that it ... Board of Directors to replace Dr. Peter Johann . ... as co-founder of Resverlogix, with expertise in the fields of ... --> Dr. Wong remarked, "I am very excited to ... expertise in epigenetics and the advanced stage of the R&D ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Imagine Exhibitions and Universal Partnerships ... opening in March 2016 at Melbourne Museum in Melbourne, Australia. Immediately following the ... American tour dates. The Exhibition is based on Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World, one ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015 Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), the genomics-based, ... Cypher Genomics, Inc., a leading genome informatics company offering ... solutions. The San Diego -based company ... CEO and Co-founder, Ashley Van Zeeland , Ph.D., who ... details of the deal were not disclosed. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  HUYA Bioscience International, ... China,s pharmaceutical innovations, today announced it has ... Development Fund (KDDF) to foster collaboration between KDDF and ... and commercialization of healthcare products for the global market. ... an important source of new innovative preclinical and clinical ...
Breaking Biology Technology: