Image_1_Mitigating Sulfidogenesis With Simultaneous Perchlorate and Nitrate Treatments.tif
Sulfide biogenesis (souring) in oil reservoirs is an extensive and costly problem. Nitrate is currently used as a souring inhibitor but often requires high concentrations and yields inconsistent results. Recently, perchlorate has displayed promise as a more potent inhibitor in lab scale studies. However, combining the two treatments to determine synergy and effectiveness in a dynamic system has never been tested. Nitrate inhibits perchlorate consumption by perchlorate reducing bacteria, suggesting that the combined treatment may allow deeper penetration of the perchlorate into the reservoir matrix. Furthermore, the metabolic intermediates of perchlorate and nitrate reduction (nitrite and chlorite, respectively) are synergistic with the primary electron acceptors for inhibition of sulfate reduction. To assess the possible synergies between nitrate and perchlorate treatments, triplicate glass columns packed with pre-soured marine sediment were flushed with media containing sulfate and an inhibitor treatment [(i) perchlorate; (ii) nitrate; (iii) perchlorate and nitrate; or (iv) none]. Internal geochemistry and microbial community changes were monitored along the length of the columns during six phases of increasing treatment concentrations. In a final phase all treatments were removed. Sulfide production decreased in all treated columns in conjunction with increased inhibitor concentrations relative to the untreated control. Interestingly, the potency of the “mixed” treatment was additive relative to the individual treatments suggesting no interaction. Microbial community analyses indicated community shifts and clustering by treatment. The mixed treatment column community’s trajectory closely resembled that of the community found in the perchlorate only treatment, suggesting that perchlorate was the dominant control on the “mixed” community structure. In contrast, the nitrate and untreated column communities had unique trajectories. This study indicates that concurrent nitrate and perchlorate treatment is not more effective than perchlorate treatment alone but is more effective than nitrate treatment. As such, treatment decisions may be based on economic factors.