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New microorganism management platform for oil and gas

DES PLAINES, IL — Gas Technology Institute (GTI), a leading research and development organization serving energy and environmental markets, and Spyglass Biosecurity, Inc.,  a clean technology company specializing in delivering high-fidelity information on water quality via real-time sensor networks, have announced plans to jointly develop a new portable, automated water laboratory platform for monitoring biocorrosion and gas souring.

By leveraging the genetic-based quantification methods developed by GTI and portable sampling and analytical instruments from Spyglass, the new system will provide rapid, actionable data about the presence of potentially harmful microorganisms in water used for petroleum resource production. The platform will also offer other onboard sensing functions to measure the chemical and biological composition of water samples.

With increased unconventional gas production in the U.S., this new solution will provide valuable information about the quality of water used in upstream processes. “It is important to know whether there are corrosion causing microorganisms present that can contaminate the well and sour the gas, affecting gas quality,” says Al Darzins, R&D director at GTI.

Recycling and reusing water will be essential for effectively scaling gas production. “As a company founded on technology to understand aquatic environments and preserve public health, we are excited about the opportunity to help the U.S. capitalize on its natural gas resources while gaining a more complete understanding of impacts on its water resources,” says Chris Melançon, CEO at Spyglass. “Beyond the energy industry, these solutions can be applied to a wide range of industrial and municipal water quality markets.”

This collaborative effort represents a unique approach to protecting the country’s abundant natural gas resources and maintaining a safe and reliable delivery system. “For years, GTI researchers have been working to develop very accurate genetic-based quantification methods such as qPCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) to address the challenges of microbially influenced corrosion (MIC),” says Kristine Wiley, senior scientist in the infrastructure sector of GTI. “This is an opportunity for more effective monitoring and control of corrosion-causing microbes that can damage production and transmission operations in the oil and gas industry.”

Unlike traditional genetic testing, which can take days for transporting samples to the laboratory and obtaining results, the new platform would perform testing on the production site, quickly generating data that can be used to minimize operational costs associated with water treatment, gas souring, and biocorrosion.

“For the first time, users will be able to identify the presence of corrosion-causing microorganisms in near real-time,” says Darzins. “The whole point is to identify the presence of organisms early and respond with proactive control measures. There’s great potential to reduce costs by mitigating problems or even preventing them entirely by controlling the proliferation of MIC microorganisms.”

Once funding is in place, the two organizations will collaborate in the development of system prototypes, laboratory verification and field testing.

11/07/2012

 

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