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Title: Numerical studies on the geomechanical stability ofhydrate-bearing sediments

Abstract

The thermal and mechanical loading of oceanicHydrate-Bearing Sediments (HBS) can result in hydrate dissociation and asignificant pressure increase, with potentially adverse consequences onthe integrity and stability of the wellbore assembly, the HBS, and thebounding formations. The perception of HBS instability, coupled withinsufficient knowledge of their geomechanical behavior and the absence ofpredictive capabilities, have resulted in a strategy of avoidance of HBSwhen locating offshore production platforms, and can impede thedevelopment of hydrate deposits as gas resources.In this study weinvestigate in three cases of coupled hydraulic, thermodynamic andgeomechanical behavior of oceanic hydrate-bearing sediments. The firstinvolves hydrate heating as warm fluids from deeper conventionalreservoirs ascend to the ocean floor through uninsulated pipesintersecting the HBS. The second case describes system response duringgas production from a hydrate deposit, and the third involves mechanicalloading caused by the weight of structures placed on the ocean flooroverlying hydrate-bearing sediments.For the analysis of the geomechanicalstability of HBS, we developed and used a numerical model that integratesa commercial geomechanical code and a simulator describing the coupledprocesses of fluid flow, heat transport and thermodynamic behavior in theHBS. Our simulation results indicate that the stability of HBS in thevicinity of warm pipes may be significantly affected, especially if thesediments are unconsolidated andmore » more compressible. Gas production fromoceanic deposits may also affect the geomechanical stability of HBS underthe conditions that are deemed desirablefor production. Conversely, theincreased pressure caused by the weight of structures on the ocean floorincreases the stability of underlying hydrates.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley NationalLaboratory, Berkeley, CA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE. Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy.Gas
OSTI Identifier:
928016
Report Number(s):
LBNL-62759
R&D Project: G30801; BnR: AB0565000; TRN: US200816%%983
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 2007 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston,Texas, 29 April-2 May 2007
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54; AVOIDANCE; DISSOCIATION; FLOORS; FLUID FLOW; HEATING; HYDRATES; INSTABILITY; PRODUCTION; SEDIMENTS; SIMULATION; SIMULATORS; STABILITY; THERMODYNAMICS; TRANSPORT

Citation Formats

Rutqvist, Jonny, and Moridis, George J. Numerical studies on the geomechanical stability ofhydrate-bearing sediments. United States: N. p., 2007. Web.
Rutqvist, Jonny, & Moridis, George J. Numerical studies on the geomechanical stability ofhydrate-bearing sediments. United States.
Rutqvist, Jonny, and Moridis, George J. Tue . "Numerical studies on the geomechanical stability ofhydrate-bearing sediments". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_928016,
title = {Numerical studies on the geomechanical stability ofhydrate-bearing sediments},
author = {Rutqvist, Jonny and Moridis, George J.},
abstractNote = {The thermal and mechanical loading of oceanicHydrate-Bearing Sediments (HBS) can result in hydrate dissociation and asignificant pressure increase, with potentially adverse consequences onthe integrity and stability of the wellbore assembly, the HBS, and thebounding formations. The perception of HBS instability, coupled withinsufficient knowledge of their geomechanical behavior and the absence ofpredictive capabilities, have resulted in a strategy of avoidance of HBSwhen locating offshore production platforms, and can impede thedevelopment of hydrate deposits as gas resources.In this study weinvestigate in three cases of coupled hydraulic, thermodynamic andgeomechanical behavior of oceanic hydrate-bearing sediments. The firstinvolves hydrate heating as warm fluids from deeper conventionalreservoirs ascend to the ocean floor through uninsulated pipesintersecting the HBS. The second case describes system response duringgas production from a hydrate deposit, and the third involves mechanicalloading caused by the weight of structures placed on the ocean flooroverlying hydrate-bearing sediments.For the analysis of the geomechanicalstability of HBS, we developed and used a numerical model that integratesa commercial geomechanical code and a simulator describing the coupledprocesses of fluid flow, heat transport and thermodynamic behavior in theHBS. Our simulation results indicate that the stability of HBS in thevicinity of warm pipes may be significantly affected, especially if thesediments are unconsolidated and more compressible. Gas production fromoceanic deposits may also affect the geomechanical stability of HBS underthe conditions that are deemed desirablefor production. Conversely, theincreased pressure caused by the weight of structures on the ocean floorincreases the stability of underlying hydrates.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue May 01 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Tue May 01 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}

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  • In this paper, we describe the development and application of a numerical simulator that analyzes the geomechanical performance of hydrate-bearing sediments, which may become an important future energy supply. The simulator is developed by coupling a robust numerical simulator of coupled fluid flow, hydrate thermodynamics, and phase behavior in geologic media (TOUGH+HYDRATE) with an established geomechanical code (FLAC3D). We demonstrate the current simulator capabilities and applicability for two examples of geomechanical responses of hydrate bearing sediments during production-induced hydrate dissociation. In these applications, the coupled geomechanical behavior within hydrate-bearing seducements are considered through a Mohr-Coulomb constitutive model, corrected for changesmore » in pore-filling hydrate and ice content, based on laboratory data. The results demonstrate how depressurization-based gas production from oceanic hydrate deposits may lead to severe geomechanical problems unless care is taken in designing the production scheme. We conclude that the coupled simulator can be used to design production strategies for optimizing production, while avoiding damaging geomechanical problems.« less
  • The main objective of this study is to develop the necessary knowledge base and quantitative predictive capability for the description of geomechanical performance of hydrate bearing sediments (hereafter referred to as HBS) in oceanic environments. The focus is on the determination of the envelope of hydrate stability under conditions typical of those related to the construction and operation of offshore platforms. To achieve this objective, we have developed a robust numerical simulator of hydrate behavior in geologic media by coupling a reservoir model with a commercial geomechanical code. To be sure our geomechanical modeling is realistic, we are also investigatingmore » the geomechanical behavior of oceanic HBS using pore-scale models (conceptual and mathematical) of fluid flow, stress analysis, and damage propagation. In Phase II of the project, we will review all published core data and generate additional core data to verify the models. To generate data for our models, we are using data from the literature and we will be conducting laboratory studies in 2007 that generate data to (1) evaluate the conceptual pore-scale models, (2) calibrate the mathematical models, (3) determine dominant relations and critical parameters defining the geomechanical behavior of HBS, and (4) establish relationships between the geomechanical status of HBS and the corresponding geophysical signature. The milestones for Phase I of this project are given as follows: Literature survey on typical sediments containing gas hydrates in the ocean (TAMU); Recommendations on how to create typical sediments in the laboratory (TAMU); Demonstrate that typical sediments can be created in a repeatable manner in the laboratory and gas hydrates can be created in the pore space (TAMU); Develop a conceptual pore-scale model based on available data and reports (UCB); Test the developed pore-scale concepts on simple configurations and verify the results against known measurements and observations (UCB); Complete the FLAC3D routines that will be linked with the reservoir model (LBNL); Complete the TOUGH+/HYDRATE modifications and extensions (LBNL); Complete the TOUGH+/FLAC3D interaction interface (LBNL); Integrate and test the coupled geomechanical numerical model TFxH/FLAC3D (LBNL); and Demonstrate that Petrel can be used to develop an earth model for providing data to the TOUGH+/FLAC3D (SLB).« less
  • Ability to predict mechanical response of rock in three dimensions over the spatial and time scales of geologic interest would give the oil and gas industry the ability to reduce risk on prospects, improve pre-project initial reserve estimates, and lower operating costs. A program has recently been initiated, under the auspices of the Advanced Computational Technology Initiative (ACTI), to achieve such a computational technology breakthrough by adapting the unique advanced quasistatic finite element technology developed by Sandia to the mechanics applications important to exploration and production activities within the oil and gas industry. As a precursor to that program, inmore » an effort to evaluate the feasibility of the approach, several complex geologic structures of interest were analyzed with the existing two-dimensional quasistatic finite element code, SANTOS, developed at Sandia. Examples are presented and discussed.« less