A multi-scale experimental investigation of flow properties in coarse-grained hydrate reservoirs during production
This project, also known as Hydrate Production Properties (HP3), is a joint effort between UTIG, DGS, and PGE. It is funded by the Department of Energy (DE-FE0028967) over a period of 3 years (October 1, 2016 to Sept 30, 2019). The lead primary investigator (PI) is Peter Flemings. There are four major areas of discovery in the project, led by each partner:
Area 1. Relative Permeability of Methane Hydrate Reservoirs to Gas and Water
PIs: Hugh Daigle (PGE) and David Dicarlo (PGE); Graduate student: Zachary Murphy
Area 2. Depressurization of Methane Hydrate
PI: Peter Flemings (UTIG); Postdoc: Steve Phillips
Area 3. CT Observations of Methane Hydrate Systems
PI: D Nicolas Espinoza (PGE) and Nicola Tisato (DGS); Postdoc: Xiongyu Jasper Chen
Area 4 Micro-Raman Observations of Methane Hydrate Systems
PI: Jung-Fu (Afu) Lin (DGS); Graduate Student: Skyler Dong
The goals of this project are to provide a systematic understanding of permeability, relative permeability and dissipation behavior in coarse-grained methane hydrate – sediment reservoirs. The results will inform reservoir simulation efforts, which will be critical to determining the viability of the coarse-grained hydrate reservoir as an energy resource. We will perform our investigation at the macro- (core) and micro- (pore) scale.
At the macro- (core) scale, we will: 1) measure the relative permeability of the hydrate reservoir to gas and water flow in the presence of hydrate at various pore saturations; and 2) depressurize the hydrate reservoir at a range of initial saturations to observe mass transport and at what time scale local equilibrium describes disassociation behavior. Simultaneously, at the micro (pore) scale, we will 1) use micro-CT to observe the habit of the hydrate, gas, and water phases within the pore space at a range of initial saturations and then image the evolution of these habits during dissociation, and 2) use optical micro-Raman Spectroscopy to images phases and molecules/salinity present both at initial saturations and at stages of dissociation. We will use our micro-scale observations to inform our macro-scale observations of relative permeability and dissipation behavior.
In Phase 1, we will first demonstrate our ability to systematically manufacture sand-pack hydrate samples at a range of hydrate saturations. We will then 1) measure the permeability of the hydrate-saturated sand pack to flow of a single phase (water or gas), 2) depressurize the hydrate-saturated sand packs and observe the kinetic (time-dependent) behavior. Simultaneously we will build a micro-CT pressure container and a micro-Raman Spectroscopy chamber to image the pore-scale habit, phases, and pore fluid chemistry of our sand-pack hydrate samples. We will then make these observations on our hydrate-saturated sand-packs.
In Phase 2, we will measure relative permeability to water and gas in the presence of hydrate in sand-packs using co-injection of water and gas. We will also extend our measurements from sand-pack models of hydrate to observations of actual Gulf of Mexico material. We will also measure relative permeability in intact samples to be recovered from the upcoming Gulf of Mexico hydrate coring expedition. We will also perform dissipation experiments on intact Gulf of Mexico pressure cores. At the micro-scale we will perform micro-Raman and micro-Ct imaging on hydrate samples composed from Gulf of Mexico sediment.