Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly method for mature reservoirs, exploiting indigenous microorganisms that can be stimulated in the reservoir. As MEOR relies of the combination of various mechanisms a very well designed screening procedure is necessary for a successful field application.

In a MEOR project started 2011 by Wintershall and BASF, we established dynamic sandpacks to investigate microorganisms sampled from Wintershall fields. Requirement for the setups are strictly anaerobic and sterile conditions. Original fluids including oil, injection water and reservoir microbes are used together with different materials to create the porous media consisting of either glass beads, quartz sand or crushed reservoir rock in order to produce sandpacks with permeabilities ranging from 1 to 13 D. Analytics included petrophysical aspects(permeability, pososity, fluid saturations) as well as microbial methods (e.g. 16S sequencing). In more than 20 dynamic MEOR experiments we observed that the choice of the porous medium is crucial for dynamic screenings and affects both microbial growth as well as oil recovery. Our study contributes to the improvement of MEOR screening methods by conducting reliable dynamic experiments, which will help having more accurate predictions for MEOR field applications in the future.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Alkan, H., Biegel, E., Kruger, M., Sitte, J., Kogler, F., Bultemeier, H., Beier, K., McInerney, M. J., Herold, A. and Hatscher, S.
    [2014] An Integrated MEOR Project; Workflow to Develop a Pilot in a German Field. Society of Petroleum Engineers.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Alkan, H., Klueglein, N., Mahler, E., Kögler, F., Beier, K., Jelinek, W., Herold, A., Hatscher, S. and Leonhardt, B.
    [2016] An Integrated German MEOR Project, Update: Risk Management and Huffn Puff Design. SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Armstrong, R. T., Wildenschild, D. and Bay, B. K.
    [2015] The effect of pore morphology on microbial enhanced oil recovery. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering130(0), 16–25.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bachmann, R. T., Johnson, A. C. and Edyvean, R. G. J.
    [2014] Biotechnology in the petroleum industry: An overview. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation86, Part C(0), 225–237.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Brown, L. R.
    [2010] Microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR). Current Opinion in Microbiology13(3), 316–320.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Dastgheib, S. M., Amoozegar, M. A., Elahi, E., Asad, S. and Banat, I. M.
    [2008] Bioemulsifier production by a halothermophilic Bacillus strain with potential applications in microbially enhanced oil recovery. Biotechnology Letters30(2), 263–70.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Gudiña, E. J., Rodrigues, L. R., Teixeira, J. A., Pereira, J. F., Coutinho, J. A., Soares, L. P. and Ribeiro, M. T.
    [2012] Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery by Bacillus Subtilis Strains under Simulated Reservoir Conditions. Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Conference and Exhibition. Society of Petroleum Engineers Abu Dhabi, UAE.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Jackson, S., Fisher, J., Fallon, B., Norvell, J. and Hendrickson, E.
    [2014] The Effectiveness of MEOR Permeability Modification Beyond the Well Bore. Society of Petroleum Engineers.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Johanson, J. J., Feriancikova, L., Banerjee, A., Saffarini, D. A., Wang, L., Li, J., Grundl, T. J. and Xu, S.
    [2014] Comparison of the transport of Bacteroides fragilis and Escherichia coli within saturated sand packs. Colloids and Surfaces B-Biointerfaces123, 439–445.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Kaster, K. M., Hiorth, A., Kjeilen-Eilertsen, G., Boccadoro, K., Lohne, A., Berland, H., Stavland, A. and Brakstad, O. G.
    [2011] Mechanisms Involved in Microbially Enhanced Oil Recovery. Transport in Porous Media91(1), 59–79.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Kobayashi, H., Kawaguchi, H., Endo, K., Mayumi, D., Sakata, S., Ikarashi, M., Miyagawa, Y., Maeda, H. and Sato, K.
    [2012] Analysis of methane production by microorganisms indigenous to a depleted oil reservoir for application in Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering113(1), 84–87.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Kovscek, A. R., Wong, H. and Radke, C. J.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Krüger, M., Sitte, J., Biegel, E., Alkan, H. and Herold, A.
    [2014] Characterisation of Indigenous Oil Field Microorganisms for Microbially Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR). Chemie Ingenieur Technik86(9), 1485–1485.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Lazar, I., Petrisor, I. G. and Yen, T. F.
    [2007] Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR). Petroleum Science and Technology25(11), 1353–1366.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Marshall, S. L.
    [2008] Fundamental Aspects of Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery: A Literature Survey. C. S. a. I. R. Organisation (ed.), Floreat, Australia.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Maudgalya, S. K., Knapp , R. M. and McInerney, M. J.
    [2007] Microbially Enhanced Oil Recovery Technologies: A Review of the Past, Present and Future. Production and Operations Symposium. Society of Petroleum Engineers Oklahoma City, USA.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. McInerney, M. J., Nagle, D. P., Jr. and Knapp , R. M.
    [2005] Microbially enhanced oil recovery: past, present, and future. Petroleum microbiology, B.Ollivier and M.Magot (eds.). Amer Society for Microbiology, Washington, USA.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Muggeridge, A., Cockin, A., Webb, K., Frampton, H., Collins, I., Moulds, T. and Salino, P.
    [2014] Recovery rates, enhanced oil recovery and technological limits. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences372(2006).
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Muyzer, G., de Waal, E. C. and Uitterlinden, A. G.
    [1993] Profiling of complex microbial populations by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of polymerase chain reaction-amplified genes coding for 16S rRNA. Applied and Environmental Microbiology59(3), 695–700.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Sandrea, I. and Sandrea, R.
    [2007] Recovery factors leave vast target for EOR technologies. Oil & Gas Journal105(41), 44–47.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. She, Y.-H., Zhang, F., Xia, J.-J., Kong, S.-Q., Wang, Z.-L., Shu, F.-C. and Hu, J.-M.
    [2011] Investigation of Biosurfactant-Producing Indigenous Microorganisms that Enhance Residue Oil Recovery in an Oil Reservoir After Polymer Flooding. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology163(2), 223–234.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Suthar, H., Hingurao, K., Desai, A. and Nerurkar, A.
    [2008] Evaluation of bioemulsifier mediated Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery using sand pack column. Journal of Microbiological Methods75(2), 225–30.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Thullner, M.
    [2010] Comparison of bioclogging effects in saturated porous media within one-and two-dimensional flow systems. Ecological Engineering36(2), 176–196.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Wang, Q., Fang, X., Bai, B., Liang, X., Shuler, P. J., Goddard, W. A., III and Tang, Y.
    [2007] Engineering bacteria for production of rhamnolipid as an agent for enhanced oil recovery. Biotechnology and Bioengineering98(4), 842–853.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Yen, T. F.
    [1989] Microbial enhanced oil recovery. CRC press.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. ZoBell, C. E.
    [1947] Bacterial release of oil from sedimentary materials. Oil & Gas Journal46(13), 62.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. World Energy Balances, IEA
    . ISBN PRINT 978-92-64-26158-7
  28. International Energy Agency
    . 2011World energy outlook 2011. Paris, France: OECD/IEA
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error