Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery: 3D Simulation with Gravity Effects

Sidsel Marie Nielsen, K. Jessen, Alexander Shapiro, Michael Locht Michelsen, Erling Halfdan Stenby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) utilizes the activity of microorganisms, where microorganisms simultaneously grow in a reservoir and convert substrate into recovery enhancing products (usually, surfactants). In order to predict the performance of a MEOR process, a simulation tool is required, with all the relevant physical processes included.

We have developed a mathematical model describing the process of MEOR, where reactive transport is combined with a simple compositional approach. The model describes the displacement of oil by water containing bacteria, substrate, and the produced metabolite, surfactant. The metabolite is allowed to partition between the oil and water phases according to a distribution coefficient. Production of surfactant decreases the oil/water interfacial tension, reduces the residual oil saturation, and provides additional oil recovery.

In this work, we have implemented our MEOR model into a compositional streamline simulator based on the standard IMPEC framework (implicit pressure, explicit composition) to decouple flow and reactive transport. The reaction and transport processes are solved simultaneously along each streamline. Gravity effects are implemented using an operator splitting technique. To the best of our knowledge, this has resulted in the first full 3D MEOR streamline simulator. For verification purposes, we compare results from our streamline MEOR simulator to those of a conventional finite difference approach for 1D and 2D displacement calculations.
We investigate the benefit of MEOR relative to water flooding, comparing the processes in multiple dimensions.

The results of our simulations demonstrate that the oil recovery from MEOR processes in relation to water flooding is markedly increased, and the high recovery is achieved much faster. In addition, the compositional streamline simulator is applied to study both microscopic and macroscopic displacement efficiency of MEOR.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSPE EUROPEC/EAGE Annual Conference and Exhibition
Number of pages11
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers
Publication date2010
PagesDocument ID: 131048-MS
ISBN (Print)978-90-73781-86-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventSPE EUROPEC/EAGE Annual Conference and Exhibition - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 14 Jun 201017 Jun 2010


ConferenceSPE EUROPEC/EAGE Annual Conference and Exhibition
SeriesSPE 131048


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