In the oil & gas industry, and in particular hydraulic fracking, microbial contamination can occur at the following steps:
- during drilling of the well,
- preparation of the well for production (stimulation),
- construction of the facilities,
- and production itself.
The subterranean oilfield is an anaerobic environment, where the proliferation of sulphate-reducing bacteria create special circumstances for the industry.
The activity of these bacteria results in the production of hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid. This leads to problems such as metal corrosion, reduced drilling efficiency, and health hazards. The average active fracking well will therefore consumer between 200,000-300,000 litres of biocides to address these bacteria.
Wherever water is used as a processing or cooling medium for efficient operations there is always the risk of reduced efficiency and increased operating costs if the water becomes contaminated and biofilms develop.
Bio-fouling in cooling-water systems and the spoilage of oilfield additives
is largely due to the presence of gram negative bacteria. In addition anaerobic bacteria can give rise to corrosion and souring problems, particularly in oilfield pipework and reservoirs.
Algae and biofilms can rapidly become established in pipework and heat exchanger surfaces where they can cause a number of problems including reduction in efficiency, an increase in the flow resistance, in extreme cases pipes can become blocked and badly corroded, and health problems can result among operators and technicians.
Microbide is developing a number of stabilised aldehyde products as part of a protocol to address the specific needs of oilfield management and oil and gas production.