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Chapter 7 : Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention

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Abstract:

Reservoir souring is an example of a process that is initiated at the microbiological level, yet exerts an effect over an entire reservoir and its produced fluids within the production lifetime of a field. A characteristic of reservoir souring is that not all production wells show the same increases in hydrogen sulfide (HS) concentration at the same time. There have been several biotic and abiotic mechanisms proposed for reservoir souring, such as thermochemical sulfate reduction and pyrite dissolution. The practice of produced water reinjection (PWRI) as part of a waterflood has the potential to increase HS production beyond seawater-induced souring. Monitoring injection water sour water concentration can be particularly insightful if it is accepted that injected water contributes most of the HS observed at production wells. Methods of controlling microbial reservoir souring are of three types: those that attempt to deal with the HS after it has been generated and produced from the reservoir, those that attempt to prevent HS from being formed, and those that reduce the mass of HS that is generated. The surveillance of individual wells allows the relative degree of souring to be mapped for all of the producing wells in the field. A partial cure for souring may be achieved by selecting production chemicals that are added to the injection water to exclude those that provide additions to the nutrient pool available for sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Treatment of injection water with nitrate is a relatively new technology for control of souring.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7

Key Concept Ranking

Microbial Ecology
0.6952604
Hydrogen Sulfide
0.6019108
Sulfate Reduction
0.4969583
Desulfovibrio desulfuricans
0.46399328
0.6952604
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Image of FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1

Example of apparent souring of sweet reservoir oil and associated gas as a result of increasing cut of sour water containing 16.6 ppmw HS and a constant GOR of 220 scf/stb. No additional HS has been generated; only the relative proportions of sour water, sweet gas, and sweet oil have changed.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2

Theoretical HS production in mixtures of seawater, assumed to contain no organic acids and 2,700 mg of sulfate liter, and produced water, assumed to contain 115 mg of sulfate liter, 50 mg of propionate liter, and 100 mg of acetate liter.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3

Well water cut profiles in an example of a seawater-flooded, souring reservoir.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 4
FIGURE 4

Well gas-phase HS concentration profiles in an example of a seawaterflooded, souring reservoir.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 5
FIGURE 5

Well seawater sour water concentration profiles in an example of a seawater-flooded, souring reservoir. The total well HS production is estimated from gas-phase HS concentration, allowing for HS partitioning between gas, oil, and water phases. The seawater fraction in produced water is estimated from chloride concentrations.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 6
FIGURE 6

Seawater sour water concentration profiles against normalized pore volume throughput in an example of a seawater-flooded, souring reservoir. Pore volume throughput is based on the dominant analog well 2 injection water breakthrough time.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 7
FIGURE 7

Impact of a biocide treatment that kills 90% of an SRB population every 7 days. It was assumed that the initial SRB population was 1 cell; the population had a doubling time of 4 days and a specific rate of sulfate reduction of 5 x 10 mol cell day. The daily production rate of HS assumes that water from a 20,000-bwpd injection well reaches a sour water concentration of 5 mg liter.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 8
FIGURE 8

Effect of initial SRB population. It was assumed that the initial SRB population was 1, 10, or 100 cells. The population had a doubling time of 1 day and a specific rate of sulfate reduction of 5 x 10 mol cell day. The daily production rate of HS assumes that water from a 20,000-bwpd injection well reaches a sour water concentration of 5 mg liter.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 9
FIGURE 9

Effect of continuous calcium nitrate treatment of injection seawater on seawater sour water concentration in the Foinaven reservoir. The seawater sour water concentrations for two untreated wells in the analog field are shown for comparison.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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Image of FIGURE 10
FIGURE 10

Effect of continuous calcium nitrate treatment of injection seawater on HS production in the Foinaven reservoir. The HS production rate that would normally be expected, based on the number of pore volumes of injection water, is shown for comparison.

Citation: Vance I, Thrasher D. 2005. Reservoir Souring: Mechanisms and Prevention, p 123-142. In Ollivier B, Magot M (ed), Petroleum Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817589.ch7
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