Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 272–282 | Cite as

Corrosion risk associated with microbial souring control using nitrate or nitrite

  • Casey Hubert
  • Mehdi Nemati
  • Gary Jenneman
  • Gerrit VoordouwEmail author
Environmental Biotechnology


Souring, the production of hydrogen sulfide by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) in oil reservoirs, can be controlled through nitrate or nitrite addition. To assess the effects of this containment approach on corrosion, metal coupons were installed in up-flow packed-bed bioreactors fed with medium containing 8 mM sulfate and 25 mM lactate. Following inoculation with produced water to establish biogenic H2S production, some bioreactors were treated with 17.5 mM nitrate or up to 20 mM nitrite, eliminating souring. Corrosion rates were highest near the outlet of untreated bioreactors (up to 0.4 mm year−1). Nitrate (17.5 mM) eliminated sulfide but gave pitting corrosion near the inlet of the bioreactor, whereas a high nitrite dose (20 mM) completely eliminated microbial activity and associated corrosion. More gradual, step-wise addition of nitrite up to 20 mM resulted in the retention of microbial activity and localized pitting corrosion, especially near the bioreactor inlet. We conclude that: (1) SRB control by nitrate or nitrite reduction shifts the corrosion risk from the bioreactor outlet to the inlet (i.e. from production to injection wells) and (2) souring treatment by continuous addition of a high inhibitory nitrite dose is preferable from a corrosion-prevention point of view.


Nitrite Corrosion Rate Nitrite Concentration Much Probable Number Sampling Port 
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This work was supported by a Strategic Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil of Canada (NSERC) and by a grant from ConocoPhillips. C.H. was supported by graduate scholarships from NSERC, the Alberta Ingenuity Fund and the Government of Alberta. The authors would like to thank Pat McCarron and Andrew Richardson from Petrovera Resources for providing Coleville produced water samples and Trevor Mazutinec for technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Casey Hubert
    • 1
  • Mehdi Nemati
    • 2
  • Gary Jenneman
    • 3
  • Gerrit Voordouw
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.ConocoPhillipsBartlesvilleUSA

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