The primary goals of this research effort are to develop a truly coupled numerical model that addresses the complex thermo-hydro-chemo-mechanical (THCM) phenomena in hydrate-bearing sediments through incorporation of proven constitutive relationships that also satisfy fundamental conservation principles (conservation of mass, energy, and momentum) and apply that model to analyze available data and further enhance understanding of the behavior of hydrate-bearing sediments in the context of field production experiments and the development of hydrate production approaches and technology.
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Atlanta, GA
The experimental study of hydrate-bearing sediments has been hindered by the very low solubility of methane in water (lab testing); the complexity of synthesizing hydrate-bearing sediments in the lab that are representative of those found in nature; and inherent sampling difficulties associated with depressurization and thermal changes to hydrate-containing samples during core extraction. This situation has prompted the need for more decisive developments in numerical modeling in order to help advance our understanding of hydrate-bearing sediments and investigate/optimize production strategies and their implications.
Project personnel will undertake an in-depth review of the properties of hydrate-bearing sediments and use the results to update a numerical model capable of simulating the complex thermo-hydro-chemo-mechanical behaviors of hydrate-bearing sediments. This updated model will be corroborated through the use of close-form analytical solutions and then used to analyze data available from past production related hydrate field experiments and develop optimized approaches for potential future field production studies in marine and permafrost environments.
Results will provide critical insights into the behavior of gas hydrate-bearing sediments caused by THCM perturbations such as those that can be triggered by environmental changes or activities aimed at the production of gas from hydrates. The results of the effort will assist in the development of optimal, technically viable strategies for methane production in both marine and permafrost settings and improve our understanding of the potential reaction of hydrate systems to natural or induced changes in their environment.
Research efforts under the project were completed in September 2016 and project results are documented in a final scientific/technical report which can be accessed from the “Additional Information” section below.
Planned Total Funding (through all project phases): $485,700
Final Project Report [PDF-4.54MB] February 2017