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Gas hydrates and its production via depressurization

Key words: gas hydrates, solid-ice, production, depressurization method.

Abstract: ethane, propane and carbon dioxide. The

water molecules are called host molecules.
Gas hydrates, the solid-ice like They are formed at specific conditions, at
compounds in which gas molecules are lower temperature and high pressure. The gas
caged within the lattice structure of ice hydrate deposits can be found in two
crystal. They are stable at high pressure different types of geological settings: in
and low temperature. permafrost region and in deep oceanic
The study focuses on gas hydrates and its sediments.(1)
production from gas hydrates reservoirs
via depressurization technique as an History:
effective production strategy.
Depressurization is the most effective and In 1810, Sir Humphrey Davy noticed that solid
economic production technique of gas was formed when chlorine gas (then called
hydrates among others i.e. thermal oxymuriatic gas) and water combined above
injection and chemical stimulation. ice point and first discovered the gas
Depressurization method is concern with hydrates. Sir Humphrey Davy first document
reduction of reservoir pressure by the natural gas hydrates formation in 1811. In
mechanical means which dissociates the 1788, Joseph Priestly also performed an
gas hydrates and produces gas. The experiment in his Birmingham laboratory in
numerical studies and field level which he observed that the compounds are
verification of depressurization methods formed (clathrate compound) from freezing
for example gas production test at Mallik vitriolic air (SO2).Priestly might have
site are discussed. Production test discovered gas hydrates earlier, but there was
discussed are Mallik 2007 test, Mallik no valid record of experiment by Priestly
2008 test and Nankai offshore production which results in uncertainty of earlier
test. discovery.(1)
The study reveals that the
depressurization is more productive and Potential Future Energy Resource:
effective. It can be use as the primary
Natural gas hydrates contain the massive
production method. storehouse of natural gas and holds a major
potential that can be used as future energy
resource. The 1 m3 of hydrate can hold almost
Natural gas hydrate, the solid crystalline and 184m3 volume of gas at standard conditions.
ice like compound which consist of H2O and Large value of gas hydrate deposits exist but
gases. In gas hydrates the gas molecules are these values are not certain. These deposits
entrapped in water cavities that form cage contain about 0.21015 1201015 m3 of
like crystal structure of hydrogen bonded methane at STP. The energy in these hydrates
water molecules. The gas molecules which are deposits is greater than other fossil fuel
trapped in between water molecules are deposits. (1) More than 220 gas hydrates
referred as guest molecules such as methane, deposits have been discovered in the globe.(2)
Production Techniques: found in high quality sandstone reservoir in
marine environment. Due to their existence in
In order to get production from natural gas deep water they are technically challenging to
hydrate reservoirs three methods are produce and have high cost of production as
introduced, so far. These methods include: the deposits found in Gulf of Mexico near an
oil and gas infrastructure. The next resources
1. Depressurization: dissociate the gas
in pyramid are those enclosed in marine muds
hydrates by reducing the pressure of
and shales. Huge amount of gas hydrates
local formations.
saturation exist in fractures. The extraction of
2. Thermal stimulation: increase the
gas hydrates from these resources will be
formation temperature to produce
more problematic due to their low
permeability, production from these
3. Inhibitor injection: the inhibitor is
accumulation require technology
injected which cause a change in
advancement. The gas hydrates resources,
equilibrium condition. (1)
occurs as the mounds that exist on sea floor
and spread out to unknown depth are next in
Type of Gas Hydrates Deposits:
the pyramid. Production from these deposits
The gas hydrates resources are sketched is not easy due to their confined size and the
through gas hydrate resource pyramid. The disturbance of marine-ecosystem during
resource pyramid delineates the estimated production. At the bottom of pyramid are
total quantity of gas in place and the gas resources in which huge amount of gas
hydrates resources which are feasible for hydrates are relatively uniformly divide
production. Those hydrates resources through large volumes of fined grained and un
consider to be easily produced are positioned deformed sediment at low saturation. Huge
at the top of the pyramid and those which are amount of gas hydrates over the globe are
most challenging and difficult to produce are placed within these types of resources but
positioned at the base of pyramid. (3) more progress in technology is require to get
methane from these accumulation.(3)
The gas hydrates under existing Arctic infra- On the basis of properties and behavior of gas
structure are highly saturated with gas hydrates, the hydrate deposits are classified
hydrates in high quality reservoir rocks. into three types:
Currently, the amount of these deposits in the
North Slope of Alaska is approximately 33 Class 1 accumulation: Class 1 deposits consist
Trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of OGIP. The next type of two sections in which the multiple phase
of the hydrate resources are found under zones with free gas and water are lying below
same geological setting on North Slope but far gas hydrates layer. In these deposits, the
from the existing infrastructure. These hydrates stability zone and the bottom of gas
deposits contain large amount of gas hydrates layer.
hydrates, distinctly trapped in the high quality
Class 2 accumulation: Class 2 accumulations
reservoirs (sandstone). The total amount of
are characterized as deposits which
gas hydrates deposits in North Slope
accommodates two sections, the hydrate
estimated by the USGS are 590 Tcf. In the
layer is underlying the mobile water section
pyramid, the upcoming resources are of those
without gas.
which contain average saturation (medium or
large amount) of gas hydrates, which are
Class 3 deposits: The class 3 deposits are fluid from the well, the pressure applied at
those in which underlying gas or liquid the bottom of wellbore decreases. Thus
sections are not present, they only contain pressure gradient will establish in between
single hydrate section.4 wellbore and reservoir. The pressure change
is transmit to reservoir, which is in contact
Depressurization: with wellbore at the bottom of well through
perforated casing and causes the gas hydrates
On the basis of production techniques:
to dissociates. (6)
depressurization is considered as most cost-
effective and worthwhile production method. Numerical Studies:
The thermal dissociation method and
inhibitor method are costly and have For the production of gas hydrates several
restricted effectiveness.5 numerical studies (4), (9), (10), (11) have been
conducted. The numerical studies of
In depressurization technique the gas
production potential of gas hydrates (4) show
hydrates are dissociated by dropping the
that application of depressurization technique
reservoir pressure. Depressurization induced
reduces from Class 1 to class 3 gas hydrates
dissociation of gas hydrates can be achieved
deposits and besides that the application of
by direct fall down of reservoir pressure or it
thermal stimulation method rises. The Class 1
can achieved by pressure fall down in
gas hydrates deposits are the most promising
overlying or underlying zones. These layers or
and favorable targets for production by using
zones are in contact with gas hydrate
simple depressurization technique.(4) These
reservoirs and permits variation of pressure to
deposits can produce huge amount of gas at
spread naturally throughout the reservoir.
elevated rate by virtue of depressurization
Initially, it was suspected that gas hydrate
techniques.(11) The production rate of CH4
reservoir were frozen solid no free fluid
release is initially high, increases with time
phases were present in gas hydrates reservoir
and later on declines.(11) The class 1 deposits
that could allow the pressure change to
produce small amount of water at the time of
transmit to reservoir.6 However the
production.(11) The class 2 gas hydrates
laboratory experiment7, 8shows that small
deposits production strategy employs the
amount of water is always present in reservoir
unification of two techniques:
which causes gas hydrates to dissociate as
depressurization method and thermal
pressure change is transmit to reservoir. The
stimulation method.(4) In these deposits
effective permeability of water is greater than
depressurization method can gives off huge
greater than effective permeability of gas.
amount of water, to avoid water production
The conventional oil and gas method can be the combination of two techniques
used to attain depressurization by perforation (depressurization method and thermal
of production well casing in target zone and stimulation method) are used in multi-well
by removing the fluid from the well in system.(4) The class 3 gas hydrates deposits
controlled manner, as fluid is filled within the does not contain permeable zone and these
well from top to bottom. The weight exerts by deposits have low effective permeability due
fluid column, prevents the reservoir fluids to which the depressurization technique could
(water, oil, gas) to flow into the well bore in not be applied to such extent as in class 1 and
uncontrolled manner due to the reservoir class 2, thermal stimulation method can
pressure. By removing the small amount of mostly be exercised to get production from
these deposits. (4) The studies (4) shows that depressurization is the appropriate
depressurization technique can be almost mechanism for the production of gas
applied in all of three deposits to extract gas hydrates. (12)
from gas hydrates.
Nankai Trough Offshore Production Test:
Field Tests: Under the supervision of JOGMEC production
Mallik Site Gas Hydrates Production: test from offshore gas hydrates deposits was
taken at the Eastern Nankai Trough, Japan, in
In the year 2002, the syndicate of Scientists March 2013. It was the world maiden offshore
and Engineers belonging to five countries gas hydrates production test. During the 6
conduct a maiden production test. The gas days of test about 119,500 m3 of gas were
was extract from gas hydrates reservoir by produced by using the depressurization
using the research well JAPEX/JNOC/GSC et al. technique. The outcomes of the test
Mallik 5L-38 located at Mackenzie Delta, confirmed that dissociation of gas hydrate in
Canada. Thermal stimulation method was marine deposits can be achieved by using
utilized by injecting hot fluid in the well in- depressurization technique. (13)
order to achieve dissociation and produce gas,
about 470 m3 of gas was transported to the Conclusion:
surface. The second production test on same
Mallik site was carried out by JOGMEC and The study concluded that:
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) in 2007. 1) Large amount of gas hydrates resources
Depressurization technique was used to are present all over the world.
produced gas from the well drilled for 1998 2) These resources contains vast amount of
research (JAPAN/JNOC/GSC Mallik 2L-38), well energy which can be used as the future
was used after its amendment and energy source, if they are economically
reconstruction of facilities. The test began on produced.
2 April but the production was interrupted by 3) Production of gas hydrates is difficult due
the formation sand production (disturb to the environment in which they are
continuous pumping to induce formed.
depressurization) along fluid in the borehole. 4) In-order to produced gas hydrates from
The operation only continued for 60 hours as Class1 deposits the depressurization
a result at least 830 m3 of gas was collected in method is correct approach.
12.5 hours of test. (12) 5) Production of gas from Class2 deposits
Another gas hydrates production test was involves both depressurization and
conducted in 2008 by using same well (Mallik thermal stimulation method.
2L-38), this time the sand control equipment 6) In class 3 hydrates the application of
was installed in well and further preventive depressurization method is limited and
were taken in-order come through the mostly thermal stimulation method can
problems that occur in 2007 production test. used to extract gas.
Continuous six days or 139 hours production 7) The field production test study shows that
was taken which provide more or less 13,000 depressurization is the correct approach
m3 of gas after dissociation of gas hydrate in towards the production of gas from gas
the reservoir by using depressurization hydrates deposits.
technique. The result of the test shows that
8) Depressurization is more effective and
prolific technique and it can be used as a
chief production strategy.