Abstract

Factors for using inert gas generators to test a questionable cap rock in potential gas storage aquifers are presented and discussed. presented and discussed. The theory of inert gas generation is compared to field use. Mechanical and corrosion problems involved with practical application are presented. practical application are presented. Cost per MCF of inert gas is compared to natural gas. Recommendations for reducing mechanical and corrosion problems are presented as well as conclusions presented as well as conclusions concerning the practical use of the inert generator.

Introduction

Testing the adequacy of the cap rock to contain natural gas in potential gas storage aquifers may be accomplished in several ways. A water pumping test in many cases is sufficient and should be tried first. (Pulse testing is another alternative.) The most positive proof of the cap rock's adequacy positive proof of the cap rock's adequacy is to inject a gas. If, however, the cap rock should be inadequate, natural gas would not be desirable because of the hazardous conditions created by leaks into upper formations. Air should not be used because of the explosive conditions that would exist if natural gas were injected. Bulk storage facilities would make the purchase of an inert gas rather expensive. The use of an inert gas generator would seem to be the most realistic means of testing the field without risking the potential hazards of natural-gas, should it leak. Inert gas generation is not new. The first patent for an inert gas machine was applied for in 1911. Since that time, many types of inert gas generators have been built and used for various application throughout the industry. (Examples: gas re-pressurization, gas lift, well drilling, etc.) As early as 1924, a plant was built to produce inert gas from a mixture of boiler stack gas and engine exhaust. This project failed because of corrosion problems. In 1949, Pan American built a re-pressurization Pan American built a re-pressurization plant in Wyoming's Elk Basin. This plant in Wyoming's Elk Basin. This project developed severe corrosion problems project developed severe corrosion problems in the early stages. Over the years, costly maintenance and repairs have reduced corrosion to a workable level.

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