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New technique for revival of sick oil wells

By Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI SEPT. 11. Scientists at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) claim to have `discovered and developed' microbes that help in the extraction of oil from `sick' oil wells.

The Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR), as the technology is known, has helped in recovering 5 to 15 per cent of crude oil from the wells that have been declared `sick' after secondary treatment with chemicals that recovers 20 per cent oil.

Announcing this here today, Banwari Lal, Fellow (TERI), who identified a consortium of three bacteria that survive under anaerobic condition in a temperature of 90 degrees C, said he had already applied for Indian Patent and would shortly apply for International Patent on the process of large scale culture of the microbes and the technique used in the oil extraction.

The research, funded by the Department of Biotechnology and ONGC, took seven years.

The microbial technology, that costs just Rs. 2 lakhs for each well, gives a return of oil worth Rs. 8-10 lakhs.

We have tried the technique onshore but can be used offshore also," said T. K. Das, General Manager in Mehsana.

The scientists were in the process of developing microbes that would survive in higher temperatures also, he added.

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