global climate image

US DOE Grant:
Detection and Production of Methane Hydrates

Rice Ph.D. student Bhatnager wins SPE award

Gas hydrates host a tremendous quantity of methane in sediment along continental margins. Small changes in deep ocean temperature or sea level should affect their distribution and abundance, potentially releasing methane to the ocean or atmosphere. Chemical changes in sediment records suggest this has happened in the past.Cost-effective production of natural gas from marine and arctic hydrate deposits is a critical issue.

Flow assurance image
flow assurance image

Reservoir simulators are being developed that account for the physico-chemical processes during gas production including phase behavior, dissociation, heat transfer, and multiphase flow. Key parameters that control gas production are being identified.Reducing the costs associated with gas hydrate plugs remains a key flow assurance issue for onshore and offshore oil and gas pipelines.

Various chemicals are used to prevent plug formation by lowering hydrate formation temperature, slowing formation of hydrates, or preventing agglomeration of particles. Hydrate impacts seafloor stability at global scales. Sea level falls and ocean water warming can initiate slope instability and cause tsunami-generating submarine landslides. Drilling and production of warm fluids perturb hydrate stability that can cause wellbore failure and loss of subsea infrastructure.

seafloor image
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