Aims: Forty Bacillus strains isolated from a Brazilian oil reservoir were tested against each other to select strains producing antimicrobial substances (AMS). Three strains, Bacillus subtilis (LFE-1), Bacillus firmus (H 2O-1) and Bacillus licheniformis (T6-5), were selected due to their ability to inhibit more than 65% of the Bacillus strains tested. These three strains were also investigated for their capability to inhibit sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Furthermore, physiological and biochemical characteristics of the antimicrobial compounds produced by the selected strains were determined. Methods and Results: Among the forty strains tested, 36 (90%) strains were able to inhibit at least one Bacillus strain used as indicator in plate assays and three of them (LFE-1, T6-5 and H2O-1) were able to inhibit 65, 70 and 97-5% of the 40 strains studied here respectively. Clear zones of inhibition were observed when H2O-1 was tested against SRB-containing consortium T6-lab and Desulfovibrio alaskensis strain NCIMB 13491, while strain T6-5 was able to inhibit only the D. alaskensis strain. The three substances showed to be insensitive to different enzymes and chemicals, were heat stable and the substances produced by strains T6-5 and H2O-1 were active over a wide pH range. Conclusions: Three different AMS produced by Bacillus strains from an oil reservoir, two of them with activity against SRB, are presented here. Significance and Impact of the Study: The preliminary characterization of these AMS points to their potential use as biocides in the petroleum industry for controlling problems associated with SRB. © 2005 The Society for Applied Microbiology.