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Geomechanical response of permafrost-associated hydrate deposits to depressurization-induced gas production

Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering

By:
, , , and
DOI: 10.1016/j.petrol.2009.02.013

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Abstract

In this simulation study, we analyzed the geomechanical response during depressurization production from two known hydrate-bearing permafrost deposits: the Mallik (Northwest Territories, Canada) deposit and Mount Elbert (Alaska, USA) deposit. Gas was produced from these deposits at constant pressure using horizontal wells placed at the top of a hydrate layer (HL), located at a depth of about 900??m at the Mallik site and 600??m at the Mount Elbert site. The simulation results show that general thermodynamic and geomechanical responses are similar for the two sites, but with substantially higher production and more intensive geomechanical responses at the deeper Mallik deposit. The depressurization-induced dissociation begins at the well bore and then spreads laterally, mainly along the top of the HL. The depressurization results in an increased shear stress within the body of the receding hydrate and causes a vertical compaction of the reservoir. However, its effects are partially mitigated by the relatively stiff permafrost overburden, and compaction of the HL is limited to less than 0.4%. The increased shear stress may lead to shear failure in the hydrate-free zone bounded by the HL overburden and the downward-receding upper dissociation interface. This zone undergoes complete hydrate dissociation, and the cohesive strength of the sediment is low. We determined that the likelihood of shear failure depends on the initial stress state as well as on the geomechanical properties of the reservoir. The Poisson's ratio of the hydrate-bearing formation is a particularly important parameter that determines whether the evolution of the reservoir stresses will increase or decrease the likelihood of shear failure.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Geomechanical response of permafrost-associated hydrate deposits to depressurization-induced gas production
Series title:
Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
DOI:
10.1016/j.petrol.2009.02.013
Volume
67
Issue:
1-2
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
First page:
1
Last page:
12