Fracture Sealing with Microbially-Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation: A Field Study
Phillips, Adrienne J.
Cunningham, Alfred B.
Lomans, B. P.
Spangler, Lee H.
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A primary environmental risk from unconventional oil and gas development or carbon sequestration is subsurface fluid leakage in the near wellbore environment. A potential solution to remediate leakage pathways is to promote microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP) to plug fractures and reduce permeability in porous materials. The advantage of microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP) over cement-based sealants is that the solutions used to promote MICP are aqueous. MICP solutions have low viscosities compared to cement, facilitating fluid transport into the formation. In this study, MICP was promoted in a fractured sandstone layer within the Fayette Sandstone Formation 340.8 m below ground surface using conventional oil field subsurface fluid delivery technologies (packer and bailer). After 24 urea/calcium solution and 6 microbial (Sporosarcina pasteurii) suspension injections, the injectivity was decreased (flow rate decreased from 1.9 to 0.47 L/min) and a reduction in the in-well pressure falloff (>30% before and 7% after treatment) was observed. In addition, during refracturing an increase in the fracture extension pressure was measured as compared to before MICP treatment. This study suggests MICP is a promising tool for sealing subsurface fractures in the near wellbore environment.
Phillips AJ, Cunningham AB, Gerlach R, Hiebert R, Hwang C, Lomans BP, Westrich J, Mantilla C, Kirksey J, Esposito R, Spangler L, "Fracture Sealing with Microbially-Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation: A Field Study," Environmental Science and Technology 2016 50(7) pp. 4111–4117