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The microbiology of hydrocarbon degradation in subsurface petroleum reservoirs: Perspectives and prospects

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wilfred Roling, Professor Ian Head, Professor Stephen Larter


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The majority of the Earth's petroleum resource is partly biodegraded. This is of considerable practical significance and can limit economic exploitation of petroleum reserves and lead to problems during petroleum production. Knowledge of the microorganisms present in petroleum reservoirs, their physiological properties and the biochemical potential for hydrocarbon degradation benefits successful petroleum exploration. Anaerobic conditions prevail in petroleum reservoirs and biological hydrocarbon degradation is apparently inhibited at temperatures above 80-90°C. We summarise available knowledge and conjecture on the dominant biological processes active during subsurface petroleum biodegradation. © 2003 Éditions scientifiques et médicales Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Roling WFM, Head IM, Larter SR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Research in Microbiology

Year: 2003

Volume: 154

Issue: 5

Pages: 321-328

Print publication date: 01/06/2003

ISSN (print): 0923-2508

ISSN (electronic): 1769-7123

Publisher: Elsevier Masson


DOI: 10.1016/S0923-2508(03)00086-X

PubMed id: 12837507


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