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Microorganisms in the Oil and Gas Industry

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ian Head


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The deep biosphere is the largest microbial biome on the planet. Being remote, difficult to sample, and refractory to direct observation, it can often seem esoteric and detached from practical relevance. Those working in the oil andgas industry know from difficult and costly experience that this view of the deep biosphere could not be further from the truth. Petroleum systems provide the most tangible evidence that the deep biosphere should not be relegated to a curious scientific oddity. The operational and economic consequences of microbial activity in petroleum systems are immense and a testament to the power of the deep biosphere and its very direct impact on human activities. Petroleum reservoirs harbor a diverse array of microorganisms, which, on production and geological time scales, influence the properties and quality of emplaced oil and affect its production and ultimately its value. Heavy oil formation over tens of millions of years, sulfide formation leading to souring, microbially influenced corrosion, and the potential to enhance oil recovery all have a central microbiological component, and in some cases, there may be microbiological solutions to detrimental processes that occur during petroleum production. Here, the range of organisms associated with petroleum systems is explored. A particular emphasis is placed on the activities they catalyze and which underline their practical importance for good or ill in the oil and gas industry.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Head IM

Editor(s): Torben Lund Skovhus, Dennis Enning, Jason S. Lee

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry

Year: 2017

Pages: 59-73

Print publication date: 03/04/2017

Online publication date: 03/03/2017

Acceptance date: 03/03/2017

Publisher: CRC Press

Place Published: Boca Raton, FL


DOI: 10.1201/9781315157818-4

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781498726566