Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 6, pp 2525–2533 | Cite as

Damage to offshore production facilities by corrosive microbial biofilms

  • Adrien Vigneron
  • Ian M. Head
  • Nicolas Tsesmetzis


In offshore production facilities, large amounts of deaerated seawater are continuously injected to maintain pressure in oil reservoirs and equivalent volumes of fluids, composed of an oil/gas, and water mixture are produced. This process, brewing billions of liters of biphasic fluids particularly rich in microorganisms, goes through complex steel pipeline networks that are particularly prone to biofilm formation. Consequently, offshore facilities are frequently victims of severe microbiologically influenced corrosion. Understanding of microbiologically influenced corrosion is constantly growing. In the laboratory, the inventory of potentially corrosive microorganisms is increasing and microbial biochemical and bioelectrical processes are now recognized to be involved in corrosion. However, understanding of corrosive multispecies biofilms and the complex metabolic processes associated with corrosion remains a considerable challenge as simple laboratory biofilms comprising pure or defined mixed cultures poorly represent the complexity of in situ biofilms. Complementary, antagonistic, and parallel microbial pathways occur within the complex microbial and inorganic matrix of the biofilms which can lead to high corrosion rates. This mini-review explores models of microbiologically influenced corrosion and places them in the context of the multispecies biofilms observed in situ. Consequences of mitigation strategies on biofilm corrosiveness and dispersal are also discussed.


MIC Corrosion Microbiologically influenced corrosion Biocorrosion Biofouling 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil Engineering and GeosciencesNewcastle UniversityNewcastle Upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Shell International Exploration and Production Inc.HoustonUSA

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