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Felix Sebastien Nicol



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Personal profile

Personal Statement

My project aims to reduce the negative effects of microorganisms on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations by exploring innovative strategies to limit or remove the need for anti-microbial agents in fracking fluids.

Microbial activity in hydraulic fracturing operations causes significant problems such as reservoir souring, reduced hydrocarbon volume and quality, bio-clogging, and equipment corrosion. To prevent these effects, anti-microbial agents (biocides) are added to control and limit the activity of microorganisms present in reservoirs. Problematically, high concentrations of biocides are required to control these persistent organisms. This is a concern due to the potentially harmful impact of biocides in the environment.

Alternative strategies will be developed by better characterising and constraining the negative microbial activity in the subsurface in order to generate a more targeted and effective anti-microbial treatment.  These strategies may either reduce total biocide concentration, or trial new agents which have reduced environmental impact. The project will then focus on removing the need for biocides by formulating a pro-biotic approach promoting the occurrence of desirable species rather than problematic ones. This approach is highly favourable due to its minimal environmental impact, and can be designed to enhance hydrocarbon extraction through production of biosurfactant (allowing improved liberation of hydrocarbon) and generation of biogenic (microbially produced) gas.

Novel and more targeted anti-microbial techniques are needed to improve microbial control and maximise well productivity, which in turn will reduce environmental burdens associated with current practices.

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Research Output

The effect of bacterial growth phase and culture concentration on U(VI) removal from aqueous solution

Kenney, J. P. L., Ellis, T., Nicol, F. S., Porter, A. E. & Weiss, D. J., 5 Apr 2018, In : Chemical Geology. 482, p. 61-71 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    8 Downloads (Pure)