When nitrate treatment wins the battle against microbial reservoir souring but loses the war

Ali Mahmoodi, Mohammad Reza Alizadeh Kiapi, Hamidreza M. Nick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The injection of seawater into a hydrocarbon reservoir (seawater flooding), as an oil recovery method, triggers microbial reservoir souring, through which microorganisms consume sulfate ions and produce hydrogen sulfide, which is hazardous, corrosive, and detrimental to the environment if enters production wells. A strategy to mitigate this problem is to add nitrate or nitrite to the injection seawater, also known as nitrate or nitrite treatment. This study investigates nitrate treatment in a simulated real-world sector scale hydrocarbon reservoir in the Danish North Sea through a non-isothermal multi-phase multi-component bio-chemical model and field observations. The common expectation is that the higher the concentration of nitrate or nitrite in the injection seawater the less hydrogen sulfide production. However, the results of this study show that slowing down the microorganisms (or mitigation through nitrate treatment) may cause higher hydrogen sulfide production from production wells. Put differently, not only the total amount of hydrogen sulfide generated inside the reservoir matters, but also the location of the generation zone and its distance from production wells matter. Therefore, it is possible that insufficient amounts of nitrate cause the generation zone to move toward the production wells. Hence, more hydrogen sulfide is produced during the lifetime of the reservoir. Moreover, considering laboratory and field scale measurements, in the presence of coupled multi-physics processes, the growth rates at the field scale are significantly lower than those observed in the laboratory experiments, under in-situ conditions, utilizing actual reservoir fluid samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110329
JournalEcological Modelling
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Nitrate reducing bacteria
  • Reactive transport
  • Souring field observation
  • Souring mitigation
  • Sulfate reducing bacteria


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