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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Relative permeability of gas and water flow in hydrate-bearing porous media: A micro-scale study by lattice Boltzmann simulation


The water-gas relative permeability is an important parameter to characterize multiphase flow in sediments. To study the water-gas relative permeability of hydrate-bearing porous media, multiphase flow simulations were carried out at the pore scale using the lattice Boltzmann method. The effects of hydrate saturation and hydrate-growth habits on the water-gas relative permeability, which is scaled by the relative permeability considering the hydrate only, were evaluated in a two-dimensional porous medium. Results show that the increase of hydrate saturation causes the decrease of water-gas effective permeability as expected. However, the effect of hydrate saturation on the water-gas relative permeability is different from that of hydrate saturation on the water-gas effective permeability. The water-gas relative permeability increases with the increase of hydrate saturation in the pore-filling case. The water-gas relative permeability decreases with the increase of hydrate saturation in the grain-coating case. The wettability of solid phase has a different effect on the relative permeability of wetting phase and nonwetting phase. The Jamin effect (phase blocking) was observed and may exist in the production of gas from natural gas hydrate reservoirs. This seriously affects the multiphase flow characteristics. The changes of microscale fluid distribution effect the changes of water-gas relative permeability. The relationship between the water-gas relative permeability and the characterization parameters of microscale fluid distribution was analyzed.

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