Application of geo-microbial prospecting method for finding oil and gas reservoirs
Microbial prospecting of hydrocarbons is based on the detection of anomalous population of hydrocarbon oxidizing bacteria in the surface soils, indicates the presence of subsurface oil and gas accumulation. The technique is based on the seepage of light hydrocarbon gases such as C1–C4 from the oil and gas pools to the shallow surface that provide the suitable conditions for the development of highly specialized bacterial population. These bacteria utilize hydrocarbon gases as their only food source and are found enriched in the near surface soils above the hydrocarbon bearing structures. The methodology involves the collection of soil samples from the survey area, packing, preservation and storage of samples in pre-sterilized sample bags under aseptic and cold conditions till analysis and isolation and enumeration of hydrocarbon utilizing bacteria such as methane, ethane, propane, and butane oxidizers. The contour maps for the population density of hydrocarbon oxidizing bacteria are drawn and the data can be integrated with geological, geochemical, geophysical methods to evaluate the hydrocarbon prospect of an area and to prioritize the drilling locations thereby reducing the drilling risks and achieve higher success in petroleum exploration. Microbial Prospecting for Oil and Gas (MPOG) method success rate has been reported to be 90%. The paper presents details of microbial prospecting for oil and gas studies, excellent methodology, future development trends, scope, results of study area, case studies and advantages.