Bismuth thiols may be the solution to biofilms that cause a wide range of deleterious and expensive problems for the oil and gas industry
Fracking uses millions of gallons of water and millions of pounds of chemicals to procure natural gas from geologic formations. Biocides are added to reduce the growth of toxic, corrosive bacteria and biofilms that clog the flow of gas. Biofilms resist removal by mechanical cleaning, and are resistant to biocides. Metallic corrosion contributes significantly to the risk of oil and gas pipeline deterioration and failure, and causes well/reservoir souring and plugging. Biocides like bromine, 2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethanol, diethylene glycol monomethyl ether, and glutaraldehyde are highly toxic, do not effectively penetrate or eradicate biofilms, and promote resistant bacteria. The adverse impact of these chemicals on drinking water is of increasing concern. Energy companies are searching for less harmful biocides, but have met with limited success. Bismuth Thiols (BTs) are ideal solutions for fracking biofilms and biocorrosion. BTs inhibit biofilm organisms at very low concentrations, show broad spectrum activity against most bacteria and do not foster resistant subpopulations. BTs are also inexpensive, safe to deploy and non-toxic to humans and the environment. BTs exhibit unique anti-biofilm activities at extremely low concentrations (0.1-0.5 ppm), that prevent formation of biofilms and adherence to surfaces by a broad spectrum of bacteria, including corrosive sulfur-reducing bacteria. BTs inhibited the viability of seawater marine bacteria and their attachment to steel surfaces at much lower concentrations than glutaraldehyde or quaternary ammonium compounds. In conclusion, BT technology holds promise to provide a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, anti-biofilm approach to prevention and elimination of fracking biofilms and biocorrosion. This diverse collection of biocides offers different chemistries/properties to provide low cost and environmentally friendly solutions to help reduce the high costs that deleterious microbial growth inflicts on the oil and gas industry.
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