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Crude biodegradation. Biodegradation of crude in petroleum reservoirs is an important exploration risk with major economic consequences. World Oil presented a paper by (Alan Yu, et al. April, 2002) that attempted to quantify that risk through integration of temperature and hydrocarbon-charge histories modeling. At and near the surface, this alteration process by aerobic degradation of petroleum is well documented. It has long been thought that oxygen- and nutrient-bearing surface waters percolate into reservoirs, and that this flow was necessary for in situ oil biodegradation.
However, biodegraded oils are found in reservoirs where aerobic conditions are unlikely. This, together with the recent identification of several anaerobic microorganisms in oil fields and the discovery of anaerobic oil-biodegradation mechanisms, means that anaerobic biodegradation processes could also be responsible. Such anaerobic degradation in deep petroleum reservoirs has thus far been strongly contested. Moreover, no single organism has yet been isolated that has been proven to degrade hydrocarbons under the conditions found in deep petroleum reservoirs.
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