Simulations of Microbial-Enhanced Oil Recovery: Adsorption and Filtration

Sidsel Marie Nielsen, Igor Nesterov, Alexander Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In the context of microbial-enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) with injection of surfactant-producing bacteria into the reservoir, different types of bacteria attachment and growth scenarios are studied using a 1D simulator. The irreversible bacteria attachment due to filtration similar to the deep bed filtration (DBF) is examined along with the commonly used reversible equilibrium adsorption (REA). The characteristics of the two models are highlighted. The options for bacteria growth are the uniform growth in both phases and growth of attached bacteria only. It is found that uniform growth scenario applied to filtration model provides formation of two oil banks during recovery. This feature is not reproduced by application of REA model or DBF with growth in attached phase. This makes it possible to select a right model based on the qualitative analysis of the experimental data. A criterion is introduced to study the process efficiency: the dimensionless time at which average recovery between pure water injection and maximum surfactant effect is reached. This characteristic recovery period (CRP) was studied as a function of the different MEOR parameters such as bacterial activity, filtration coefficients, and substrate injection concentrations. For both growth scenarios, there is a zone of optimal activity at which the CRP is minimal. Dependence of the CRP on substrate concentration for uniform growth scenario has also an optimal zone. Therefore, growth rate and the substrate concentration should be above a certain threshold value and still not be too high to obtain the minimum CRP. On the other hand, no such zone was found if the bacteria could grow only in the attached phase. Dependencies on both the injected concentration and filtration coefficient are monotonous in this case.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Pages (from-to)227-259
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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