Oil and Gas Recovery

Interactive Infographic

Please use the numbers below for additional information about each part of the process.

(1) Source: International Shipping Carrier of World Trade (pdf)
(2) Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biofouling

Protecting Energy Production

Oil and gas is vital to many industries and are of great importance to maintaining industrial civilization as we know it. Petroleum-based products, from gasoline and home heating oil to plastics, impact our everyday lives, as well as the economy, and contribute to our high standard of living. What’s more, oil is the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers and pesticides on which we now rely.

Additionally, the production, distribution, refining and retailing of crude oil and natural gas account for a significant portion of the job market. In short, any factors that have a significant impact on the energy industry, have a significant impact on our daily lives.

A Complex Industry

The energy industry is a complex one, engaging in the extraction of oil and gas from deep underground and offshore and transportation of it to refineries and chemical plants for further processing.

Microbial control technology plays an important role at each stage, facilitating safe and reliable operations, while at the same time helping to make sure that the valuable resources are conserved.

Microbial control products are added to drilling mud, workover1 and completion fluids used in the drilling of production wells; to water floods where water ‘pushes’ oil to an extraction well; to treat oil and gas field process waters; and for oil and gas pipeline and tank maintenance.

Controlling Bacteria

Biocides are utilized to control the growth of various types of bacteria. In particular, controlling the growth of sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) is critical for minimizing the formation of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a highly toxic and corrosive byproduct that poses health risks for workers, damaging to the environment and causes damage to machinery, pipelines, and storage tanks, which are expensive to repair.

The conditions in which oil and gas are often extracted and its subsequent transportation to refineries are conducive to bacterial growth. Without effective treatment, microbial contamination can cause pipeline and equipment corrosion, the souring and plugging of wells and reservoirs and consequently can reduce flow rates.

Even in the best-kept tanks, microbial contamination can be a challenge. Holding strategic reserves for long periods has always been problematic.

Water is the Main Determinant

The presence of water is the main determinant for microbial growth in fuels. Water dissolved in the fuel can condense on tank walls, moisture in the air can enter through floating tank lids or other vents, poorly designed tanks do not drain efficiently, leaving sediment or sludge harboring microorganisms.

As in most cases of microbial bio-deterioration of materials, the best control treatment is prevention. Cleanliness and frequent drainage of water should help minimize the problems. The use of microbial control products in fuel storage tanks helps reduce bacteria, algae and biofilm formation; aids in the control of microbial influenced corrosion and reduces reservoir-souring, protecting the fuel efficiently.

1 The term “workover” is used to refer to any kind of oil well intervention involving invasive techniques, such as wireline, coiled tubing or snubbing. More specifically, it will refer to the expensive process of pulling and replacing a completion.