Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery

  • Jimoh, Ismaila Adetunji (Project Participant)
  • Søgaard, Erik Gydesen (Project Manager)
  • Rudyk, Svetlana Nikolayevna (Project Participant)

Project Details



Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods are used in oil industry to increase the ultimate recovery of crude oil. This normally involves application of an EOR method (sometimes called tertiary recovery method) to a specific underground oil bearing reservoir. Significant volumes of oil remaining in the depleted oil reservoirs (as much as 70%) could be produced by EOR methods. One of such method is microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR). Microbial enhanced oil recovery involves using microbes in the subsurface to recover additional hydrocarbon from reservoirs. The microbial enhanced oil recovery takes advantage of various microbial processes to increase hydrocarbon yield from residual oil by improving oil flow and flood water sweep in a reservoir during tertiary recovery. Microbial enhanced oil recovery strategies can be one or a mixture of processes which alters the lithology of the reservoir matrix, the viscosity of the oil in place, the chemical characteristics of the oil in place or the in situ pressure driving the oil out of place. Recent oil decline in the Danish sector of the North Sea, and the need to identify the most plausible technology to enhance oil recovery make this research an ideal one to check how effective these techniques of enhanced oil recovery could prove to Danish fields.  The method offers good opportunity to maximizing the reserves, especially in many depleted and water flooded reservoirs like many present in the Danish oilfields.


Earliest realization that bacteria are beneficial to the production of hydrocarbon was suggested by Beckman, 1926. Zoebell, in 1946 presented a process for the secondary oil recovery using anaerobic, sulphate reducing bacteria in situ. Each MEOR method has its own selection criteria consequently, the target of this study will be to match different reservoir conditions and MEOR selection criteria, and the goal of this project is to investigate further those factors that limit performance or that can enhance performance in the area of microbial enhanced oil recovery wherein referred to as the challenges in MEOR.


The scope of this project will cover two aspects namely; (a). Microbiology in deep subsurface and, (b). MEOR processes.


The overall aim of this project is to come out with some answers by which microbial activity in hydrocarbon reservoirs can be modified, improved or introduced to benefit oil recovery, which will ultimately increase our reserves to meet future energy demand.


Effective start/end date01/09/200931/08/2012


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  • Research Output

    • 1 Book chapter

    How specific microbial communities benefit the oil industry. Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR)

    Rudyk, S. N. & Søgaard, E. G., 4 Oct 2010, Applied Microbiology and Molecular Biology in Oil Field Systems. Whitby, C. & Skovhus, T. L. (eds.). Milton Keynes UK: Springer, p. 179-187 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review