CO2 INJECTION INTO CH4 HYDRATE RESERVOIRS: QUANTIFYING CONTROLS OF MICRO-SCALE PROCESSES
Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 11:48 AM
The exchangeability of methane for carbon dioxide in gas hydrates opens the possibility of producing emission-neutral hydrocarbon energy. Recent field tests have shown that the production of natural gas from gas hydrates is feasible via injection of carbon dioxide into sandy, methane-hydrate-bearing sediment strata. Industrial-scale application of this method requires identification of thermo- and fluid-dynamic as well as kinetic controls on methane yield from and carbon dioxide retention within the reservoir. Extraction of gas via injection of carbon dioxide into the hydrate reservoir triggers a number of macroscopic effects, which are revealed for example by changes of the hydraulic conductivity and geomechanical stability. Thus far, due to analytical limitations, localized reactions and fluid-flow phenomena held responsible for these effects remain unresolved on the microscale (1 µm – 1 mm) and at near-natural reservoir conditions. We address this deficit by showing results from high-resolution, two-dimensional Raman spectroscopy mappings of an artificial hydrate reservoir during carbon dioxide injection under realistic reservoir conditions. The experiments allow us to resolve hydrate conversion rate and efficiency as well as activation of fluid pathways in space and time and their effect on methane yield, carbon-dioxide retention and hydraulic conductivity of the reservoir. We hypothesize that the conversion of single hydrate grains is a diffusion-controlled process which starts at the grain surface before continuing into the grain interior and show that the conversion can be modeled simply by using published permeation coefficients for CO2 and CH4 in hydrate and grain size as only input parameters.