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Regional long-term production modeling from a single well test, Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well, Alaska North Slope

January 1, 2011

Following the results from the open-hole formation pressure response test in the BPXA-DOE-USGS Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well (Mount Elbert well) using Schlumberger's Modular Dynamics Formation Tester (MDT) wireline tool, the International Methane Hydrate Reservoir Simulator Code Comparison project performed long-term reservoir simulations on three different model reservoirs. These descriptions were based on 1) the Mount Elbert gas hydrate accumulation as delineated by an extensive history-matching exercise, 2) an estimation of the hydrate accumulation near the Prudhoe Bay L-pad, and 3) a reservoir that would be down-dip of the Prudhoe Bay L-pad and therefore warmer and deeper. All of these simulations were based, in part, on the results of the MDT results from the Mount Elbert Well. The comparison group's consensus value for the initial permeability of the hydrate-filled reservoir (k = 0.12 mD) and the permeability model based on the MDT history match were used as the basis for subsequent simulations on the three regional scenarios. The simulation results of the five different simulation codes, CMG STARS, HydrateResSim, MH-21 HYDRES, STOMP-HYD, and TOUGH+HYDRATE exhibit good qualitative agreement and the variability of potential methane production rates from gas hydrate reservoirs is illustrated. As expected, the predicted methane production rate increased with increasing in situ reservoir temperature; however, a significant delay in the onset of rapid hydrate dissociation is observed for a cold, homogeneous reservoir and it is found to be repeatable. The inclusion of reservoir heterogeneity in the description of this cold reservoir is shown to eliminate this delayed production. Overall, simulations utilized detailed information collected across the Mount Elbert reservoir either obtained or determined from geophysical well logs, including thickness (37 ft), porosity (35%), hydrate saturation (65%), intrinsic permeability (1000 mD), pore water salinity (5 ppt), and formation temperature (3.3–3.9 °C). This paper presents the approach and results of extrapolating regional forward production modeling from history-matching efforts on the results from a single well test.