Effect of nitrate and nitrite on sulfide production by two thermophilic, sulfate-reducing enrichments from an oil field in the North Sea
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Thermophilic sulfate-reducing bacteria (tSRB) can be major contributors to the production of H2S (souring) in oil reservoirs. Two tSRB enrichments from a North Sea oil field, NS-tSRB1 and NS-tSRB2, were obtained at 58°C with acetate-propionate-butyrate and with lactate as the electron donor, respectively. Analysis by rDNA sequencing indicated the presence of Thermodesulforhabdus norvegicus in NS-tSRB1 and of Archaeoglobus fulgidus in NS-tSRB2. Nitrate (10 mM) had no effect on H2S production by mid-log phase cultures of NS-tSRB1 and NS-tSRB2, whereas nitrite (0.25 mM or higher) inhibited sulfate reduction. NS-tSRB1 did not recover from inhibition, whereas sulfate reduction activity of NS-tSRB2 recovered after 500 h. Nitrite was also effective in souring inhibition and H2S removal in upflow bioreactors, whereas nitrate was similarly ineffective. Hence, nitrite may be preferable for souring prevention in some high-temperature oil fields because it reacts directly with sulfide and provides long-lasting inhibition of sulfate reduction.
KeywordsThermophilic Sulfate-reducing bacteria Hydrogen sulfide Souring Nitrate Nitrite Nitrate-reducing bacteria
This research was funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Strategic Grant STPGP 234833-00 entitled “Sulfide removal with nitrate-reducing, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria” and by ConocoPhillips. The technical assistance of Robert H. Webb (ConocoPhillips) with construction and analyses of the chalk bioreactors is gratefully acknowledged.
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