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Towards Commercial Gas Production from Hydrate Deposits
Energies 2011, 4(2), 294-313; doi:10.3390/en4020294

Numerical Analysis on Gas Production Efficiency from Hydrate Deposits by Thermal Stimulation: Application to the Shenhu Area, South China Sea

1,2,*  and 1,3
Received: 14 December 2010 / Revised: 10 January 2011 / Accepted: 26 January 2011 / Published: 14 February 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Gas Hydrate)
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Gas hydrates have been attracted a great deal of attention because of their potential as an energy substitute and the climate implications. Drilling and sampling research on the hydrate deposit in the Shenhu Area on the northern continental slope of the Southern China Sea was a big breakthrough for hydrate investigation in China, but as a new potential energy source, how the gas can be effectively produced from hydrate deposits has become a hot research topic. Besides depressurization heat stimulation is regarded as another important means for producing hydrate-derived gas, however, the production efficiency and economic feasibility of producing gas by heat stimulation have not been clearly understood. In this paper, a simplified model for predicting gas production from hydrate deposits by heat stimulation is developed. The model ideally neglects the effects of heat convection and pressure regime in the sediments for simplicity. We compute the heat consumption efficiency and gas energy efficiency of gas production from hydrate deposits by heat stimulation, only considering effect of hydrate dissociation due to heat input. This model is for predicting the maximum production efficiency. By studying the hydrate reservoirs and significant parameters collected from drilling and sampling researches, we calculate the production potential of the Shenhu hydrate deposits and investigate the production efficiency and feasibility. Our research shows that the maximum amount of cumulative gas production at Shenhu is ~509 m3 per meter in three years. The production potential is much lower than the industrial criterion for marine production. In our discussion the numerical simulations show that a practical potential of the gas production is merely 25 m3/m in 3 years and contribution of thermal stimulation is very small in joint-production schemes. We conclude that production cost is quite high and the economic value of producing gas from the hydrate through a vertical well is not attractive, even though the production by heat stimulation theoretically has a very high heat consumption rate and energy efficiency.
Keywords: gas hydrate; heat stimulation; numerical analysis; Shenhu area gas hydrate; heat stimulation; numerical analysis; Shenhu area
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Su, Z.; Cao, Y.; Wu, N.; He, Y. Numerical Analysis on Gas Production Efficiency from Hydrate Deposits by Thermal Stimulation: Application to the Shenhu Area, South China Sea. Energies 2011, 4, 294-313.

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