Impacts of Hydrate Pore Habit on Physical Properties of Hydrate Bearing Sediments

Monday, 15 December 2014
Sheng Dai, Yongkoo Seol and Jeong-Hoon Choi, National Energy Technology Laboratory Morgantown, Morgantown, WV, United States
The physical properties of gas hydrate bearing sediments, to a large extent, are governed by the volume fraction and spatial distribution of the hydrate phase. For sediments containing the same amount of hydrates, their overall physical properties may vary several orders of magnitude depending on hydrate pore habit. We investigate the interplay among hydrate formation methods, hydrate pore habits, and fundamental physical properties of hydrate bearing sediments. We have developed a new method to synthesize noncementing hydrate in sands, a multi-properties characterization chamber to test the hydrate bearing sediments, and pore network models to simulate fluid flow processes in hydrate bearing sediments. We have found that (1) the growth pattern of hydrate crystal in the pore spaces of water saturated sediments is dominated by the relative magnitude of the capillary force (between hydrate crystal and pore fluid) and the skeleton force, which will result in pore-filling or grain-displacing type of hydrate pore character; (2) the existing capillary tube models of water permeability in hydrate bearing sediments are sensitive to pore geometry and hydrate pore habit; and (3) preliminary CT results suggest that hydrate nucleation in partially water saturated sands tends to agglomerate in patches, rather than in an uniformly-distributed contact-cementing morphology. Additional CT results with a small amount of fines (5wt%) and visualization via micro-CT of hydrate pore habits in sediments using different hydrate formation methods will be discussed.