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System and method for preparing near-surface heavy oil for extraction using microbial degradation

United States Patent

April 12, 2011
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Commercialization Program Website
A system and method for enhancing the recovery of heavy oil in an oil extraction environment by feeding nutrients to a preferred microbial species (bacteria and/or fungi). A method is described that includes the steps of: sampling and identifying microbial species that reside in the oil extraction environment; collecting fluid property data from the oil extraction environment; collecting nutrient data from the oil extraction environment; identifying a preferred microbial species from the oil extraction environment that can transform the heavy oil into a lighter oil; identifying a nutrient from the oil extraction environment that promotes a proliferation of the preferred microbial species; and introducing the nutrient into the oil extraction environment.
Busche; Frederick D. (Highland Village, TX), Rollins; John B. (Southlake, TX), Noyes; Harold J. (Golden, CO), Bush; James G. (West Richland, WA)
International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY)
11/ 350,206
February 8, 2006
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY-SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0576RLO1830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.