Thursday, April 10, 2008

Reviving Dead Oil Wells

According to oil microbiologist Lewis Brown, 2/3s of oil in US oil wells remains in the ground, for lack of advanced enough technology to extract it. Brown is learning how to take oil wells that have been declared dead, and bring them back to life.
Before Brown began his Alabama experiment, analysts had predicted those wells would stop producing in 1998. After Brown had applied his method, follow-up analysis indicated the wells could still produce--and might continue to do so until 2015...To date, the Alabama project has recovered more than 400,000 additional barrels. "This process has us talking about potentially recovering much of the now unrecoverable oil," Brown said. "This will help give us more time to develop replacements for our major energy source."

...By feeding only indigenous microbes in the oil-bearing formations, Brown avoids problems that can plug the wells. While limiting the amount of environmentally friendly nutrients limits their growth, it successfully alters the paths of injected water used to sweep the hiding oil from previously untouched areas.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, the process is cost-effective, Brown observed. In a recent field trial, the additional cost of the process was just $1.32 per barrel of new oil...Though there are limits to the depths at which microbes can be expected to grow, Brown has been able to isolate microbes at depths of more than 14,000 feet, and some can even grow at temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius.

"This certainly extends the number of oil fields where this methodology could be applied," Brown said proudly.

While Brown continues to work with petroleum industry leaders in removing additional oil from the ground, he has launched a second project in Wyoming to revive depleted natural gas wells located in coal beds. As with the liquid product, he's using indigenous microflora in these wells to produce more methane. __Source__via__NextEnergy
Advanced oil recovery methods are yet another factor that Peak Oil Prophets had not counted on. Peak Oil collects a ragged and pathetic following, that seems to revel in the imagined collapse of civilisation.

But scientists such as Brown can not waste their time on such absurd fantasies. He has work to do. After all, the oil won't pump itself.

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