Why? Because it’s the future of sustainable and more effective oil recovery
Easy oil is gone. To survive in the current $50 oil climate, companies need cutting-edge technologies. Enter biosurfactants.
To better understand what they are, let’s start by discussing surfactants. Surfactants are compounds with both water-soluble and oil-soluble elements that preferentially partition at the interface between different phases; gas, liquid and solid, and with liquids of different polarities (oil/water and water/oil). The molecules in surfactants reduce the surface and interfacial tension, conferring many desirable properties for oil and gas extraction such as detergency, emulsifying, foaming and dispersion.
Why is this important to know? Because the oil and gas industry uses substantial amounts of petrochemical-based synthetic surfactants and chemicals to facilitate the recovery of hydrocarbons. For over 50 years, chemically-derived surfactants were “good enough” to meet the demands of the oil industry. Today low-porosity, high-pressure and high-temperature reservoirs—combined with the drive for environmentally-friendly, sustainable and biodegradable compounds—require a step change in surfactant technologies. That’s where biosurfactants come in.
Naturally-derived biosurfactants offer significant advantages over synthetic surfactants, such as enhanced performance, environmental compatibility, low toxicity, biodegradability and maintained activity under extreme conditions of temperatures, salinity and pH values. So why have biosurfactants not dominated the oil and gas industry?
High production costs of biosurfactants was previously a major constraining factor that hampered market growth. That is, until Locus Bio-Energy Solutions perfected and patented fermentation processes that deliver non-GMO, high-potency and customized biosurfactants at reduced production costs of < 10% of traditional processes. For the first time, the industry can cost-effectively utilize these powerful solutions.
Locus Bio-Energy’s biosurfactant solutions, which include Rhamnolipids, Sophorolipids and mannosylerythritol lipids, reduce oil and water surface tension to much lower levels than synthetic surfactants, significantly increasing the efficacy of numerous oil extraction processes—the solubilization of paraffin deposits, the viscosity reduction of heavy oils, the reduction of oil-rock surface and interfacial tension, and decreasing capillary forces (drag), which result in enhanced oil movement through the rock pores.
It’s no secret—this approach has been attempted before. It was called Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR), and it was tried in the 1980s and 90s. What happened? Microbes were injected into oil wells, along with nutrients, to try to generate biosurfactants in-situ. However, the results were inconsistent as the microbial generation of biosurfactants in the reservoir were hard to control.
So how are these new Locus Bio-Energy biosurfactants different? It’s all in the production method. The company’s patented fermenters generate and extract high-quality, concentrated biosurfactants under controlled manufacturing conditions ensuring both high-performance and cost-effective production. In many ways, it’s very similar to how your favorite microbrewery ferments a beer. These bio-surfactants are then injected at the appropriate dosage rate into the reservoir in a controlled manner to consistently recovery maximum oil from the producing well.
Produced By Nature. Perfected By Locus.