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Permeability anisotropy and relative permeability in sediments from the National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02, offshore India

October 1, 2019

Gas and water permeability through hydrate-bearing sediments essentially governs the economic feasibility of gas production from gas hydrate deposits. Characterizing a reservoir’s permeability can be difficult because even collocated permeability measurements can vary by 4-5 orders of magnitude, due partly to differences between how various testing methods inherently measure permeability in different directions and at different scales. This study uses a customized flow anisotropy cell to investigate geomechanical and hydrological properties of hydrate-bearing sediments focusing on permeability anisotropy (i.e., horizontal, kh, to vertical, kv, permeability ratio) and relative permeability. Two cores recovered during India’s National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02 (NGHP-02) are tested in this study. Near in situ effective vertical stress, ~ 2MPa, the permeability anisotropy is approximately kh/kv = 1.86 for the “seal core” (from a fine-grained non-reservoir overburden sedimentary section) and kh/kv = 4.24 for the gas hydrate reservoir score with tetrahydrofuran (THF) hydrate saturation Sh = 0.8. Permeability anisotropy increases exponentially with effective vertical stress, as described by kh/kv = α(σv/MPa)^β, with α = 1.6, β = 0.22 for seal sediment and α = 3, β = 0.5 for THF hydrate-bearing sediment. Results imply the measured permeability from permeameter tests with vertical flow may underestimate the reservoir’s flow performance, which is mainly horizontal (radial) toward a vertical well. Hydrates in sediment increase the gas-entry pressure and residual water saturation, but decrease the water retention curve’s shape factor (m), resulting in a steeper curve. Distributions of available pore space sizes for flow in sediment with and without THF hydrate (Sh = 0.8) follow a log-normal distribution. Hydrate formation decreases the apparent mean pore size from ~10 µm to ~2 µm, without evidently changing the pore size distribution's standard deviation. Gas hydrate dissociation increases effective permeability and relative permeability to gas.

Publication Year 2019
Title Permeability anisotropy and relative permeability in sediments from the National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02, offshore India
DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2018.08.016
Authors Sheng Dai, J. Kim, Yue Xu, William F. Waite, Junbong Jang, J. Yoneda, Timothy S. Collett, Pushpendra Kumar
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology
Index ID 70206775
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Central Energy Resources Science Center; Coastal and Marine Geology Program; Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center