Data_Sheet_1_Comparison of Nitrate and Perchlorate in Controlling Sulfidogenesis in Heavy Oil-Containing Bioreactors.PDF
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Control of microbial reduction of sulfate to sulfide in oil reservoirs (a process referred to as souring) with nitrate has been researched extensively. Nitrate is reduced to nitrite, which is a strong inhibitor of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Perchlorate has been proposed as an alternative souring control agent. It is reduced to chlorate (ClO3-) and chlorite (ClO2-), which is dismutated to chloride and O2. These can react with sulfide to form sulfur. Chlorite is also highly biocidal. Here we compared the effectiveness of perchlorate and nitrate in inhibiting SRB activity in medium containing heavy oil from the Medicine Hat Glauconitic C (MHGC) field, which has a low reservoir temperature and is injected with nitrate to control souring. Using acetate, propionate and butyrate as electron donors, perchlorate-reducing bacteria (PRB) were obtained in enrichment culture and perchlorate-reducing Magnetospirillum spp. were isolated from MHGC produced waters. In batch experiments with MHGC oil as the electron donor, nitrate was reduced to nitrite and inhibited sulfate reduction. However, perchlorate was not reduced and did not inhibit sulfate reduction in these incubations. Bioreactor experiments were conducted with sand-packed glass columns, containing MHGC oil and inoculated with an oil-grown mesophilic SRB enrichment. Once active souring (reduction of 2 mM sulfate to sulfide) was observed, these were treated with nitrate and/or perchlorate. As in the batch experiments, 4 mM nitrate completely inhibited sulfide production, while partial inhibition occurred with 1 and 2 mM nitrate, but injection of 4 mM perchlorate did not inhibit sulfate reduction and perchlorate was not reduced. The enriched and isolated PRB were unable to use heavy oil components, like alkylbenzenes, which were readily used by nitrate-reducing bacteria. Hence perchlorate, injected into a low temperature heavy oil reservoir like the MHGC, may not be reduced to toxic intermediates making nitrate a preferable souring control agent.
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