Micro-Organisms In Enhanced Oil Recovery
The extent of bacterial involvement in petroleum genesis has been a subject of debate even while evidence indicates that million years of heat and pressure changed the remains of microscopic plants and animals into oil and natural gas. Microbial-enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) involves processes where microorganisms and their products are used to recover oil from either wells or reservoirs. MEOR mechanism could be in the production of biosurfactant, acids, gas or biomass. The major advantage of MEOR is that it is economically-attractive for marginally-producing oil fields; less expensive than other enhanced oil recovery methods and environmentally-friendly. MEOR activities commenced as far back as 1926 in most developed countries and is ongoing till date. The alarming rate of decrease in the supply of petroleum and its products makes the potentially-inexpensive method of MEOR useful; hence developing a method such as this in Nigeria would not only stabilize future worldwide oil production but will also ensure adequate energy supply. However, despite its advantages, this technology is still barely recognized by the oil and gas industries in the Federal Republic of Nigeria probably due to lack of published data as well as little or no cooperation between microbiologists, reservoir engineers geologists and the Nigerian Government.
Keywords: Microbial-Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR), Microorganisms, Oil and Natural Gas, Federal Republic of Nigeria