In-situ microbial enhanced oil recovery

  • Pham, Tri (PI)
  • Hazlett, Randy (Co-PI)
  • Yernazarova, Aliya (Co-PI)
  • Mun, Grigoriy (Co-PI)
  • Venturi, Vittorio (Co-PI)
  • Uteyev, Rakhim (Other participant)
  • Zhiengaliev , Baurzhan (Other participant)
  • Kitching, Michael (Other participant)
  • Mukhtar Shakenuly, Mukhtar (Other participant)
  • Ispanbetov, Timur (Other participant)
  • Izmailova, Assem (Other participant)
  • Abbas Babikir, Azza Hashim (Other Faculty/Researcher)

Project: CRP

Project Details

Grant Program

Collaborative Research Program 2021-2023

Project Description

The In-Situ Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (IS-MEOR) project aims to increase oil recovery in mature oilfields in West Kazakhstan. Our main hypothesis is that in situ injection of nutrients will stimulate the growth of biosurfactant-producing and biopolymers-producing bacteria. These biosurfactants and biopolymers will, in turn, decrease interfacial tension between oil and water and cause selective plugging, thus increasing oil recovery through water flooding. The secondary hypothesis is that biosurfactant-producing and biopolymers-producing bacteria (e.g., Bacilli and Pseudomonades) will overcompete sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) by simple competition for growth volume and food, thus reducing oil souring and microbially influenced corrosion (MIC). The research team include PI and one co-PI from Nazarbayev University (NU) and two co-PIs from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KAZNU, Almaty, Kazakhstan). The industrial partner is the scientific research institute of National Company KazMunayGas, KMG Engineering (KMGE). The scientific coordinator of the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB, Italy) will serve as international co-PI for the metagenomics of the microbial community in the oil reservoir and a scientist from Dublin City University (DCU, Ireland) will serve as international collaborator for the Molecular Biology tasks. The project will produce measurable output, including peer-reviewed publications in high-quality journals and a national patent, and will train several young researchers. The development of low-cost methods for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) will allow Kazakhstan to increase the revenues of the fossil fuel industry and to export this know-how to other Central Asia countries. IS-MEOR uses biodegradable agents and industrial by-product to increase oilfields productivity. Thus, the results of this project will help foster the environmental sustainability of fossil fuel industry and contribute to the transition to a green technology-based economy.
Short titleEnhanced oil recovery
Effective start/end date1/1/2112/31/23


  • Microbial enhanced oil recovery
  • Biofilm
  • Microbially influenced corrosion
  • Biosurfactants
  • Biopolymers
  • Kazakhstan


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