Corrosion is a natural phenomenon that occurs when certain elements or compounds react with metals. But did you know that sulfate-reducing bacteria can accelerate the corrosion process? In this blog post, we’ll explore how sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) can cause environmental corrosion and what measures can be taken to mitigate its impact.

What are Sulfate Reducing Bacteria?

Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are anaerobic microorganisms using sulfates as terminal electron acceptors in respiration. They occur naturally in anaerobic marine and freshwater environments and can produce hydrogen sulfide gas, which is toxic to humans and animals. SRB also can corrode metals by releasing acidic compounds such as sulfuric acid.

How does Sulfate Reducing Bacteria Cause Corrosion?

SRB produce sulfuric acid through their metabolic processes, leading to accelerated metal surface corrosion. This process is known as microbial-induced corrosion (MIC). SRBs are estimated to contribute up to 80% of all microbial-induced corrosion in natural environments.

One of the best ways to reduce the impact of SRB on corrosion is by regularly monitoring for the presence of SRB. This enables quicker detection of problem areas allowing for faster mitiagtion efforts.

Historically, culture tests, such as those outlined in NACE Standard TM0-194, have been used to estimate SRB populations. The downsides to these tests are:

  • Traditional Culture Test Cycle time.
  • Requires refrigerated samples.
  • Samples must be transported and tested within 48 hours.
  • Interferences from other chemicals and high total dissolved solids.
  • Time to result – up to 28 days.
  • Mitigation delayed with more significant issues for new or problem wells.

Ideally, a test that can reduce the feedback cycle time would be of significant value to oil well owners, operators, and service companies battling microbiological contamination, such as the QuickChek SRB test kit.

  • Results in 20 minutes not 28 days.
  • Accurate measurement with correlation equal or better than culture methods.
  • Better correlation with qPCR than culture methods.
  • Samples run in the field or lab with no logistical or technical limitations on time or transport.
  • Faster treatment of wells.

Corrosion caused by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) is a significant problem for many industries due to its potential to damage infrastructure and equipment. SRB are indigenous to the oil field and cause severe operational problems. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate its impact through careful monitoring and controlling oxygen levels in affected areas. Quick, accurate SRB population estimates can reduce operating costs significantly, increase oil feild safety and decrease sulfide releases into the environment. Modern Water’s QuickChek SRB kits represent a clear upgrade over exisiting technologies.

You can learn more about the QuickChek SRB Kit at Oil and Gas – Modern Water.

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