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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Assessing the geomechanical stability of interbedded hydrate-bearing sediments under gas production by depressurization at NGHP-02 Site 16

  • Author(s): Lin, JS
  • Uchida, S
  • Myshakin, EM
  • Seol, Y
  • Rutqvist, J
  • Boswell, R
  • et al.

© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Establishing the geomechanical stability of marine sediments in the vicinity of a production well is one of the key design considerations in planning offshore gas production from marine hydrate reservoirs. This paper presents an assessment of the sediment stability at India's National Gas Hydrate Program, Expedition 2 (NGHP-02) Site 16 Area B offshore eastern India, for which gas production is to be carried out by depressurization. One important feature of the study is that extensive calibration of constitutive model parameters has been conducted based on laboratory test data from pressured core samples. From analysis perspective, the site is challenging because the hydrate reservoir consists of thin layers of hydrate-bearing sands interbedded with mud. Moreover, depressurization at the depth of a reservoir more than 2750 m below sea surface will lead to a pore pressure drop, and accordingly an effective confining stress increase as high as 25 MPa. In dealing with thin interbedded hydrate-bearing strata, meshing requirements for flow and geomechanical analysis are quite different from those for reservoirs with thicker massive layers, An axisymmetric model and one-way coupling simulations were thus adopted for this study, in which the geomechanical study utilizes pore pressure and hydrate saturation output from the flow study, but the flow study does not takes the porosity changes from the geomechanical analysis. Instead, the reduction of porosity due to sediment deformation in the flow study is based on a pressure-dependent pore compressibility relationship derived from geomechanical modeling. The rationality is validated through back computing the pore compressibility from the geomechanical deformation results. The study shows that large compression in the reservoir will result in movement of the sediments from above and below, as well as laterally in smaller magnitudes; and the sediment is deemed stable during the gas production period.

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