Nitrogen gas is one of the important consumables in demand in high volumes in the upstream oil industry. One of its regular uses is in the nitrogen unloading wells during kickoff operations to liven dead wells. Conventional methods use liquid nitrogen stored and transported in specially insulated vessels to be pumped into wells using sophisticated cryogenic pumps and equipment. Cryogenic equipment that operates at very low temperatures, poses several safety hazards such as causing cold burns when skin comes in contact with a severely cold object (liquid nitrogen is at -196 °C). This technical paper presents the successful utilization of in situ generated nitrogen gas at a wellsite as a replacement of the conventional requirement of liquefied nitrogen, storage and transportation system for liquid nitrogen, and cryogenic pumps and equipment for pumping nitrogen into the well. The paper will discuss briefly the membrane technology used to produce clean nitrogen at wellsites by drawing atmospheric air as the raw input; and the advantages of the continuous nitrogen generation technology over the conventional liquid nitrogen system.


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