Nitrogen Operator Spotlight

Cool? Very.

Nitrogen Operators set up, operate and maintain equipment used to generate and supply nitrogen at well sites. With a white haze of fog swimming across the equipment they cool the nitrogen to a frosty -197 °C in preparation for a variety of operations.

What a typical day looks like:

A Nitrogen Operator starts with the physical work of rigging up and attaching the nitrogen equipment. After that, the job is essentially just pressing a button. However, that job depends on one important factor: the flow rate of the nitrogen.

Pumping nitrogen at a low rate is generally used for purging, which uses nitrogen to remove fluids, gases or debris from an enclosed system, like a pipeline, refinery or a well using coiled tubing. Low-rate jobs might also be used to stimulate a new well to start producing.

For high-rate nitrogen jobs, nitrogen is pumped directly into the well casing to break open the formation. A Nitrogen Operator might use nitrogen exclusively or combine nitrogen with other fracking fluids to create a foamy mixture that propels sand into the well.

Employed by private well services companies or large oil and gas companies, Nitrogen Operators drive from site to site, working longer shifts for sustained periods in remote locations.

The kinds of problems Nitrogen Operators solve at work:

Nitrogen Operators must stay alert and watch the gauges on the dangerously cold nitrogen, especially during night shifts. Even though it’s inert, nitrogen can be dangerous if not handled properly. A Nitrogen Operator knows how to handle this substance and makes their safety and the safety of their team a top priority.

Skills used most on the job:

Mechanical skills are essential for Nitrogen Operators. They are able to fix the hydraulics and minor mechanical issues associated with cryogenic breakdowns. Above all things, Nitrogen Operators need to be able to keep their cool. They are clear-headed and always have their wits about them when they are setting up and operating the nitrogen equipment.

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