Oil Recovery: Experiences and Economics of Microbially Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR)

  • Keyu Liu
  • Xiaofang Wei
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


Decades of laboratory research and field trials of MEOR for a range of reservoirs worldwide have shown some encouraging results. With more effective bacteria and inexpensive nutrients, MEOR has the potential to become an economically feasible and technically viable mainstream component of the EOR portfolio. MEOR potentially offers an environmentally sustainable and cost-effective technology that can reduce or eliminate the need to use harsh chemicals and energy-intensive EOR methods in recovering the vast amounts of oil that remain trapped in aging fields. For example, residual oil in depleted oil reservoirs could be gasified via methanogenic pathway by invoking microbes, an innovative MEOR option. Integrated research programs and rapidly advancing insights into the diversity of microbial life and biochemical cycles have the potential to deliver breakthrough knowledge for understanding the effects of microbes that thrive in petroleum reservoirs in production time scales. At present, MEOR is yet able to provide reliable benefits that the petroleum industry requires from EOR techniques. However, due to the relatively low costs and low environmental impact of this tertiary recovery method, the potential reward for developing and implementing MEOR based on new fundamental understandings in microbiotechnology and reservoir engineering may be enormous.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.China University of Petroleum (East China)QingdaoChina
  2. 2.CSIRO EnergyKensingtonAustralia
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of EOR, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and DevelopmentPetroChinaBeijingChina

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