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Offshore Oil & Gas rig

Battelle Oil & Gas Newsletter

March 2015 - Issue 4

New Rapid Field Testing for Microbial Influenced Corrosion

Battelle has developed a new DNA detection system for rapid field identification of microbes commonly associated with Microbial Influenced Corrosion (MIC). The new system will help oil and gas companies better monitor pipelines, downhole equipment and other critical infrastructure by allowing them to identify the markers of MIC in remote field locations instead of shipping field samples to a laboratory and waiting for results.

The field-based DNA detection system combines several pieces of commercial off-the-shelf reagents in a novel way to create an innovative field-based DNA identification kit. Bacteria associated with MIC can be identified by extracting DNA from collected samples, separating and amplifying target DNA sequences, and detecting amplified DNA products. Currently, samples are shipped to a laboratory and companies typically wait days or weeks to get results. The new MIC detector allows DNA to be extracted, separated, amplified and analyzed in the field in a couple of hours, without the need of a centrifuge, thermocycler, or other specialized laboratory equipment. This allows companies to diagnose potential MIC problems on the spot and make faster and more effective remedy decisions.

Battelle recently validated the method for downhole environments in a West Virginia study. Produced water samples taken from a drilling site in West Virginia were analyzed for specific DNA sequences using the new field-based DNA detection system. Researchers were able to accurately identify known bacteria in the produced water samples. This method could provide early warning for developing problems in downhole environments that are difficult to visually inspect. It could also be used for inspection of pipelines and other oil and gas equipment.

MIC is one of the leading causes of corrosion in the oil and gas industry. Identifying the presence of corrosion-causing bacteria can provide early warning of developing problems before corrosion is apparent in a visual inspection. Understanding whether or not corrosion is microbially influenced, and which specific bacteria are present, can also impact remedy selection. This field-based test will give companies a cost-effective and time-saving alternative for rapid diagnosis of corrosion issues.

Battelle has long been a leader in corrosion research, bringing together world-class materials science, chemistry, microbiology and analytics expertise to solve corrosion challenges for the oil and gas industry.