Identification of crude-oil components and microorganisms that cause souring under anaerobic conditions
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Oil souring has important implications with respect to energy resources. Understanding the physiology of the microorganisms that play a role and the biological mechanisms are both important for the maintenance of infrastructure and mitigation of corrosion processes. The objective of this study was to identify crude-oil components and microorganisms in oil-field water that contribute to crude-oil souring. To identify the crude-oil components and microorganisms that are responsible for anaerobic souring in oil reservoirs, biological conversion of crude-oil components under anaerobic conditions was investigated. Microorganisms in oil field water in Akita, Japan degraded alkanes and aromatics to volatile fatty acids (VFAs) under anaerobic conditions, and fermenting bacteria such as Fusibacter sp. were involved in VFA production. Aromatics such as toluene and ethylbenzene were degraded by sulfate-reducing bacteria (Desulfotignum sp.) via the fumarate-addition pathway and not only degradation of VFA but also degradation of aromatics by sulfate-reducing bacteria was the cause of souring. Naphthenic acid and 2,4-xylenol were not converted.
KeywordsSouring Sulfate-reducing bacteria Secondary recovery Volatile fatty acid
This work was financially supported in part by Japan Oil, Gas, and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC, Tokyo, Japan).
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