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Gas Hydrates: Energy and the Environment A Rice Initiative. Walter G. Chapman Chemical Engineering Dept. Rice University. US Geological Survey. What are Gas Hydrates?.

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gas hydrates energy and the environment a rice initiative
Gas Hydrates: Energy and the EnvironmentA Rice Initiative

Walter G. Chapman

Chemical Engineering Dept.

Rice University

US Geological Survey

what are gas hydrates

What are Gas Hydrates?

Self-assembled nano-structures formed by the cooperative hydrogen bonding of water molecules to create polyhedron cages around small molecules. Methane trapped in a single Pentagonal Dodecahedra Cage From US Geological Survey.

Comparison of ice and hydrate structures. One of the hydrate cages is shown to contain a methane molecule. From the Naval Research Laboratory

why are hydrates interesting
Why are Hydrates Interesting?
  • Pipeline Plugging
    • Preventing Gas Hydrate formation accounts for
      • 10-15% of the production costs
      • $500 Million per year for inhibitors alone hydrate.jpg

where else do hydrates form
Where Else Do Hydrates Form?
  • In sediments below the ocean floor

seismic and photo evidence
Seismic and Photo Evidence



Images: Trehu et al., 2002

why are hydrates interesting7
Why are Hydrates Interesting?
  • Potential Fuel Source
    • Methane Hydrate is stable on land in polar regions and at sea in water deeper than a few hundred meters, and likely exists on all continental margins. The triangles here show actual discoveries (updated from Kvenvolden, 1988). (From Naval Research Lab)

Distribution of organic carbon in Earth reservoirs (excluding dispersed carbon in rocks and sediments). Numbers in gigatons (1015 tons) of carbon

Ocean 983 (e.g., dissolved organics, and biota

Atmosphere 3.6

Land 2790

(Includes soil, biota, peat and detritus

Gas hydrates


Fossil Fuels


Data from USGS

why are hydrates interesting9
Why are Hydrates Interesting?
  • Climate Change and Seafloor Stability

Potential Release of Greenhouse Gases schemclimate.gif

why are hydrates interesting10
Why are Hydrates Interesting?
  • Gas Hydrate Applications
    • Flow Assurance
    • Energy Production
    • Seafloor Stability
    • Global Climate Change
    • Transport and Storage of Natural Gas
    • Gas Separations and Materials Handling
    • Templates for Nano-Materials
rice hydrates team
Rice Hydrates Team

Organized Under the Shell Center for Sustainability,

Exec. Director Chris Holmes

  • Energy Production from Gas Hydrates
  • Flow Assurance
  • Seafloor Stability
  • Global Climate Change
  • Public Policy with the Baker Institute
molecular to global scale
Molecular to Global Scale

Molecular Mechanisms and Dynamics

  • NMR/MRI Mechanisms and Dynamics – Chapman (Chem. E.) and House (Texas Tech)
  • Molecular Simulation – Chapman (Chem. E.)
  • Properties at High Pressure – Chapman (Chem. E.)
  • X-ray Crystal Structure – Billups (Chemistry)
  • Gas Hydrate Kinetics – Bishnoi (Calgary)
  • Applications to
    • Hydrate Inhibition for Flow Assurance
    • Hydrate Dynamics for Resource Modeling
molecular to global scale13
Molecular to Global Scale

Hydrate Resource Characterization

  • Core and Species Analysis – Dickens (Earth Science)
  • NMR Well Logging – Hirasaki and Chapman (Chem. E.) and House (Texas Tech)
  • Seismic Interpretation – Zelt and Sain (Earth Science)
  • Geologic Scale Simulation – Hirasaki and Chapman (Chem. E.)
  • Resource Interpretation – Dugan (Earth Science)
  • Applications to
    • Locating High Concentrations of Hydrates
    • Characterizing the Hydrate Resource
molecular to global scale14
Molecular to Global Scale

Hydrate Resource Dynamics

  • Species Analysis and Interpretation – Dickens (Earth Science)
  • Production Technology – Hirasaki (Chem. E.)
  • Heat Transfer – Bayazitoglu (Mech. E.)
  • Reservoir Simulation for Production – Mohanty (Univ. of Houston)
  • Slope Failure – Spanos (Mech. E.)
  • Applications to
    • Energy Production and Seafloor Stability
    • Global Climate Change
hydrate research at rice
Hydrate Research at Rice

Rice Team Members

Yildiz Bayazitoglu (Mech. Engr.)

Ed Billups (Chemistry)

Walter G. Chapman (Chem. Engr.)

Jillene Connors (Baker Institute)

Jerry Dickens (Earth Science)

Brandon Dugan (Earth Science)

George Hirasaki (Chem. Engr.)

Chris Holmes (Shell Center for Sustainability)

Amy Jaffe (Baker Institute)

Paul Spanos (Mech. Engr.)

Colin Zelt (Earth Science)

Other Team Members

Raj Bishnoi (Univ. of Calgary)

Waylon House (Texas Tech)

Kalachand Sain (Nat. Geophys. Res. Inst., India)

Kishore Mohanty (Univ. of Houston)

business opportunities
Business Opportunities
  • Flow Assurance Strategies and Detecting Hydrates
  • Seafloor Stability
    • Near Wellbore Failure
    • Slope Failure
  • Energy Production
  • Global Climate Change
production issues
Production Issues
  • High Concentration of Hydrates
  • Production Strategy Depends on Accumulation Process
  • Seafloor Stability
  • Reservoir Model (Accumulation and Production)
    • Reservoir Heterogeneity
    • Lithology and Permeability of the formation
    • Brine Flux
    • Heat Effects and Thermal Conductivity
    • Mechanism and Rate of Dissociation
production response
Production Response
  • Possible Production from Messoyakha Field
    • Possibly 36% of the production (5 billion m3) from hydrates (Makogan, 1981)
  • Nankai Trough – Southeastern Coast of Japan
  • Mallik Production Test (Northern Coast of Canada)
  • Hot Ice 1 – North Slope of Alaska – Anadarko in Collaboration with DOE
production technologies
Production Technologies
  • Pressure Depletion
    • Free Gas Production

Produced Gas

Sea floor

Hydrate Containing


“Free” Gas

why are hydrates interesting21
Why are Hydrates Interesting?
  • Seafloor Stability

Model for seafloor stability at the gas hydrate stability limit from Booth, J.S., Winters, W.J. and Dillon, W.P., 1994.

why are hydrates interesting22
Why are Hydrates Interesting?
  • Seafloor Stability