|NETL-ORD ? Experimental Analysis and Characterization of Hydrate-Bearing Sediments to Support Numerical Reservoir Simulations||Last Reviewed 3/18/2013|
The primary goals of this research are to (1) provide hydrate-relevant, experimentally measured key physical parameters?including thermal, hydrological, and geomechanical properties?as inputs to numerical simulations and (2) investigate alternative methods and scenarios for gas production to improve production efficiency and mitigate potential hazards.
Yongkoo Seol ? NETL Office of Research & Development
Eilis Rosenbaum ? NETL Office of Research & Development
Jeong Choi ? Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
Jongho Cha- Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
National Energy Technology Laboratory - Morgantown, West Virginia
Research will be lab-based and focused on establishing key physical parameters for hydrate and/or hydrate-bearing sediments and investigating hydrate system behaviors in response to production-relevant stimuli. Specific activities will be focused on the following four areas:
Specific activities will be focused around the following four areas:
1) Thermal property measurements under in-situ conditions
Thermal conductivity and diffusivity data will be measured under in situ (hydrate-relevant) pressures and temperatures using laboratory synthesized cores of various hydrate saturations. An NETL developed thermal conductivity sensor that minimizes sample disturbance will be used to measure thermal properties in synthesized cores of various hydrate saturations. Existing NETL equipment, facilities, and pressure vessels will be used to measure laboratory prepared samples.
2) Geomechanical strength, deformability and seismic properties of hydrate bearing sediments and numerical analysis
Laboratory experiments will be conducted to assess the impacts of hydrate formation and dissociation on the mechanical properties and stability of unconsolidated sediments, and to provide information for the enhancement/development of computational models . An initial assessment of current constraints on geomechanical (mechanical stiffness, shear strength, and time-dependent behavior), geophysical (seismic velocity and attenuation), and index properties (porosity, permeability, gas saturation/distribution, and hydrate saturation/distribution) will be performed to determine which of these are the most critical for the planned numerical simulation activities. An experimental plan to acquire the needed data will be developed based on that initial assessment by using laboratory synthesized samples for different hydrate formation modes and for lithologies representative of sealing formations. A constitutive model will be developed based on the obtained property data to describe the experimentally-observed stress-strain behavior as a function of index properties. All experimental data and their relationships will be incorporated into the Thermal-Hydrological-Mechanical (THM) model and the Finite Element Heat and Mass (FEHM) numerical simulator code to simulate the impact of large-scale gas production from hydrate reservoirs on geomechanical stability of hydrate-bearing sediments and seal formation.
3) Experimental characterization of CO2-CH4 hydrate conversion
Field test results from the recently completed ConocoPhillips hydrate gas exchange test are expected to identify experimental validation and support needs to improve interpretation and understanding of the complicated field data. Laboratory experimental support will be provided through this effort and is expected to include a study on the feasibility of injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) to replace methane (CH4) in natural reservoirs and kinetic measurements of the exchange processes. The experiments will examine the (1) effect of free water and mixed gases on CO2 or mixed gas hydrate formation and (2) kinetic mechanisms of CO2-CH4 hydrate conversion and CH4 hydrate reformation during exchange within the deep CH4 hydrate stability zone. Multiple experiments will consider the different materials for porous media, various composition of injection gases (e.g., CH4, CO2, N2), and permeability and grain size heterogeneity to explore the impacts of these conditions on CO2-CH4 exchange efficiency.
4) Methane production from laboratory-formed hydrate bearing sands simulating in situ gas production conditions
Laboratory core-scale gas production tests will be conducted that mimic in situ (hydrate-relevant) conditions for gas production using medical and industrial CT scanners for experimental visualization. Tests will replicate in situ gas production conditions through the use of water-backed constant pressure boundary conditions and predetermined differences in pressure between two boundary conditions, which will represent a depressurization-based production approach. Most experimental simulations of gas production to date have been conducted under closed boundary conditions on one end and varying pressure differential. Wave speed measurements taken during hydrate formation and dissociation will be analyzed and integrated with tomographic images to investigate modeling issues regarding hydrate morphology and heterogeneity.
Core-scale CO2 formation injection rates and CO2-CH4 exchange experiments will also be performed. Mixed gas injection (CO2-N2) will be performed to compare the effectiveness of individual gases on produced CH4 . The experimental activities will be performed in conjunction with numerical simulations in an effort to crosscheck and validate the mixed Hydrate Reservoir Simulation (HydrateResSim or HRS) code.
Thermal and geomechanical properties are currently predominantly measured or estimated using non-hydrate bearing sediment properties. Properties obtained using actual hydrate-bearing sediments will provide important input into hydrate property databases and contribute to improvement of reservoir-scale production modeling predictions of system behavior.
The gas hydrate laboratory located in Morgantown is equipped with an experiment station within which gas hydrates can be formed and dissociated under various conditions relevant to hydrate phase stability. The laboratory is situated in proximity to the X-ray CT scanner facility. Various types of (CT scannable) pressure vessels can be connected to the experimental station.
Current Status (March 2013)
A literature review on thermal, geomechanical, and index l properties is being conducted to determine which parameters are least-well constrained and most critical for the planned numerical simulation activities. Various experimental setups, including those necessary for gas exchange tests and the thermal conductivity test, geomechanics test, and gas production test, are in the final fabrication stage. Each test will be linked with a CT scanner with resolutions dependent on the specific requirements of each test. Additionally, a Raman spectrometer will be installed on the reaction vessel (optical observation) to identify gas consumption and generation during gas exchange tests.
Activities initiated in October 2012
DOE Contribution: FY12: ~$270,000
NETL ? ORD: Yongkoo Seol (Yongkoo.Seol@netl.doe.gov or 304-285-2029)
In addition to the information provided above, a listing of any available project related publications and presentations, as well as a listing of funded students, will be included in the Methane Hydrate Program Bibliography.