In certain shale basins of the United States (such as the Huron), enormous quantities of nitrogen gas are forced at high pressure into the reservoir to create the necessary permeability for prolonged natural gas production. In eastern Kentucky, the lower pressured Huron Shale has responded especially well to nitrogen fracturing treatment, and the continued success of this and other low-pressure shale reservoirs will remain dependent on similar stimulation techniques.
The one critical downside of nitrogen frac stimulations is that nitrogen gas and large quantities of hydrocarbon gases must be flowed back and vented to the atmosphere until the gas quality grades to a level befitting of conventional pipeline sales. This flow-back or 'cleaning up' period can last up to a couple of months, depending on the reservoir. The loss of hydrocarbons during flow-back periods represent a meaningful economic and environmental liability for the producer, and the successful deployment of IACX's mobile Nitrogen Sponge unit will help producers reap the otherwise lost value of vented, nitrogen-laden hydrocarbons while greatly reducing their overall carbon footprint.
Nitrogen frac flow-back applications are especially challenging because of the ever-changing composition of the gas entering the system. After a well is frac'ed with nitrogen and is opened for flow-back, the percentage of nitrogen in the gross gas stream follows a steep gradient downward until most or all of the injected nitrogen is blown back. IACX engineers specifically designed this system to handle such variability in a seamless, easy to operate manner.
IACX CEO, Scott Sears, comments, "This trailer mounted Nitrogen Sponge Unit represents a rare win-win for producers who utilize nitrogen gas for well stimulations. Aside from the considerable economic impact of capturing and selling otherwise lost volumes of valuable hydrocarbons to venting, the environmental implications of eliminating hydrocarbon emissions to the atmosphere is clearly evident. What's more, our Units yield very high recoveries of C3+ hydrocarbons (99+%), which contributes significantly to a project's economics where natural gas liquids (NGLs) are extracted and sold. We look forward to playing a primary role in helping producers reduce carbon emissions while adding considerable cash flows to their bottom line. This mobile application is truly exciting and ground breaking."
IACX Energy is a private, fast growing, Dallas-based natural gas processing company with current operations in Kansas,Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky and Tennessee. Aside from its Nitrogen Sponge technology, IACX offers technology-based solutions for helium extraction and purification from natural gas (Helium Sponge) as well as low pressure CO2 removal from natural gas (CO2 Sponge). All of its processes function at lower volumes and pressures and do not utilize chemicals or other environmentally undesirable materials. IACX Energy was financed in 2006 by Haddington Ventures of Houston(www.hvllc.com). Contact Scott Sears at 972-960-3210 (www.iacx.com).