Petroleum is produced by thermal decay of buried organic material over millions of years. Petroleum oilfield ecosystems represent resource of reduced carbon which favours microbial growth. Therefore, it is obvious that many microorganisms have adapted to harsh environmental conditions of these ecosystems specifically temperature, oxygen availability and pressure. Knowledge of microorganisms present in ecosystems of petroleum oil reservoirs; their physiological and biological properties help in successful exploration of petroleum. Understanding microbiology of petroleum oilfield(s) can be used to enhance oil recovery, as microorganisms in oil reservoirs produce various metabolites viz. gases, acids, solvents, biopolymers and biosurfactants. The aim of this review is to discuss characteristics of petroleum oil reservoirs. This review also provides an updated literature on microbial ecology of these extreme ecosystems including microbial origin as well as various types of microorganisms such as methanogens; iron, nitrate and sulphate reducing bacteria, and fermentative microbes present in petroleum oilfield ecosystems.