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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Dec;35(12):1625-36. doi: 10.1007/s10295-008-0406-x. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

The effect of long-term nitrate treatment on SRB activity, corrosion rate and bacterial community composition in offshore water injection systems.

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Unifob Petroleum, Allégaten 41, 5007, Bergen, Norway.


Biogenic production of hydrogen sulphide (H(2)S) is a problem for the oil industry as it leads to corrosion and reservoir souring. Continuous injection of a low nitrate concentration (0.25-0.33 mM) replaced glutaraldehyde as corrosion and souring control at the Veslefrikk and Gullfaks oil field (North Sea) in 1999. The response to nitrate treatment was a rapid reduction in number and activity of sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) in the water injection system biofilm at both fields. The present long-term study shows that SRB activity has remained low at < or =0.3 and < or =0.9 microg H(2)S/cm(2)/day at Veslefrikk and Gullfaks respectively, during the 7-8 years with continuous nitrate injection. At Veslefrikk, 16S rRNA gene based community analysis by PCR-DGGE showed that bacteria affiliated to nitrate-reducing sulphide-oxidizing Sulfurimonas (NR-SOB) formed major populations at the injection well head throughout the treatment period. Downstream of deaerator the presence of Sulfurimonas like bacteria was less pronounced, and were no longer observed 40 months into the treatment period. The biofilm community during nitrate treatment was highly diverse and relative stable for long periods of time. At the Gullfaks field, a reduction in corrosion of up to 40% was observed after switch to nitrate treatment. The present study show that nitrate injection may provide a stable long-term inhibition of SRB in sea water injection systems, and that corrosion may be significantly reduced when compared to traditional biocide treatment.

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