DOE/NETL Methane Hydrate Projects
Hydrate-Bearing Clayey Sediments: Morphology, Physical Properties, Production and Engineering/Geological Implications Last Reviewed 6/17/2014

DE-FE0009897

Goal
The primary goal of this research effort is to contribute to an in-depth understanding of hydrate bearing, fine-grained sediments with a focus on investigation of their potential for hydrate-based gas production.

Performer
Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Atlanta GA

Background
Fine-grained sediments host more than 90 percent of global gas hydrate accumulation. Yet hydrate formation in clay-dominated sediments is less understood and characterized than other types of hydrate occurrence. There is an inadequate understanding of hydrate formation mechanisms, segregation structures, hydrate-lense topology, system connectivity, and physical macro-scale properties of clay-dominated hydrate-bearing sediments. This situation hinders further analyses of the global carbon budget as well as engineering challenges/solutions related to hydrate instability and production.

Research on hydrate-bearing clay-dominated sediments is needed to enhance fundamental understanding of hydrate formation and resulting morphology, develop laboratory techniques to emulate “natural” hydrate formations in this type of material, develop and assess analytical tools to predict physical properties, evaluate engineering and geological implications, and advance understanding of the potential for gas production from these sediments.

Impact
The project will add significant data and knowledge to the body of hydrates science. An enhanced understanding of the occurrence and behavior of hydrates in clay-dominated sediments will inform discussions of both the role of hydrates in the global carbon cycle and the potential feasibility of production from a portion of the hydrate resource base not currently considered producible.

Accomplishments

  • Completed thermal analysis of aluminum X-ray CT pressure vessel in an effort to optimize the insulation system used for system experiments
  • Completed initial analysis of effective medium properties of hydrate-bearing sediments to attempt to capture the difference in these properties between hydrate formation in coarse vs. fine grained sediments
  • Demonstrated capability for carbon dioxide (CO2) hydrate formation in clay and tetrahydrofuran (THF) hydrate formation in clay paste with concurrent X-ray CT scanning
  • Completed installation and initial testing of new X-ray CT system to be used in lab visualization experiments
  • Completed literature review of hydrate topology differences among Indian, Korean, and U.S. sites and analyses focused on hydrate morphology in fine-grained sediment and phase boundary conditions for stable/efficient hydrate exchange
  • Initiated study on gas replacement as a potential production mechanism to reduce reservoir deformation and closure in fine-grained systems

Current Status (June 2014)
Researchers will work to design and fabricate two new Micro-CT system pressure chambers during the next project quarter, which will permit hydrate formation experiments to be performed in three chambers simultaneously. Research will also involve forming methane hydrates in fine-grained sediments via different methods, developing advanced numerical solutions of large-strain stiffness and strength for various hydrate morphologies, and experimentally measuring the physical properties of hydrate-bearing fine-grained sediments.

Project Start: October 1, 2012
Project End: September 30, 2016

Project Cost Information:
Planned Total Funding: $810,167
DOE Contribution: $627,393
Cost Share Contribution: $182,774

Contact Information:
NETL – Richard Baker (Richard.Baker@netl.doe.gov or 304-285-4714)
Georgia Tech – Carlos Santamarina (Carlos.Santamarina@ce.gatech.edu)

Additional Information

Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-5.00MB] April - June, 2014

Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-2.51MB] January - March, 2014

Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-2.24MB] October - December, 2013

Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-1.08MB] July - September, 2013

Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-899KB] April - June, 2013

Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-1.13MB] January - March, 2013

Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-1.13MB] October - December, 2012

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