CM Showcases New 'Bug-Tracker' to Keep Offshore Industry from Itching

Commercial Microbiology welcomed industry experts to its laboratories in Aberdeen Thursday, August 28, as it launched its Bug-Tracker biodeterioration management system.

Conceived by company founder Dr. Stephen Maxwell, a world-leading expert in oilfield microbiology, Bug-Tracker predicts the effects of microscopic bugs on offshore processes and production, as well as plans action to treat them.

Since it was founded in 1984, Commercial Microbiology has become a world-leader in its field and the company and was acquired by Intertek at the beginning of 2008, in a move aimed at securing its worldwide business streams.

Bug-Tracker was designed to manage and control the impacts of bacterial growth in oilfield systems and in the oil reservoir, which can lead to corrosion of steel and "souring" of crude oil, both of which have serious economic and environmental consequences.

Oil and gas professionals involved in corrosion control, flow assurance and integrity were invited to today's event at Commercial Microbiology's base at Campus Two, Aberdeen Science and Technology Park.

The event followed recent contract wins worth more than £170,000, engaging Commercial Microbiology in work for Occidental in Oman, Maersk Olie og Gas in the North Sea, and a joint project with Capcis at Zueitina in Libya.

Maxwell said, "Issues due to bacterial growth have presented a particular problem in the North Sea, as seawater is a natural source of the most problematic bacteria. While the industry has improved in terms of overall internal corrosion management, the corrosion caused by bacteria remains an ongoing problem.

"Furthermore, bacterial growth in the oil reservoir results in 'souring' which can decrease the value of the oil and gas produced, increase operational costs and -- in the worst-case scenario -- result in shut-in of the well.

"We designed Bug-Tracker to help engineers and chemists develop the most appropriate strategy to remove the problem of uncontrolled bacterial growth through pre-emptive preventive action and appropriate monitoring.

"It's a tool to manage potential problems by stopping the bugs at the earliest opportunity - before they occur."

Commercial Microbiology's expert were on hand to demonstrate some of the techniques and technologies they have developed during the open day, which have applications in the oil and gas industry worldwide.