Direct Injection of Biomineralizing Agents to Restore Injectivity and Wellbore Integrity
- Catherine M. Kirkland (Montana State University) | Randy Hiebert (Montana Emergent Technologies) | Robert Hyatt (Montana Emergent Technologies) | Jay McCloskey (Montana Emergent Technologies) | Jim Kirksey (Loudon Technical Services LLC) | Abby Thane (Montana State University) | Alfred B. Cunningham (Montana State University) | Robin Gerlach (Montana State University) | Lee Spangler (Montana State University) | Adrienne J. Phillips (Montana State University)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Production & Operations
- Publication Date
- October 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 2020.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- injectivity, MICP, microbially-induced calcium carbonate precipitation, sporosarcina pasteurii, wellbore integrity
- 9 in the last 30 days
- 9 since 2007
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In this manuscript, we describe the second of two field demonstrations of microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP) performed in a failed waterflood injection well in Indiana. In 2012, fracture-related flow pathways developed in the wellbore cement, causing injection water to bypass the oil-bearing formation and enter a high-permeability sandstone thief zone, thereby substantially decreasing injection pressure. In the first field demonstration, our study team characterized the well’s mode of failure and successfully applied MICP to decrease flow through the defective cement. However, because the MICP treatment was conducted using a bailer delivery system, the degree of permeability reduction achievable was not adequate to fully restore the historic injection pressure of 1,400 psi at 1 gal/min. For the second field demonstration (reported herein), a direct injection system was developed that substantially increased the injection volume of MICP-promoting fluids. Two strategies were implemented to produce more ureolytic microbes: resuspending concentrated frozen cells immediately before injection and scaling up the bioreactor growth capacity. Multiple pulses of microbes and urea-calcium media were pumped into a string of 1-in.-diameter tubing separated by brine spacers and injected continuously at a flow rate of 3.4 to 1.4 gal/min. During the third day of injection, an injection pressure of 1,384 psi at a flow rate of 1.4 gal/min was achieved, and the experiment was terminated. This study demonstrates that MICP can be successfully used in large-volume applications where the time frame for the delivery of reactants is limited. This finding has significant relevance for commercialization of the MICP biotechnology in the oil and gas industry.
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