TERI and ONGC: collaborating for a sustainable future

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have a prolific association in the field of microbial biotechnology since 1996. The persistent efforts put in by scientists in microbiology laboratories of both ONGC and TERI for finding ways for enhanced oil recovery resulted in promising collaborative research. A long success story of the collaboration between ONGC and TERI culminated in the formation of ONGC TERI Biotech Limited (OTBL) in 2007. Thus, from laboratory scale to pilot to successful field application through OTBL—summarizes the progress of collaborative efforts of microbial-enhanced oil recovery between ONGC and TERI so far. Through similar steps, but in a much faster way, WDP (Wax Deposition Prevention) / PDB (Paraffin Deposition Bacteria) treatment for oil well tubing and surface pipelines has also been developed. ‘OILZAPPER’, a consortium of crude oil and oily sludge degrading bacteria – deriving from various bacterial cultures existing in the natural environment, has also been developed by TERI after seven years of extensive research sponsored by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India and subsequently funded by ONGC, HPCL, BPCL, IOCL, CHT and TERI for clean-up of oil spills and treatment of oily sludge.

OTBL: economic-ecological solutions

TERI, a leader in the field of bioremediation of oil spill sites, has been providing such services to ONGC. To use bioremediation technology as well as other biotechnology solutions such as Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) and Wax Deposition Prevention (WDP) on a large scale in oilfield installations, a joint venture “OTBL” was formed between TERI and ONGC. The share of ONGC in this partnership is 49.98% and that of TERI is 48.02%.

OTBL today is providing large-scale bioremediation solutions, by application of ‘OILZAPPER’ for cleaning up oil spills, undertaking MEOR and WDP/PDB jobs for the prevention of paraffin deposition in oil well tubing and surface flow lines, to oil companies in India and abroad, especially in the Middle East.