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Sulfate-reducing bacteria and their activities in oil production

Cord-Ruwisch, R., Kleinitz, W. and Widdel, F. (1987) Sulfate-reducing bacteria and their activities in oil production. JPT, Journal of Petroleum Technology, 39 (1). pp. 97-106.


This paper presents an overview of the microbiology of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and their detrimental effects in oil technology and summarizes a study on SRB in an oil field. SRB are a group of specialized microorganisms that occur in aqueous environments in the absence of oxygen. The main nutrients for SRB are simple organic acids and molecular hydrogen (H//2) from decomposing natural organic matter. The nutrients are oxidized, with sulfate being reduced to sulfide (hydrogen sulfide, H//2S). The formed H//2S is the principal agent in the disastrous effects caused by SRB. It contaminates gas and stored oil, precipitates ferrous sulfide that plugs injection wells, and promotes corrosion of iron and steel in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic corrosion). Another principal mechanism by which SRB are involved in corrosion is their ability to depolarize iron surfaces by consumption of cathodically formed hydrogen.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Society of Petroleum Engineers, Inc.
Copyright: © Society of Petroleum Engineers
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