Evaluation of Gas Production Potential of Hydrate Deposits in Alaska North Slope using Reservoir Simulations

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Manish Nandanwar, West Virginia University, Chemical Engineering, Morgantown, WV, United States and Brian J Anderson, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, United States
Over the past few decades, the recognition of the importance of gas hydrates as a potential energy resource has led to more and more exploration of gas hydrate as unconventional source of energy. In 2002, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) started an assessment to conduct a geology-based analysis of the occurrences of gas hydrates within northern Alaska. As a result of this assessment, many potential gas hydrate prospects were identified in the eastern National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPRA) region of Alaska North Slope (ANS) with total gas in-place of about 2 trillion cubic feet. In absence of any field test, reservoir simulation is a powerful tool to predict the behavior of the hydrate reservoir and the amount of gas that can be technically recovered using best suitable gas recovery technique. This work focuses on the advanced evaluation of the gas production potential of hydrate accumulation in Sunlight Peak - one of the promising hydrate fields in eastern NPRA region using reservoir simulations approach, as a part of the USGS gas hydrate development Life Cycle Assessment program.

The main objective of this work is to develop a field scale reservoir model that fully describes the production design and the response of hydrate field. Due to the insufficient data available for this field, the distribution of the reservoir properties (such as porosity, permeability and hydrate saturation) are approximated by correlating the data from Mount Elbert hydrate field to obtain a fully heterogeneous 3D reservoir model. CMG STARS is used as a simulation tool to model multiphase, multicomponent fluid flow and heat transfer in which an equilibrium model of hydrate dissociation was used. Production of the gas from the reservoir is carried out for a period of 30 years using depressurization gas recovery technique. The results in terms of gas and water rate profiles are obtained and the response of the reservoir to pressure and temperature changes due to depressurization and hydrate dissociation over a period of time is studied. A sensitivity analysis study is also performed to study the effect of the reservoir properties and operational parameters on the overall productivity of the reservoir.