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Preparing near-surface heavy oil for extraction using microbial degradation

United States Patent

9,664,010
May 30, 2017
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Commercialization Program Website
In one embodiment, the invention provides a system including at least one computing device for enhancing the recovery of heavy oil in an underground, near-surface crude oil extraction environment by performing a method comprising sampling and identifying microbial species (bacteria and/or fungi) that reside in the underground, near-surface crude oil extraction environment; collecting rock and fluid property data from the underground, near-surface crude oil extraction environment; collecting nutrient data from the underground, near-surface crude oil extraction environment; identifying a preferred microbial species from the underground, near-surface crude oil extraction environment that can transform the heavy oil into a lighter oil; identifying a nutrient from the underground, near-surface crude oil extraction environment that promotes a proliferation of the preferred microbial species; and introducing the nutrient into the underground, near-surface crude 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), Pacific Northwest Division Batelle Memorial Institute (Richland, WA)
12/ 973,766
December 20, 2010
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY-SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0576RL01830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.