Numerical studies of gas composition differentiation during gas hydrate formation: An application to the IODP site 1327

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Cao Yuncheng, SCSIO South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Acaademy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China and Duofu Chen, GIG Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China
Structure I methane hydrate is the most common type found in nature. Structure I gas hydrate has two types of cages that gas molecules may be hosted. Because the larger cavities filled with ethane would be more stable than those filled by methane (Sloan and Koh, 2008), the larger cavities preferentially enclose ethane during the formation of gas hydrate, which results gas composition differentiation during gas hydrate formation.

Based on the principle of gas composition differentiation, we establish a numerical model for the gas composition differentiation between methane and ethane during gas hydrate accumulation and applied the model to IODP site 1327. The simulation shows that the gas composition differentiation only occurs at the interval where gas hydrate presents. The lowest methane/ethane (C1/C2) point indicates the bottom of hydrate zone, and the composition differentiation produces the upward increase of C1/C2 within the gas hydrate zone. The C1/C2 reaches the largest value at the top occurrence of gas hydrate and keeps relative stable above the top occurrence of gas hydrate. The top and bottom occurrence of gas hydrate indicated by the inflection points of the C1/C2 profile are similar to those indicated by the negative anomalies of measured chloride concentrations (Riedel et al., 2006). By comparing with the measured C1/C2, the differentiation coefficient (kh=Xe,h/Xe,w, Xe,h is C1/C2 of the formed gas hydrate, Xe,w [mol/kg] is the concentration of ethane in water ) is calculated to 70 kg/mol. The top occurrence of gas hydrate indicated by the C1/C2 profile also confines the water flux to be 0.4kg/m2-year, similar to that confined by the chloride profile. To best fit the measured C1/C2 profile, the methane flux is calculated to 0.04mol/m2-year. Therefore, the C1/Cprofile could be used to obtain the gas hydrate accumulation information.

Acknowledgments:This study was supported by Chinese National Science Foundation (grant 41303044, 91228206 )


Riedel M, Collett T S, Malone, M J, et al. (2006), Proceedings of the Integrated Ocean Drilling, Volume 311.

Sloan D E, Koh C A. (2008), Clathrate Hydrates of Natural Gases. Third edition. CRC Press, New York,USA