Potential of microbial biotechnology in heavy oil enhanced recovery

Balqees S. Al-Hinai*, Saif N. Al-Bahry, Abdulkader E. Elshafie, Yahya M. Al-Wahaibi, Ali S. Al-Bemani, Sanket J. Joshi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Oil will remain as a dominant factor of energy sectors throughout the world for many years. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expected 70% growth in worldwide demand for energy by 2030 and 88% of this increased demand will be covered by oil, natural gas, and coal. In Oman, oil and gas are the backbone of the economy. Their contribution to national economy reached 80.71%. Oman oil discoveries are largely considered difficult oil or heavy oil. Heavy crude oil reserves will meet high world demands on energy. Heavy oil recovery requires more advanced and costly techniques compared to light oil. Conventional oil production technologies recover only about onethird of the oil originally in place in a reservoir. The ability of microorganisms to live in petroleum environment opens a window for many biotechnology based applications in oil industries and its application to enhance heavy oil recovery. Microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) involves use of bacteria or their products, such as biosurfactants, biopolymers, gases, enzymes and others. MEOR processes do not consume large amounts of energy as thermal processes; do not depend on crude-oil-price fluctuations; and unlike chemical processes which are not environmental friendly. Therefore, isolation, identification and understanding biotechnological properties of the microbes is important in oil industry and it becomes crucial for setting up conservation strategies of such microbes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiotechnology and Conservation of Species from Arid Regions
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781631178726
ISBN (Print)9781631178696
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2014


  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • Heavy oil
  • Microbial biotechnology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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