Advanced Simulation and Experiments of Strongly Couple Geomechanics and Flow for Gas Hydrate Deposits: Validation and Field Application Last Reviewed May 2017


The objectives of the proposed research is to investigate geomechanical responses induced by depressurization on gas hydrate bearing reservoirs, both in marine and permafrost-associated settings, through integrated experimental and numerical simulation studies. Numerical evaluation of two well-characterized sites will be performed: one based on the deposits observed at the Ulleung basin UBGH2-6 site; and the other based from the West End Prudhoe Bay.

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
The Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM), Daejeon, South Korea.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA (through associated Field Work Proposal FWP-00003997)

While all gas hydrate numerical simulation remains in an early stage due to limited available field data for validation and calibration, the ability to numerically simulate the thermodynamic and hydraulic response of gas hydrate reservoirs to depressurization-based production is relatively well-advanced. However, the unconsolidated nature and potential high pressure drawdowns required indicate that any effort to predict reservoir performance must incorporate geomechanical phenomena as well.

This project will feature a collaboration with the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM). KIGAM has constructed world-class, multi-scale reactors and has performed extensive experimental studies on the geomechanical phenomena in gas hydrate bearing sediments. These prior findings will be further evaluated at KIGAM and tested by new experimental studies at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Texas A&M (TAMU) that are designed capture complex coupled physical processes between flow and geomechanics, such as sand production, capillarity, and formation of secondary hydrates.

The project will develop an advanced coupled geomechanics and non-isothermal flow simulator to better account for potential large deformations and strong capillarity. This new code will be validated using data from the literature, from previous work by the project team, and with the results of newly conducted experimental studies. The developed simulator will be available for future planning of gas hydrate production tests, and will be valuable in the determination of well designs and test procedures, and test result evaluation.

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)

  • The Project Management Plan was submitted and approved.
  • New mathematical formulations for theoretical treatment of capillary hysteresis have been shown to be mathematically sound and numerically stable.
  • New experimental systems have been developed at TAMU with the goal of studying secondary hydrate formation and capillary pressure changes during dissociation.

Current Status (May 2017)

Project Start: October 1, 2016
Project End: September 30, 2019

Project Cost Information
DOE Contribution: $506,415.00
Performer Contribution: $733,832.00

Contact Information:
NETL – Ray Boswell, Project Manager ( or 412-386-7614)
Texas A&M University – Dr. Jihoon Kim, Principal Investigator (

Additional Information:

Quarterly Research Performance Progress Report [PDF] July - September, 2017

Quarterly Research Performance Progress Report [PDF] April - June, 2017

Quarterly Research Performance Progress Report [PDF] January - March, 2017