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Numerical Simulation of Gas Production from Natural Gas Hydrate


Using a Single Horizontal Well by Depressurization in Qilian
Mountain Permafrost
Xiao-Sen Li,* Bo Yang, Gang Li, and Bo Li
Key Laboratory of Renewable Energy and Gas Hydrate, Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, and Guangzhou Center for Gas
Hydrate Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, Peoples Republic of China, and Graduate University of
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100083, Peoples Republic of China

ABSTRACT: In November 2008, gas hydrate samples were recovered during the scientific expedition conducted in the Qilian
Mountain Permafrost. It is expected that this area will become a strategic area of gas hydrate production in China. However, the
evaluation of the hydrate deposits in the area as a potential energy resource has not been completed. Using numerical simulation
and currently available data from site measurements, we preliminarily estimate the gas production potential of these hydrate
reservoirs. The cumulative volume of the produced CH4 at the well in the early production period (010 years) is more than
50% of the total gas production from the well. The gas hydrate dissociation mainly occurs in the vicinity of the horizontal well
and along a cylindrical interface. There is a ringlike structure of ice around the horizontal well during the gas production process.
With the decrease of the gas production rate, the ice starts to melt from the bottom to the top under the influence of the
geothermal gradient. The sensitivity analysis demonstrates the dependence of production on the intrinsic permeability and the
initial deposit temperature. Economic assessment based on the cumulative volumetric gas production and the gas-to-water
ratio indicates that it is not economically viable to produce gas from this hydrate deposit using single horizontal well by
depressurization.

1. INTRODUCTION be 2.15 106 km2, accounting for 22.4% of its total land areas.
Gas hydrate is a solid crystalline compound in which gas The permafrost zone in Qilian Mountains locates at the northern
molecules occupy the lattices of the crystal structures. Natural margin of the Tibetan Plateau with the area of about 1.0
gas hydrate deposits involve mainly CH4, and occur in the 105 km2, which is mainly composed of mountain permafrost, as
permafrost and in deep ocean sediment, where the necessary well as deep seasonally frozen ground in the valleys or foothills.
conditions of low temperature and high pressure exist for their On November 5, 2008, from the DK-1 scientific drilling well
formation and stability.1 Although there has been no consistent (the geographic coordinates of latitude 3805.575, longitude
effort to map and evaluate this resource on a global scale, 9910.250, elevation 4053 m) conducted by Qilian Mountain
current estimates of gas in place volumes vary widely, possibly Permafrost Gas Hydrate Scientific Drilling Project, the first gas
up to many thousands of trillion cubic feet (TCF) .The hydrate sample was successfully collected in the 133.5135.5 m
attractiveness of natural gas hydrate is further enhanced because depth underneath the site, which marked the breakthrough in
the demand of natural gas as a clean source of energy is rapidly Chinese land-based gas hydrate exploration in the permafrost
increasing in the world. As a result, there has been a marked region.8 The project was constructed by the Institute of Mineral
acceleration of studies in evaluating the technical and economic Resources Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Institute
feasibility of gas production from natural hydrate accumu- of Exploration Techniques, Qinghai No.105 Coal Geological
lations. As early as in 1967, the former Soviet for the first time Exploration Team, and some other units. After that, DK-2, DK-3,
discovered its permafrost gas hydrate in the course of and DK-4 wells were drilled, from May 2009 to September
developing the Messoyakha gas field in the western Siberian.2,3 2009, to the depth of 645.22, 765.01, and 466.65 m, respectively.
In 1972, the researchers in Northwest Eileen State-02 (NWE-2) The location map is shown in Figure 1.
well on the Alaska North Slope confirmed the presence of The current method for natural gas hydrate production is
gas hydrate in the permafrost region. 4 In 1998, the Japanese mainly by changing the phase equilibrium conditions to induce
cooperated with Canada and discovered 37 m depth of hydrate gas hydrate dissociation, including depressurization, thermal
cores when drilling 890952 m in the Mackenzie delta in stimulation, chemical injection, CO2 exchange, and so on.
Canada.5 In 2002, a multicountry collaboration project was Among them, the depressurization is a simple and efficient
launched in the Mackenzie permafrost region in Canada to method for gas hydrate dissociation with great advantages in
carry out short-term production of natural gas hydrate.6 In addi- the economic and environmental aspects. The gas production
tion, gas hydrate studies were carried out in Norways Svalbard
peninsula, Greenland, and other permafrost areas.7 China is the Received: August 29, 2011
worlds third largest country in terms of permafrost areas,3 and Revised: February 14, 2012
there exist large permafrost areas in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Accepted: February 23, 2012
Daxinganling region. The permafrost area in China is estimated to Published: February 23, 2012

2012 American Chemical Society 4424 dx.doi.org/10.1021/ie201940t | Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2012, 51, 44244432
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Figure 1. Location map for the gas hydrate drilling in the permafrost areas in Qilian Mountains in Qinghai Province. Note:8 black box and star
indicate the study area and the drilling area, respectively; the upper inset map shows a zoomed out view of the study area; the lower inset map reveals
a zoomed in view of the drilling area and the locations of the four drilling locations.

Table 1. Physical Properties for the Gas Hydrate Reservoir in the Permafrost Region in Qilian Mountain in Qinghai Province
parameter value parameter value
HBL position below the ground 133 m intrinsic permeability kx = ky = kz 1.0 1015 m2 (=1 md)
HBL thickness ZH 23 m porosity (all formations) 0.30
well position above the HBL base 11.5 m grain density R (all formations) 2000 kg/m3
ZW
initial pressure Pw (at the well) 2.93 MPa composite thermal conductivity kC = kRD + (SA1/2 + SH1/2)(kRW kRD) +
model13 SIkI
initial temperature Tw (at the well) 274.2 K thermal gradient within the frozen 0.013 K/m
layer
initial saturation in the HBL SH = 0.40, SA = 0.60 thermal gradient below the frozen layer 0.028 K/m
gas composition 100% CH4 0.45
permafrost ground temperature 271.56 K Pa0 105 Pa
capillary pressure model23 Pcap = P01[(S*)1/ 1]1 relative permeability model krA = (SA*)n
S* = (SA SirA)/(1 SirA) krG = (SG*)n
SA* = (SA SirA)/(1 SirA)
SG* = (SG SirG)/(1 SirA)
SirA 0.29 n 3.572
SirG 0.05 SirA 0.25

in the Messoyakha Hydrate Gas Field in the northwest of the in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
former Soviet Siberian proved this point.2 In recent years, has extended work begun at the University of Calgary and the
natural gas hydrate simulation research has experienced rapid University of Alaska Fairbanks to apply a commercially available
development. The numerical simulation method can be used to simulator, CMG STARS,11 to model production from gas
predict the production potential for the gas hydrate reservoir. hydrate-bearing reservoirs. National Energy Technology
Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Laboratory (NETL) has released an open-source version of a
the University of Alaska Fairbanks have adopted the multiphase code under the name HydrateResSim,12 which is available at
simulator STOMP to extend its capabilities to consider gas the NETL Web site. This code is based on an earlier version of
hydrates (STOMP-HYD).9 The MH-21 Hydrate Reservoir the TOUGH + Hydrate13 code developed at Lawrence
Simulator (MH-21 HYDRES)10 has been developed by the Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). There are differences
Japan Oil Engineering Co., Ltd. and the University of Tokyo to in the capabilities and applications of these models, and over
study production from gas hydrate deposits. Another group the past five years NETL has led an ongoing international effort
studying Alaska North Slope gas hydrate resource potential as a to compare the predictions of these simulators.14 Based on the
part of the BP Exploration Alaska, Inc. (BPXA) research project previous work,1517 we carried out numerical simulations for
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Figure 2. (a) Schematic of the permafrost hydrate deposit at the DK-3 station in Qilian Mountain in Qinghai Province; (b) grid used in the
simulations.

the marine gas hydrate production by depressurization and


thermal stimulation with either vertical wells or horizontal wells,
and the simulation results indicated that the hydrates dissociated
along cylindrical interfaces around the well, and along horizontal
dissociation interfaces at the top and bottom of the hydrate-
bearing layer (HBL), a general observation is that gas produc-
tion is low and is burdened with significant water production.
However, little literature was reported on the investigation into
the gas hydrate production in the permafrost regions in China.
In this work, we carried out the numerical simulation in the
permafrost gas hydrate production using a single horizontal
well by depressurization in Qilian Mountain in Qinghai
Province. The geological model for the gas hydrate reservoir
is composed of three layers, including the overburden layer
(OB), the hydrate-bearing layer (HBL), and the underburden
layer (UB), which are all permeable sediments and have the
same flow properties. In addition, the horizontal well is located
in the middle of the HBL.
For this numerical simulation study, we used both the serial Figure 3. Evolution of VP and VR during gas production.
and parallel versions of TOUGH + HYDRATE code.13,1721
This code (hereafter referred to as T + H) can model the
nonisothermal hydration reaction, phase behavior, and flow of transitions, strong nonlinearities, and steep solution surfaces
fluids and heat under conditions typical of natural CH4-hydrate that are typical of hydrate dissociation problems. Because of the
very large computational requirements of this type of problem
deposits in complex geologic media. It includes both an equi-
and the use of very large grids, we used the distributed-memory,
librium and a kinetic model of hydrate formation and dissocia-
massively parallel version of the code22 in the simulations
tion. In the equilibrium model used in this study, when the
discussed in this work.
pressure or temperature of the reservoir falls below the equili-
brium value, the gas hydrate dissociates spontaneously. T + H is
a compositional simulator, and its formulation accounts for heat 2. NUMERICAL MODEL
and up to four mass components (i.e., H2O, CH4, CH4-hydrate, 2.1. Model Parameters and Domain Discretization.
and water-soluble inhibitors such as salts or alcohols) that are This work describes the production simulation for the
partitioned among four possible phases: gas, aqueous liquid, ice, permafrost gas hydrate reservoir around the DK-3 well in
and hydrate. A total of 15 states (phase combinations) can be Qilian Mountain in Qinghai Province. The HBL is 133.0156.0 m
describe by the code, which can handle the phase changes, state below the permafrost ground,8 the initial hydrate saturation SH
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Figure 5. Evolution of MW and RGW during gas production.

Figure 4. Evolution of the percentage of the hydrate dissociation


during gas production.

is 40% (vol), and the initial water saturation SA is 60% (vol). In


this paper, the following physical parameters for gas hydrate
reservoir are used in the simulation:2,3,8 the surface temperature
of the permafrost region T0 is 271.56 K, the geothermal gradient
within the permafrost region G1 is 0.013 K/m, and the geothermal
gradient under the permafrost region G2 is 0.028 K/m. The
thickness D of the frozen layer is calculated to be 122.3 m
according to the following equations given by Jin et al.,
describing the relationship between the geothermal gradient
and the surface temperature:2
T0 + G1D 273.15 = 0 (1)
At a given depth of h (m), the temperature T of the entire
system is then figured out:8
T0 + G1h (h < D)


T= 273.15 (h = D)

G (h D) + 273.15 (h > D) Figure 6. Evolution of spatial distribution of SH during gas production.
2 (2)
Similarly, the pressure P of the entire system is calculated parameters (i.e., n, SirA, and SirG). The specific parameters and
according to the lithostatic or hydrostatic pressure:8 physical properties of the permafrost region in the Qilian
Mountain are shown in Table 1.2,3,1421 After the parameter
Pa0 + 1gh103 (h D) initialization, all the conditions in the system will not change
P=
P + ghD103 + g (h D)103 until there is a disturbance from outside.
a0 1 2 (h > D) (3) Figure 2 gives the geometry and configuration of the hydrate
where Pa0 is the atmospheric pressure (1 atm), g is the gravity reservoir as well as the corresponding simulation grid. It can be
(9.81 m/s2), 1 as the permafrost layer density is determined to seen from Figure 2a that the geologic system consists of three
be 2000 kg/m3 based on the experimental data,3 and 2 is the regions: OB (11.5 z 41 m), HBL (11.5 z 11.5 m),
fluid density under the permafrost layer (1000 kg/m3). and UB (41 z 11.5 m); both OB and UB are permeable
The water salinity is XS = 0.3 The results from the field layers with the thickness of 29.5 m, which earlier calculations
sample indicated that the upper and lower layers consist of proved to be sufficient to provide heat exchange with a hydrate-
the alternation of the mudstone and oil shale.8 As shown in bearing layer during a 30-year production period.18 The
Table 1, the composite thermal conductivity is dependent on simulation region is rectangular with a spacing of 90 m along
the phase saturations. In the composite thermal conductivity the x-axis, and the two boundaries at x = 0 m and x = 45 m are
model, the dry thermal conductivity KRD and the wet thermal adiabatic with no fluids flow. The production well is located in
conductivity KRW are 1.0 and 3.1 W/(mK),15 respectively. In the middle of the HBL (x = 0, z = 0), with the effective radius
this work, the estimations of relative permeabilities of water and rw = 0.1 m. Since the production well is symmetrical, we only
gas are based on the evolving porous medium (EPM) #2 consider the 0 x 45 m regions. Figure 2b describes the
concept,13 as shown in Table 1. They are also dependent on the mesh diagram of the model for the permafrost gas hydrate
phase saturations of water and gas, as well as some other basic reservoir in Qilian Mountain in Qinghai Province. Assuming
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Figure 7. Evolution of spatial distribution of SG during gas production.

uniformity of property along the length of the horizontal well, production well. Earlier studies1821 indicated that depressuri-
only a single unit of the well y = 1 m is needed to be sim- zation is the simplest and most promising hydrate dissociation
ulated in this two-dimensional region of 0 x 45 m, 41 method, and possibly the only practical option in the majority
z 41 m. The entire simulation area is divided into 11 259 of hydrate deposits, because of its technical and economic
grids, including 11 034 active grids. The uppermost and lower- effectiveness. This work reported the simulation results for gas
most layers correspond to the constant pressure and temper- production in the permafrost region in Qilian Mountain using a
ature conditions, and they are inactive boundary elements in all single horizontal well by depressurization.
cases. The x-direction is uniformly divided into 90 grids, with
each grid having a spacing of 0.5 m. The discretization along 3. SIMULATION RESULTS
the z-axis is fine (z 0.5 m) in the HBL, at the top of the UB 3.1. Gas and Water Production. Figure 3 shows the
(z > 22 m), and at the bottom of the OB (z < 22 m), but it evolution of the cumulative volumes of produced CH4 at the
becomes coarser in the bottom of the UB (z < 22 m) and in well (VP) and released CH4 from the hydrate dissociation in the
the top of the OB (z > 22 m). Such fine discretization is reservoir (VR) by depressurization, where the driving force of
important for precisely describing the spatial distributions of the depressurization is Pw = P0 Pw = 0.96P0, 0.4P0, 0.2P0
critical properties and parameters in the domain and obtaining and 0.1P0, respectively, where Pw is the constant bottom-hole
accurate predictions of production.13,14 Due to the intense pressure at which the well operates and P0 = 2.93 MPa is the
phase transition as well as heat and mass transfers in the vicinity initial pressure in the HBL at the elevation of the production
of the wellbore, a very fine discretization was used in this well (i.e., z = 0). The Pw = 0.4P0 case is the reference case in
region. As shown in Figure 2b, taking the production well as the this study.
center, the semicircular area of r 7.5 m is divided into fine It can be seen from Figure 3 that VP and VR in the earlier
spiderweb-like grids. Assuming an equilibrium reaction of production period (010 years) account for more than 50% of
hydrate dissociation, this grid results in 33 777 coupled equations the total gas production from the well and the gas released from
solved simultaneously. hydrate dissociation, respectively. VP and VR increase with Pw.
2.2. Well Design and Method of Production. As shown VR is slightly larger than VP, and the similar result has been
in Figure 2, a single horizontal well located in the middle of the concluded.21 This indicates that the gas produced from the well
HBL with internal effective radius rw = 0.1 m is under constant mainly come from the hydrate dissociation, and the residual of
pressure conditions during depressurization. In the absence of the gas released from the hydrate remains in the reservoir as
hot water injection, the gas flows more easily through the free gas during the whole production process (030 years).
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Figure 8. Evolution of spatial distribution of SI during gas production.

In the reference case, for a well spacing of 90 m and a horizontal main reason for this is that the water produced from the well is
well with the length of 1000 m, VP are 2.65 106 and 2.41 mainly from the original water in the deposit rather than that
106 ST m3 during the first 10 years and the later 20 years, with released from hydrate. As a relative criterion of the production
the corresponding average gas production rate of 0.74 103 performance, the gas-to-water ratio RGW = VP/MW increases
and 0.38 103 ST m3/day, respectively, which are both lower with Pw and decreases over time during gas production using
than 0.3% of the rule-of-thumb for commercially viable production the depressurization method. In the reference case, for a well
rates from gas production wells (3.0 105 ST m3/day). As an spacing of 90 m and a horizontal well with the length of 1000 m,
absolute criterion of production performance, the cumulative MW is calculated to be 1.60 1011 kg in the first 1000 days,
volumes of produced CH4 at the well (VP) indicate that the and RGW is as low as 0.0067 ST m3 of CH4/m3 of H2O, which
current approach is uneconomically profitable as a potential gas indicates that the current approach is uneconomically profitable
production target. from the relative criterion point of view.
Figure 4 shows the percentage of the hydrate dissociated in 3.2. Spatial Distribution of SH, SG, and SI. Figures 68
the entire simulated domain. The simulation results show that show the spatial distribution of the hydrate saturation SH, the
the percentage of the hydrate dissociation increases with Pw. gas saturation SG, and the ice saturation SI in the HBL (0 x
In the cases of Pw = 0.96P0, 0.4P0, 0.2P0, and 0.1P0, the 45 m, 11.5 z 11.5 m) in the reference case using the
dissociated hydrate only accounts for 14.6%, 6.6%, 2.5%, and depressurization method (Pw = 0.4P0) for gas production.
0.7% of the total amount of hydrate deposit at 10 years, The main characteristics of gas hydrate dissociation process
respectively. The total amounts of the dissociated hydrate are can be seen from Figure 6: (1) the hydrate dissociation occurs
26.3%, 13.2%, 5.3%, and 1.38% of the hydrate reservoir at the around the well, within a cylindrical interface under the con-
end of the production of 30 years with Pw = 0.96P0, 0.4P0, stant driving force of depressurization; (2) the hydrate dissocia-
0.2P0, and 0.1P0, respectively. Thus, as seen, the first 10-year tion rate is very slow, and the cylindrical dissociation interface
production is approximately more than 50% of the 30-year does not reach the top and the bottom of the initial HBL at the
production. In addition, it can be found that there still remains end of 30 years of production; (3) there is no occurrence of the
a large amount of undissociated hydrate at the end of 30 years secondary hydrate formation around the well. As shown in
of production. Figure 7, most of the free gas accumulates around the well
Figure 5 shows the cumulative mass of the produced water within the cylindrical dissociated zone, while some gas released
MW and the gas-to-water ratio RGW during gas production. As from hydrate appears in the undissociated zone.
shown in Figure 5, MW increases linearly over time, and the Because of the low initial temperature (close to zero) in the
depressurization driving force has limited effect on MW. The HBL, the water released from the hydrate is easy to freeze,
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Figure 9. Evolution of spatial distribution of temperature T and pressure P during gas production.

which causes the decrease of the effective permeability, which gradient, which is similar to that of the Shenhu Area.15
has adverse effect on both gas and water production. Figure 8a Meanwhile, the disappearance of the low-temperature zone
(the first year) shows the presence of a ringlike structure of ice under the production well in Figure 9b is affected by the heat
around the horizontal well, which is due to the fact that the rate transfer from UB with relative higher temperature. As shown in
of heat transfer from the reservoir is lower than the Figure 9c, the temperatures of the upper and lower boundaries
endothermic rate of the hydrate dissociation. Furthermore, are lower than the initial conditions, caused by the endothermic
the ice formation near the cylindrical interface causes the dissociation reaction.
decrease of the gas production rate. As shown in Figure 8bd, Figure 9df shows the following features: (1) the pressure
the ice melting from the bottom to the top is affected by the gradient around the well and the cylindrical low-pressure area
geothermal gradient in the deposit, and there is still ice above in the reference case with the constant driving force of Pw =
the horizontal well at the 15th year. In addition, it can be seen 0.4P0; (2) the continuous expansion of the low-pressure area
from Figure 8e and f that the ice disappears after the 20th year, over time with gas production; (3) in addition, due to the
which indicates that the endothermic rate of the hydrate gravity effect of water obtained from the hydrate dissociation in
dissociation is lower than that of the heat transfer. the sediment, the low pressure region in the upper part of the
3.3. Spatial Distribution of T and P. The simulation hydrate dissociation area is larger than that in the lower part.
diagrams for the spatial distribution of temperature T and P in 3.4. Sensitivity Analysis. In this work, we investigate the
the HBL in the reference case are shown in Figure 9ac and sensitivity of gas production to the following parameters: the
Figure 9df, respectively. As shown in Figure 9a, the radius of intrinsic permeability k and the initial deposit temperature.
the cylindrical low-temperature zone (defined as the zone with Figure 10 depicts the profiles of VP and RGW over time with
T < 0.5 C) around the production well is larger than that of different permeability k and initial deposit temperature. As k
the hydrate dissociated zone (Figure 6). The main reason for increases from 1 to 100 md, both VP and RGW increase
this is the cooling effect of the hydrate dissociation around the significantly. This is attributed to the fact that the gas and water
cylindrical interface and the temperature gradient around this generated from the hydrate dissociation can more easily flow to
interface. In Figure 9b, there is an inversion of the geothermal the well with higher permeability. However, because the high
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10 years and the later 20 years, respectively, which are


both lower than 0.3% of the rule-of-thumb for com-
mercially viable production rates from gas production
wells (3.0 105 ST m3/day).
(2) By the end of 30 years of production process, there has
been a large amount of undissociated gas hydrate remain-
ing in the reservoir. The cumulative mass of the pro-
duced water MW increases linearly over time, and the
depressurization driving force has limited effect on MW.
In addition, the RGW increases with the increase of the
driving force, and as a relative criterion of production
performance, RGW is as low as 0.0067 ST m3 of CH4/m3
of H2O.
(3) The gas hydrate dissociation is mainly concentrated in
the vicinity of the horizontal well and occurs along a
cylindrical interface, and the hydrate dissociation rate is
very slow in the gas production. Most of the free gas
Figure 10. Sensitivity analysis: effect of intrinsic permeability and the accumulates around the well within the cylindrical dis-
initial deposit temperature on the evolution of VP and RGW during gas sociated zone, while some gas released from hydrate
production. appears in the undissociated zone. There is a ringlike struc-
ture of ice around the horizontal well during the gas pro-
permeability at 100 md can facilitate the gas production, the duction process. With the decrease of the gas production
dissociation heat required in the gas hydrate dissociation rate, the ice starts to melt from the bottom to the top under
process is larger than the heat supplied from the reservoir. the influence of the geothermal gradient.
Thus, it shows a high tendency for water to be frozen around (4) The radius of the cylindrical low-temperature zone around
the dissociation region. As shown in Figure 10, the gas the production well is larger than that of the hydrate
production with k = 100 md stops at the 2886th day on account dissociated zone. There is an inversion of the geothermal
of considerable ice formation and accumulation around the gradient, which is similar to that of the Shenhu Area.
well. RGW increases with the increase of the permeability. In Meanwhile, the disappearance of the low-temperature
general, both the cumulative volume of produced CH4 and RGW zone under the production well is affected by the heat
are favored by a higher k. transfer from UB with relative higher temperature. The con-
Figure 10 also gives the changes of Vp and RGW in the tinuous expansion of the low-pressure area occurs over time
production process at the increase of 1 C for the initial deposit with gas production, and the low-pressure region in the
temperature relative to the reference case. In this study, the upper part of the hydrate dissociation area is larger than
temperature of the HBL boundaries of the DK-3 well is raised that in the lower part.
by T = 1 C, resulting in a similar T along the entire hydrate (5) Sensitivity analysis indicates that both the intrinsic
deposit. The geothermal gradient remains unchanged , and P in permeability and the initial temperature of the hydrate
each grid of the HBL is increased above the corresponding deposit show strong effect on gas production perform-
equilibrium pressure (reflecting a deeper, warmer deposit). It ance during the depressurization process in the Qilian
can be seen from Figure 10 that both VP and RGW increase Mountain permafrost. The hydrate deposits with higher
significantly with a limited increment of the initial temperature. permeability and higher temperature will be more desir-
In general, the initial temperature of the reservoir shows a able targets for gas production.
strong effect on the gas production performance, which in-
dicates that a deeper and warmer hydrate deposit means a more
desirable potential production target using the depressurization
AUTHOR INFORMATION
Corresponding Author
method. These results are consistent with previous observations *Tel.: +86-20-87057037. Fax: +86-20-87034664. E-mail: lixs@
by Moridis et al.21 ms.giec.ac.cn.
Notes
4. CONCLUSIONS The authors declare no competing financial interest.
In this work, we investigated the gas production potential from
the permafrost hydrate reservoir process during a 30-year
production period in the DK-3 well region in the Qilian
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This work was supported by the National Natural Science
Mountain in Qinghai Province using a single horizontal well by Foundation of China (Grants 51076155 and 51004089), CAS
depressurization. The following conclusions are drawn: Knowledge Innovation Program (Grant KGCX2-YW-3X6),
(1) VP and VR in the earlier production period (010 years) are and Science & Technology Program of Guangdong Province
more than 50% of the total CH4 production volume and (Grant 2009B050600006), which are gratefully acknowledged.
the total CH4 released volume. Both VP and VR increase
along with the increment of the driving force Pw. In the
reference case, for a well spacing of 90 m and a horizontal
NOMENCLATURE
D = thickness of the frozen layer
well with the length of 1000 m, as an absolute criterion of g = gravity (m/s2)
production performance, the average gas production rates G1 = geothermal gradient within the permafrost region
are 0.74 103 and 0.38 103 ST m3/day during the first (K/m)
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G2 = geothermal gradient under the permafrost region (K/m) (4) Kvenvolden, K. A. Gas hydratesGeological perspective and
k = intrinsic permeability (m2) global change. Rev. Geophys. 1993, 31 (2), 173187.
kC = composite thermal conductivity (W/m/K) (5) Jenner, K. A.; Dallimore, S. R.; Clark, I. D. Sedimentology of
kRD = thermal conductivity of dry porous medium (W/m/K) methane hydrate host strata from JAPEX/JNOC/GSC Mallik 2L-38.
Geol. Surv. Can. Bull. 1999, 544, 5768.
kRW = thermal conductivity of fully saturated porous (6) Hideaki T.; Tetsuo Y.; Ed F. Operation Overview of the 2002
medium (W/m/K) Mallik Gas Hydrate Production Research Well Program at the
kI = thermal conductivity of ice (W/m/K) Mackenzie Delta in the Canadian Arctic. Offshore Technology
MW = cumulative mass of the produced water (kg) Conference, Houston, TX, 2003.
P = pressure (Pa) (7) Jose, M. C.; Davide, G.; Giuliana, R.; Gianni, M. Estimation of gas-
Pcap = capillary pressure (Pa) hydrate concentration and free-gas saturation at the NorwegianSvalbard
Pa0 = atmospheric pressure (1 atm) continental margin. Geophys. Prospect. 2005, 53 (6), 803810.
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