American Chemical Society
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Numerical Predictions of Experimentally Observed Methane Hydrate Dissociation and Reformation in Sandstone

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-12-17, 04:36 authored by Knut A. Birkedal, C. Matt Freeman, George J. Moridis, Arne Graue
Numerical tools are essential for the prediction and evaluation of conventional hydrocarbon reservoir performance. Gas hydrates represent a vast natural resource with a significant energy potential. The numerical codes/tools describing processes involved during the dissociation (induced by several methods) for gas production from hydrates are powerful, but they need validation by comparison to empirical data to instill confidence in their predictions. In this study, we successfully reproduce experimental data of hydrate dissociation using the TOUGH+HYDRATE (T+H) code. Methane (CH4) hydrate growth and dissociation in partially water- and gas-saturated Bentheim sandstone were spatially resolved using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which allows the in situ monitoring of saturation and phase transitions. All the CH4 that had been initially converted to gas hydrate was recovered during depressurization. The physical system was reproduced numerically, using both a simplified 2D model and a 3D grid involving complex Voronoi elements. We modeled dissociation using both the equilibrium and the kinetic reaction options in T+H, and we used a range of kinetic parameters for sensitivity analysis and curve fitting. We successfully reproduced the experimental results, which confirmed the empirical data that demonstrated that heat transport was the limiting factor during dissociation. Dissociation was more sensitive to kinetic parameters than anticipated, which indicates that kinetic limitations may be important in short-term core studies and a necessity in such simulations. This is the first time T+H has been used to predict empirical nonmonotonic dissociation behavior, where hydrate dissociation and reformation occurred as parallel events.