Statoil to try bacteria-driven oil recovery at Norne field

By the OGJ Online Staff

LONDON, Feb. 8�Statoil AS aims to produce an extra 30 million bbl of oil over the next 15 years from its Norne development in the Norwegian Sea through the pioneering use of a "bacteria-aided" method of improved oil recovery, the Norwegain operator said Thursday.

Kjell Arne Jakobsen, staff engineer for petroleum technology on Norne, said the technology�developed jointly with the University of Bergen and Austrian oil and gas company OMV AG, and patented by Statoil�uses naturally occurring bacteria which, when treated with oxygen, "wash" oil out of the pore walls of a reservoir for recovery.

Jakobsen said, "When a reservoir is drained with traditional technology, 15-45% of the original oil remains behind."

"The bacteria are the same as those used to clean beaches after oil spills, for instance," says Egil Sunde, the staff engineer in well technology involved in developing the bacterial technology.

According to a Statoil spokeswoman, Norne has been selected for the 5 million kroner full-scale pilot off Norway because oxygen is not removed from water injected into its reservoir due to the use of stainless steel in its subsea installations.

Cultivation of the bacteria will start "within days," she said, once construction of a small-scale fertilizer plant on the Norne floating production vessel is complete.

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