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INTRODUCTION TO

NITROGEN
PUMPING
Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Overview
Nitrogen characteristics
Nitrogen pumping unit
- Operating instructions and main components
- Operations (Tanks filling, Assembly and Tests, Cool-down, Pumping)

Main applications in oilfield:


- Pressurizations, Replacement/Purging, Gas lift

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen characteristics
Nitrogen: odourless,

colourless, and inert gas, present in nature at elementary


state; indeed it constitutes 78% of the earth atmosphere in wich molecule N2 can
be found.
Chemical symbol
Atomic number
Atomic weight
Fusion temperature
Boilling temperature
Gas density
Liquid density
Critical temperature
Critical pressure

Nitrogen Pumping

N
7
14,007
-210 C
-196 C
1,251 Kg/m3
808,2 Kg/m3
126,1K (-147,1C)
34,6 bar
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Nitrogen characteristics
Industrially, nitrogen is prepared through fractioned distillation of liquid air

On the market, nitrogen can be found in:


Gaseous state, stored inside gas-cylinders with pressure of 150-200 bar
Liquid state, stored in boiling state, inside special thermal insulated tanks at
-196C with pressure of 3 bar

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Pipes and components


Nitrogen Tank

Nitrogen Pump

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Nitrogen pump

Main components:

Engine / Transmission
Return and suction manifold section
Operating instructions:

Cryogenic unit which pumps


liquid nitrogen at very low
temperature (-196C) and
pressures up to 10000 psi,
and coverts it into a gas
(max 70C) by means of
vaporizer

- Liquid nitrogen suction line system


- Tanks return line system

Triplex pump section


- Cold ends
- Warm end

Intake manifold section

(high pressure line system)

- Liquid nitrogen high pressure line system


- Vaporizer
- Gaseous nitrogen high pressure line system

Coolant circuit (water brake)


Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Engine / Transmission
It supplies the necessary power for the movement of the triplex pump, and to carry
out additional functions
It is directly connected to the waterbrake and different hydraulic pumps
Hydraulic pumps supply power to the hydraulic engines of the circuits of the triplex
pump, centrifugal pump, coolant and lubrication
It is equipped with air start-up
The compressor, activated by diesel engine, keeps the pressure of the air circuit
around 8 bar
Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main components

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Return and suction manifold section


(Low pressure line system)

Liquid nitrogen suction line system:


It is connected to the intake line of the nitrogen tank through cryogenic flexible pipes
It supplies liquid nitrogen to the triplex pump with a pressure of 40-100 psi
A centrifugal pump (boost pump) is installed on the line, in order to bring the liquid nitrogen
from the pressure outgoing from the tank (generally 10-20 psi) to that entering the triplex
pump (40-100 psi)
Nitrogen pumps are usually equipped with a by-pass line of the boost pump
A line is present at the outlet side of the centrifugal pump (centrifugal pump's recirculation)
which by-passes the triplex pump for the recirculation of the liquid nitrogen inside the tank
during the cool-down phase
Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main components

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Return and suction manifold section


(Low pressure line system)

Tanks return line system:


It is connected to the nitrogen tanks return line through cryogenic flexible pipes
It allows the return of non-pumped liquid nitrogen inside the tank
A quick cool-down line is installed on the line to fill the pump
A line is installed on the outlet of triplex pump for the recirculation of liquid nitrogen during
cool-down phase
Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main components

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Triplex pump section


It is a 3-piston pump, whose task is to increase the pressure of liquid nitrogen until a maximum
operating pressure of 10000 psi
It is enabled through the hydraulic transmission: the diesel engine enables a pump with variable
displacement which convoys the oil under pressure to the engine with fixed displacement
The speed of the triplex pump (and therefore the nitrogen output) is regulated by changing
the displacement of the pump with variable displacement
It is made up by the following parts:

Cold ends:

Warm ends:

Those are pistons that suck liquid nitrogen


with low pressure and discharge liquid
nitrogen with high pressure. The cold ends
are connected and guided by the warm end
Nitrogen Pumping

It is the section that guides the cold end

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main components

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Intake manifold section


(High pressure line system)

It is constituted by lines outgoing from the triplex pumps cold ends (intake lines)
It is made up by the following parts:

Vaporizer
Liquid nitrogen high
pressure line system
It is the line section that
connects the cold ends to the
vaporizer; the nitrogen that
flows inside is pressurized but
still at liquid state

Nitrogen Pumping

Gaseous nitrogen high


pressure line system
It is that line section outgoing from the
vaporizer; the nitrogen that flows is
pressurized and at gaseous state,
ready to be pumped; a plug valve
(hydraulically actuated) is installed at
the end of this line

It is a particular heat exchanger,


constituted by a cylindrical chamber
filled up by a pipe bundle inside of
which liquid nitrogen flows. The
coolant fills the chamber and flows
around the coiled tubes at a pressure
of 80-150 psi. When the liquid
nitrogen (-196C) circulates through
the coil, it changes into gaseous
state.

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main components

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Intake manifold section


(High pressure line system)

The temperature of gaseous nitrogen is controlled by the coolant's output and temperature.
The gas temperature is kept between 60 and 70F (15-20C).
The temperature of the coolants circuit is controlled manually to keep the vaporizers
temperature constant between 100 and 120F (38-49C).
The output of the outgoing gas is measured in scfm (standard cubic feet per minute) or in
Nm3/min (normal cubic metres per minute)
A line is present at the cold ends outlet which allows the liquid nitrogen, by opening a proper
valve (tempering valve),
valve to by-pass the vaporizer and convoy liquid nitrogen inside the line (to
use only in case of extreme need to rapidly cool the out flowing nitrogen)
Another line, always mounted at the outlet of the cool ends, allows to re-circulate the liquid
nitrogen inside the tanks by opening a specific valve (prime valve)
valve during the cool-down
operation
Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main components

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Coolant circuit
It is a water-glycol recirculation system that supplies (through thermal exchange with the
vaporizer) the heat needed to cause the evaporation of the liquid nitrogen. The circulation of
fluid inside the circuit takes place through a water pump enabled by a hydraulic engine.
The coolant (water-glycol) draws heat from the following sources:

Hydraulic circuit
Waterbrake
It is a hydraulic brake
assembled on an axis of the
engines power take-off.
By sending liquid to the
waterbrake, the engine goes
under load, and in this way,
the engines power is
converted in heat.

Lubrication Engines cooling circuit


circuits of
The exchange between the two
triplex pump, circuits takes place through a heat
exchanger.
etc.
Some thermostatic valves regulate

Nitrogen Pumping

the engines operating temperature


so as to keep it constant within a
range of 60-70C.

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The coolant, flows through the


coolant/hydraulic
oil
heat
exchanger, from which it draws
heat. In a cold environment, a
reverse thermal exchange is
possible: the coolant, heated
up by the waterbrake, transfers
heat to the hydraulic oil; this
allows a quicker heating up of
the unit.

Main components

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component
1) Registratore a carta
2) Temperatura olio triplex
3) Pressione olio triplex
4) Portata azoto
5) Pressione idraulica pompa cilindrata variabile
6) Comando velocit pompa triplex
7) Pressione sovralim. Pompa cilindrata variabile
8) Giri pompa triplex
9) Arresto di emergenza motore
10) Arresto motore
11) Giri motore
12) Accensione motore
13) Pressione olio motore
14) Acceleratore motore
15) Pressione aria
16) Temperatura acqua motore
17) Temperatura coolant
18) Pressione motore centrifuga
19) Controllo velocit centrifuga
20) Pump saver
21) Pressione mandata centrifuga
22) Temperatura azoto in uscita
23) Pressione azoto in uscita
24) Pulsante di attivazione valvola pneumatica
25) Selettore posizione valvola pneumatica
26) Temperatura freno idraulico

Control panel

24

23

1
22

21
2

17

26

20
19

18

16

Nitrogen Pumping

25

10 11 12

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13

14

15

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Nitrogen pumping lines


1 - DYNAMOMETERS PRESSURE VALVE:
It regulates the pressure of the liquid flowing to the water-brake

2 - VAPORIZERS BY-PASS VALVE (TEMPERING VALVE):


It opens the vaporizers by-pass valve (N.B.: this manoeuvre can
considerably and dangerously cool down the outgoing nitrogens
temperature).

3 - HIGH PRESSURE NITROGEN RECIRCULATION VALVE (PRIME


VALVE): It opens the recirculation line, from the cold ends' outlets to the
tank's return line
4 - NITROGEN RECIRCULATION VALVE

3
4
8

5 - NITROGEN TANK RETURN VALVE


6 - TRIPLEX BY-PASS VALVE
7 - CENTRIFUGAL VALVE

10

8 - QUICK COOL-DOWN VALVE


9 - NITROGEN INTAKE VALVE

10 - BOOST PUMP BY-PASS VALVE


11 - BOOST PUMP

11

12 - VAPORIZER
13 - PLUG VALVE HYDRAULIC ACTUATED

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

12
13

Nitrogen pump

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen tank

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Nitrogen tank
The tanks are used to store and transport nitrogen, which is conveniently kept in refrigerated
liquid state (at -196C)
The generally used tanks have a capacity of about 8000 liters (about 2000 gal)
They are made up by an internal stainless steel shell, which contains the liquid.
The shell is covered by an interspace which is filled with insulating material (perlite) in which
vacuum is created.
The external shell is carbon steel made
They are equipped with instruments (cryogenic valves, gauges) and with a very sturdy frame
which has a protection role during transports and loading/unloading operations.

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen tank

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Nitrogen tank

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Nitrogen tank

1 LEVEL INDICATOR:
It indicates the level of the liquid nitrogen inside the tank
2 PRESSURE GAUGE:
It indicates the tanks internal pressure
3 GASEOUS PHASE VALVE:
It opens the inlet of the differential-meter connected to the gaseous phase
4 LIQUID PHASE VALVE:
It opens the inlet of the differential-meter connected to the liquid phase
5 EQUALIZER VALVE:
It connects the liquid phase valve and the gaseous phase valve
6 VACUUM BREAK DISC:
Disc located on the tanks exterior surface and kept in position by
the vacuum inside the interspace of the same tank
7 VACUUM PUMPS FITTING
8 SAFETY VALVE 3 bar
Safety valves that open up when the pressure reaches 3-6
1
bar
9
TRANSPORT RELIEF VALVE
Valve that must be always kept operating during transport or
parking while it must be closed during operations; it opens up
when the internal pressure reaches 1.7 bar
10 RELIEF EXCLUSION VALVE
It stops the exhaust of pressure through a relief valve
2
11 BLEED-OFF VALVE
valve used to manually exhaust the internal pressure
12 OVER FLOW VALVE
It must always be kept open during fill up operations. it indicates the
filling up level of about 80% of tank when the liquid overflows
13 CHECK VALVE

Nitrogen Pumping

(Components)

3
5
4

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9
10

12
13

11

Nitrogen tank

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component
14 FILTER

Nitrogen tank
(Components)

15 INTAKE VALVE
16 RETURN SHUT-OFF VALVE:
Valve on the tanks return line that must be kept open during operations

9
10

17 INTAKE SHUT-OFF VALVE:


Valve on the pumps intake line that must be kept open during operations
18 SAFETY VALVE 10 bar:
Valves located on the lines, which open up when the pressure reaches 10 bar.

19 REAR FILLING VALVE:


Valve for the shut-off of the rear tanks filling
line

20 DRAINING VALVE:
Valve that allows to exhaust the lines pressure prior to remove the flexible
grinding wheel.

21 PRESSURIZATION VALVE:
Valve that, once open, convoys liquid nitrogen to the vaporizer

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13 16

17
18
20

22 VAPORIZER

Nitrogen Pumping

12

18
14

15

19

21

22

11

Pipes and Components

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operating instructions and main component

Pipes and components


Pumping lines components (pup joints, valves, tee, elbows, cross-over, etc.) must be
manufactured for 10000 psi w.p., and they must have weco fig. 1502 connections
Pumping lines connections must be welded or integrated (threaded connections dont admit)
Low pressure flexible pipes (suction and return lines) must be cryogenic and equipped with
CGA 11/2 connections
The following components are always required in pumping lines

N 2 Plug valves:

N 1 Check valve

1 Immediately after the pump


2 At the end of line

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

N 1 Bleed-off valve

Nitrogen pumping unit


Operations
Tanks filling:
Filling operation is different depending on tanks temperature (tank is cold if it contains liquid
nitrogen, instead tank is hot if it is empty)
Assembly and test:
Pressure test must be performed with fresh water. In case of absence of triplex liquid pump, fill
the line with fresh water and pressurize with nitrogen
Cool-down:
This operation is necessary to cool all pumps components in which liquid nitrogen will flow, and
to favour the filling of boost-pumps intake lines
Pumping:
It is forbidden to exceed operative parameters
Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main applications in oilfield


The main operations that are carried out with a nitrogen pumping unit are:

Gas lift
Nitrogen is pumped in the well through CT or production tubing, to make easier the spontaneous
well production, lightening the liquid column in the well

Pressurization
Pressurizations with nitrogen can be requested for different operations, such as stuffing due to
change of lever or shots, fixing of packers, rebalancing of pressures above and below a valve prior
to anti-creep levelling it, etc... Prior to start pumping, make sure that pressure is present inside the
well and as a consequence, apply the same pressure on the treatment line prior to open the valves

Replacement / Purging
Nitrogen can be pumped in pipelines and tanks that contained corrosive or inflammable liquids, to
restore inert atmosphere

Acidizing / Fracturing
Nitrogen is pumped in the well to squeeze acid. After the reaction between acid and formation,
nitrogen makes easier the reactions fill removal
Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main applications in oilfield


Computation criterion

Pressurizations / Replacement
1.
2.

Identify the volume to pressurize or relocate


Once the final pressurization/replacement
pressure is known (at the head or bottom of
the well), calculate the average end
replacement/pressurization
pressure:
(BHP+WHP)/2.
The bottom hole pressure, once the Well
head pressure (or pumping) is known, can
be calculated by using specific sheets of
the well site manual (Pressure at a given
depth for a nitrogen column), intersecting
the well head pressure column with the
depth line (TVD).
N.B. if the bottom hole pressure is known,
by using the same tables, it is possible to
calculate the well head /pumping pressure

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main applications in oilfield


Computation criterion

Pressurizations / Replacement
3.

Calculate the average temperature: (BHT+WHT)/2. In


case that the temperature at the bottom of the well is
unknown, calculate it by using an average geo-thermal
gradient equal to 0.03C per depth metre (TVD)

4.

By using the specific tables of the Wellsite manual (M


of nitrogen per M of space or scf of nitrogen per barrel
of space according to the units of measurement used),
intersecting the just calculated column of the average
temperature with the average pressure line, it is possible
to obtain the volume factor

5.

Calculate the quantity of nitrogen required for the specific


work, multiplying the volume factor by the volume
calculated in point 1

6.

Once the pumping flowrate has been defined, calculate


the time need for pressurization, by dividing the quantity
of nitrogen calculated in point 5 by the same flowrate

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

Main applications in oilfield


Computation criterion

Pressurizations / Replacement
N.B.: To calculate the nitrogen needed for the operation, never forget to consider the
quantity of nitrogen lost during the pump's cool down (approximately 10000 scf = 283
Nm3).

IMPORTANT: In case the string or pipe has already an initial pressure, calculate the
relative quantity of nitrogen (using the above procedure) and subtract it to the one
calculated in point 5

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

EXEMPLES
Exemple 1: Pressurization of a surface pipe
The following example can be applied for horizontal (or characterized by small inclination
differences) pipeline; it is the case for example of coiled tubing on reels to displace and possibly
pressurize after the hydraulic testing phase and prior to descend into the well
Lets consider a horizontal pipe closed at the two edges, whose characteristics are:
Internal diameter = 8
Length = 20 km
Temperature = 20 C

Questions:
1.
2.

How much nitrogen is required to pressurize the pipe up to 1750 psi?


How much time do I need to perform the operation, assuming to pump a constant output
of 1000 scf/min?

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

EXEMPLES
Exemple 1: Pressurization of a surface pipe
Answers:
1.

2.

The volume available is:


20000 (m) x 3.28084 (conversion factor m/ft) = 65617 ft (length in feet of the pipe)
8 (in) x 0.08333 (conversion factor in/ft) = 0.66664 ft (diameter of pipe)
(0.66664 / 2) x 3.1416 = 0.34904 ft (area of pipes section)
0.34904 (ft2) x 65617 (ft) = 22903 ft (pipes volume)
22903 (ft) x 0,17811 (conversion factor ft3/bbl) = 4079.3 bbl
Considering that the pipe is horizontal, the average end replacement/pressurization
pressure is exactly 1750 psi.
After calculating the volume in barrels, lets look at the table of the Wellsite Manual that
indicates the volume factor in scf per barrel of space. In our case, at the intersection of
line 1750 psi with the column indicated with 20C, we find the value: 670
670 x 4079.3 (bbl) = 2733131 scf (remember to consider the 10000 scf needed for the
pumps cool down)
The time needed to perform the operation will be: 2733131 (scf) / 1000 (scf/min) =
2733 min ( 45 hours and 33 minutes)

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

EXEMPLES
Exemple 2: Pressurization of a surface pipe
Lets consider the same pipe of the previous example, but lets assume that is initially pressurized
with nitrogen at 1000 psi and that there are 1000 bbl of water at its interior.

Questions:
1. How much nitrogen is required to pressurize the pipe up at 1750 psi?
2. How much time do I need to perform the operation, assuming to pump a capacity of
2000scf/min for the first 4 hours and 1000 scf/min for the remaining time?

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

EXEMPLES
Exemple 2: Pressurization of a surface pipe
Answers:
1.

The available volume is given by the pipe's capacity minus the volume occupied by the water (since it
is a fluid that cannot be compressed):
4079.3 1000 = 3079.3 bbl
The pipe is horizontal, and the average end replacement/pressurization pressure is exactly 1750 psi.
After calculating the volume in barrels, lets look at the table of the Wellsite Manual that indicates the
volume factor in scf per barrel of space. In our case, at the intersection of line 1750 psi with the
column
This
volume
is 20C,
the one
pressurize
up xto3079.3
1750 psi,
in case the
indicated
with
weneeded
find thetovalue:
670 the
=>pipe670
= 2063131
scf initial pressure
inside it, is null; since the initial pressure is actually equal to 1000 psi, the nitrogen volume
already present inside the pipe must be subtracted:
391 x 3079.3 = 1204006 scf
The volume of nitrogen needed is therefore: 2063131 1204006 = 859125 scf
2.
The time needed to perform the operation is:
2000 (scf/min) x 240 (min) = 480000 scf (nitrogen volume pumped in the first 4 hours = 240 minutes)
859125 - 480000 = 379125 scf (nitrogen volume left to pump)
379125 (scf) / 1000 (scf/min) = 379 min (6 hours and 19 min) (time needed to pump the remaining
volume of nitrogen at the capacity of 1000 scf/min)
The total pumping time will be therefore: 240 (min) + 379 (min) = 619 min (10 hours and 19
minutes)

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

EXEMPLES
Exemple 3: Replacement of the fluid being formed
The following example concerns the replacement of a column of liquid being formed, using nitrogen;
this situation can occur in case of treatment in matrix (e.g. acidification) with bull-heading pumping
or anyhow to re-start a well, by filling the nitrogen column to decrease hydrostatics.
Lets consider a vertical well, constituted as shown in the figure
Tubing = 31/2 , 10.2 lb/ft

Casing = 7 , 29 lb/ft

Tubing shoe = 2500 m

Packer = 2500 m

Top of perforations = 2600 m

BHP = 3200 psi at 2600 m

WHT = 20 C

BHT = 140 C

Question:
How much nitrogen is required to relocate the fluid contained in the well
through shots?
Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

EXEMPLES
Exemple 3: Replacement of the fluid being formed
Answer:
Since up to 2600 metres must be relocated (top of shots), the volume to consider is given by the sum of the
tubings capacity plus the casing volume from the packer to the top of perforations:
* 8.29 x 2500 x 3.28084 / 1000 = 67.99 bbl (tubings internal volume)
* 37.148 x (2600-2500) x 3.28084 / 1000 = 12.19 bbl (casing's internal volume)
The volume to relocate is therefore: 67.99 + 12.19 = 80.18 bbl
Once the pressure at the bottom of the well has been calculated (3200 psi), using the tables of the Wellsite
Manual we find the value of the well head pressure which is about 2450 psi. Therefore:
* (3200 + 2450) / 2 = 2825 psi (average pressure)
The surface temperature is 27C, while the bottom temperature is of 133C. From which:
* (140 + 20) \ 2 = 80C (average temperature)
Once the average temperature and pressure values have been calculated, the relative volume factor
is calculated using the table of the wellsite manual, which is 814
By multiplying the volume factor calculated by the total volume to relocate:
814 x 80.18 = 65267 scf
Add 10000 scf for cool-down

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

QUESTIONS ?

Nitrogen Pumping

Italfluid Egypt Confidential

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