Coupled THCM Modeling of Gas Hydrate Bearing Sediments

Monday, 15 December 2014
Marcelo J Sanchez1, Xuerui Gai Sr.1, Ajay Shastri1 and J Carlos Santamarina2, (1)Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, United States, (2)Georgia Institute of Technology Main Campus, Civil and Enviromental Engineering, Atlanta, GA, United States
Gas hydrates are crystalline clathrate compounds made of water and a low molecular gas, like methane. Gas hydrates are generally present in oil-producing areas and in permafrost regions. Methane hydrate deposits can lead to large-scale submarine slope failures, blowouts, platform foundation failures, and borehole instability. Gas hydrates constitute also an attractive source of energy as they are estimated to contain very large reserves of methane. Hydrate formation, dissociation and methane production from hydrate bearing sediments are coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical (THM) processes that involve, amongst other, exothermic formation and endothermic dissociation of hydrate and ice phases, mixed fluid flow and large changes in fluid pressure. A comprehensive THM formulation is briefly presented here. Momentum balance, mass balance and energy balance equations take into consideration the interaction among all phases (i.e. solid, liquid, gas, hydrates and ice) and mechanical equilibrium. Constitutive equations describe the intrinsic THM behavior of the sediment. Simulation results conducted for hydrate bearing sediments subjected to boundary conditions highlight the complex interaction among THM processes in hydrate bearing sediments.