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Title: Controls on Gas Hydrate Formation and Dissociation

Abstract

The main objectives of the project were to monitor, characterize, and quantify in situ the rates of formation and dissociation of methane hydrates at and near the seafloor in the northern Gulf of Mexico, with a focus on the Bush Hill seafloor hydrate mound; to record the linkages between physical and chemical parameters of the deposits over the course of one year, by emphasizing the response of the hydrate mound to temperature and chemical perturbations; and to document the seafloor and water column environmental impacts of hydrate formation and dissociation. For these, monitoring the dynamics of gas hydrate formation and dissociation was required. The objectives were achieved by an integrated field and laboratory scientific study, particularly by monitoring in situ formation and dissociation of the outcropping gas hydrate mound and of the associated gas-rich sediments. In addition to monitoring with the MOSQUITOs, fluid flow rates and temperature, continuously sampling in situ pore fluids for the chemistry, and imaging the hydrate mound, pore fluids from cores, peepers and gas hydrate samples from the mound were as well sampled and analyzed for chemical and isotopic compositions. In order to determine the impact of gas hydrate dissociation and/or methane venting across the seafloormore » on the ocean and atmosphere, the overlying seawater was sampled and thoroughly analyzed chemically and for methane C isotope ratios. At Bush hill the pore fluid chemistry varies significantly over short distances as well as within some of the specific sites monitored for 440 days, and gas venting is primarily focused. The pore fluid chemistry in the tub-warm and mussel shell fields clearly documented active gas hydrate and authigenic carbonate formation during the monitoring period. The advecting fluid is depleted in sulfate, Ca Mg, and Sr and is rich in methane; at the main vent sites the fluid is methane supersaturated, thus bubble plumes form. The subsurface hydrology exhibits both up-flow and down-flow of fluid at rates that range between 0.5 to 214 cm/yr and 2-162 cm/yr, respectively. The fluid flow system at the mound and background sites are coupled having opposite polarities that oscillate episodically between 14 days to {approx}4 months. Stability calculations suggest that despite bottom water temperature fluctuations, of up to {approx}3 C, the Bush Hill gas hydrate mound is presently stable, as also corroborated by the time-lapse video camera images that did not detect change in the gas hydrate mound. As long as methane (and other hydrocarbon) continues advecting at the observed rates the mound would remain stable. The {_}{sup 13}C-DIC data suggest that crude oil instead of methane serves as the primary electron-donor and metabolic substrate for anaerobic sulfate reduction. The oil-dominated environment at Bush Hill shields some of the methane bubbles from being oxidized both anaerobically in the sediment and aerobically in the water column. Consequently, the methane flux across the seafloor is higher at Bush hill than at non-oil rich seafloor gas hydrate regions, such as at Hydrate Ridge, Cascadia. The methane flux across the ocean/atmosphere interface is as well higher. Modeling the methane flux across this interface at three bubble plumes provides values that range from 180-2000 {_}mol/m{sup 2} day; extrapolating it over the Gulf of Mexico basin utilizing satellite data is in progress.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
University Of California
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
898807
DOE Contract Number:
FC26-02NT41328
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS; CHEMISTRY; DISSOCIATION; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; FLUID FLOW; GAS HYDRATES; GULF OF MEXICO; HYDRATES; METHANE; MONITORING; WATER

Citation Formats

Miriam Kastner, and Ian MacDonald. Controls on Gas Hydrate Formation and Dissociation. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.2172/898807.
Miriam Kastner, & Ian MacDonald. Controls on Gas Hydrate Formation and Dissociation. United States. doi:10.2172/898807.
Miriam Kastner, and Ian MacDonald. Fri . "Controls on Gas Hydrate Formation and Dissociation". United States. doi:10.2172/898807. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/898807.
@article{osti_898807,
title = {Controls on Gas Hydrate Formation and Dissociation},
author = {Miriam Kastner and Ian MacDonald},
abstractNote = {The main objectives of the project were to monitor, characterize, and quantify in situ the rates of formation and dissociation of methane hydrates at and near the seafloor in the northern Gulf of Mexico, with a focus on the Bush Hill seafloor hydrate mound; to record the linkages between physical and chemical parameters of the deposits over the course of one year, by emphasizing the response of the hydrate mound to temperature and chemical perturbations; and to document the seafloor and water column environmental impacts of hydrate formation and dissociation. For these, monitoring the dynamics of gas hydrate formation and dissociation was required. The objectives were achieved by an integrated field and laboratory scientific study, particularly by monitoring in situ formation and dissociation of the outcropping gas hydrate mound and of the associated gas-rich sediments. In addition to monitoring with the MOSQUITOs, fluid flow rates and temperature, continuously sampling in situ pore fluids for the chemistry, and imaging the hydrate mound, pore fluids from cores, peepers and gas hydrate samples from the mound were as well sampled and analyzed for chemical and isotopic compositions. In order to determine the impact of gas hydrate dissociation and/or methane venting across the seafloor on the ocean and atmosphere, the overlying seawater was sampled and thoroughly analyzed chemically and for methane C isotope ratios. At Bush hill the pore fluid chemistry varies significantly over short distances as well as within some of the specific sites monitored for 440 days, and gas venting is primarily focused. The pore fluid chemistry in the tub-warm and mussel shell fields clearly documented active gas hydrate and authigenic carbonate formation during the monitoring period. The advecting fluid is depleted in sulfate, Ca Mg, and Sr and is rich in methane; at the main vent sites the fluid is methane supersaturated, thus bubble plumes form. The subsurface hydrology exhibits both up-flow and down-flow of fluid at rates that range between 0.5 to 214 cm/yr and 2-162 cm/yr, respectively. The fluid flow system at the mound and background sites are coupled having opposite polarities that oscillate episodically between 14 days to {approx}4 months. Stability calculations suggest that despite bottom water temperature fluctuations, of up to {approx}3 C, the Bush Hill gas hydrate mound is presently stable, as also corroborated by the time-lapse video camera images that did not detect change in the gas hydrate mound. As long as methane (and other hydrocarbon) continues advecting at the observed rates the mound would remain stable. The {_}{sup 13}C-DIC data suggest that crude oil instead of methane serves as the primary electron-donor and metabolic substrate for anaerobic sulfate reduction. The oil-dominated environment at Bush Hill shields some of the methane bubbles from being oxidized both anaerobically in the sediment and aerobically in the water column. Consequently, the methane flux across the seafloor is higher at Bush hill than at non-oil rich seafloor gas hydrate regions, such as at Hydrate Ridge, Cascadia. The methane flux across the ocean/atmosphere interface is as well higher. Modeling the methane flux across this interface at three bubble plumes provides values that range from 180-2000 {_}mol/m{sup 2} day; extrapolating it over the Gulf of Mexico basin utilizing satellite data is in progress.},
doi = {10.2172/898807},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Mar 03 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Fri Mar 03 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

Technical Report:

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  • 1.1. Project Goal The project goal is to predict, given characteristic climate-induced temperature change scenarios, the conditions under which gas will be expelled from existing accumulations of gas hydrate into the shallow ocean or directly to the atmosphere. When those conditions are met, the fraction of the gas accumulation that escapes and the rate of escape shall be quantified. The predictions shall be applicable in Arctic regions and in gas hydrate systems at the up dip limit of the stability zone on continental margins. The behavior shall be explored in response to two warming scenarios: longer term change due tomore » sea level rise (e.g. 20 thousand years) and shorter term due to atmospheric warming by anthropogenic forcing (decadal time scale). 1.2. Project Objectives During the first budget period, the objectives are to review and categorize the stability state of existing well-studied hydrate reservoirs, develop conceptual and numerical models of the melting process, and to design and conduct laboratory experiments that dissociate methane hydrate in a model sediment column by systematically controlling the temperature profile along the column. The final objective of the first budget period shall be to validate the models against the experiments. In the second budget period, the objectives are to develop a model of gas flow into sediment in which hydrate is thermodynamically stable, and conduct laboratory experiments of this process to validate the model. The developed models shall be used to quantify the rate and volume of gas that escapes from dissociating hydrate accumulations. In addition, specific scaled simulations characteristic of Arctic regions and regions near the stability limit at continental margins shall be performed. 1.3. Project Background and Rationale The central hypothesis proposed is that hydrate melting (dissociation) due to climate change generates free gas that can, under certain conditions, propagate through the gas hydrate stability zone and vent at the seafloor. Gas venting through the regional hydrate stability zone is accomplished by alteration of the regional equilibrium conditions (creation of three phase conditions) by increased salinity and heat due to hydrate formation, due to gas fracturing, or a combination of both. This research will explore the controls on whether methane reaches the seafloor (or atmosphere) as the original hydrate deposit dissociates and what the magnitude of these fluxes are. This hypothesis has significant implications for the forcings and feedbacks associated with climate change. It is described below the observations and models that have led to formulating this hypothesis.« less
  • Natural gas production from the dissociation of methane hydrate in a confined reservoir by a depressurizing down-hole well was studied. The case that the well pressure was kept constant was treated and two different linearization schemes in an axisymmetric configuration were used in the analysis. For different fixed well pressures and reservoir temperatures, approximate self-similar solutions were obtained. Distributions of temperature, pressure and gas velocity field across the reservoir were evaluated. The distance of the decomposition front from the well and the natural gas production rate as functions of time were also computed. Time evolutions of the resulting profiles weremore » presented in graphical forms and their differences with the constant well output results were studied. It was shown that the gas production rate was a sensitive function of well pressure and reservoir temperature. The sensitivity of the results to the linearization scheme used was also studied.« less
  • Semi-analytical computational models for natural gas flow in hydrate reservoirs were developed and the effects of variations in porosity and permeability on pressure and temperature profiles and the movement of a dissociation front were studied. Experimental data for variations of gas pressure and temperature during propane hydrate formation and dissociation for crushed ice and mixture of crushed ice and glass beads under laboratory environment were obtained. A thermodynamically consistent model for multiphase liquid-gas flows trough porous media was developed. Numerical models for hydrate dissociation process in one dimensional and axisymmetric reservoir were performed. The computational model solved the general governingmore » equations without the need for linearization. A detail module for multidimensional analysis of hydrate dissociation which make use of the FLUENT code was developed. The new model accounts for gas and liquid water flow and uses the Kim-Boshnoi model for hydrate dissociation.« less
  • This report presents a geological description of the Columbia Basin, including regional and local structural settings, geomorphology, geological history, stratigraphy, and physical properties. It provides the necessary regional and geological background for more in-depth research of the area. Detailed discussion of bottom simulating acoustic reflectors, sediment acoustic properties, distribution of hydrates within the sediments, and the relation of hydrate distribution to other features such as salt diapirism are also included. The formation and stabilization of gas hydrates in sediments are considered in terms of phase relations, nucleation, and crystallization constraints, gas solubility, pore fluid chemistry, inorganic diagenesis, and sediment organicmore » content. Together with a depositional analysis of the area, this report is a better understanding of the thermal evolution of the locality. It should lead to an assessment of the potential for both biogenic and thermogenic hydrocarbon generation. 66 refs., 49 figs., 5 tabs.« less
  • This report presents a geological description of the Panama Basin, including regional and local structural settings, geomorphology, geological history, stratigraphy, and physical properties. It provides the necessary regional and geological background for more in-depth research of the area. Detailed discussion of bottom simulating acoustic reflectors, sediment acoustic properties, distribution of hydrates within the sediments, and the relation of hydrate distribution to other features such as salt diapirism are also included. The formation and stabilization of gas hydrates in sediments are considered in terms of phase relations, nucleation, and crystallization constraints, gas solubility, pore fluid chemistry, inorganic diagenesis, and sediment organicmore » content. Together with a depositional analysis of the area, this report is a better understanding of the thermal evolution of the locality. It should lead to an assessment of the potential for both biogenic and thermogenic hydrocarbon generation. 63 refs., 38 figs., 7 tabs.« less