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Maersk Oil taps into biotechnology for increased oil recovery

Jul 28
01:07 2014

Maersk Oil has entered a collaborative 4-year research project that aims to increase oil recovery and prolong operations in the Danish North Sea by using biotechnology to create efficient, viable and environmentally safe solutions to the challenges of maturing oil and gas fields.

The ‘Biotechnology in Oil Recovery’ (BioRec) project aims to answer questions such as -- can bacteria and enzymes boost oil production in the Danish North Sea? Can Scandinavian beetle protein help keep gas pipelines from freezing?

BioRec is a joint industry project with Maersk Oil, the Danish Advanced Technology Foundation (Højteknologifonden), global biotech company Novozymes, oil company DONG E&P and three institutions – the Technical University of Denmark, the Danish Technological Institute and Roskilde University.

“This project goes further than ordinary joint industry projects by linking separate industries – oil and biotechnology – through companies and institutions that are recognised internationally for their innovation,” said Troels Albrechtsen, head of Maersk Oil’s Corporate Technology and Projects department.

“It is an exciting project that, through its well-defined aims and close collaboration, has a strong chance of success,” he said.

Three topics will be initially researched by the project:

• Can enzymes and bacteria be used for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) by feeding and growing in the reservoir to change the oil’s ability to flow?

• Can Microbiologically Induced Corrosion of pipelines be stopped by fighting bacteria that causes the damage with other bacteria or enzymes?

• Can proteins produced by coldwater fish or Scandinavian beetles to stop the creatures from freezing be replicated and used as a Hydrate Inhibition tool to stop ice from forming inside pipelines and wells?

Maersk Oil, Novozymes, DONG E&P and Højteknologifonden will contribute funds, expertise and materials to the academic institutions, which in turn will carry out research on several predefined issues and find commercially viable solutions.

BioRec’s ultimate aim is to be technically able to implement pilot tests at relevant reservoirs in the Danish North Sea at the end of the four-year period based on the results of its research

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