CO2/CH4 exchange in a sandstone-hosted methane hydratereservoir was executed in the field, following several years of laboratoryexperimentation. Reservoir simulation and laboratory data informedfieldtrial design, including use of a cell-to-cell model that included correctliquid/vapor/hydrate phase behavior of methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, andwater.
Most concepts for producing methane from hydrate deposits rely ondepressurization, heating, or chemical melting. These techniques resultin dissociation of hydrate into its water and gas constituents. Effectiveexchange of CO2 for CH4 in the crystalline hydratelattice, without dissociation, was long deemed an improbable recovery strategybecause experimental results on bulk hydrate samples indicated very slowreaction kinetics. Recent laboratory tests documented enhanced exchangekinetics and efficiency, attributed to the increased surface area present inporous media. A series of laboratory tests ranging from simple gas-richsystems to more complex gas-deficient / water-rich systems guided the design ofa field test program. Ignik Sikumi #1 was drilled in 2011 on the AlaskaNorth Slope, designed specifically for testing CO2/CH4exchange in hydrate-bearing sandstones.
Ignik Sikumi #1 was drilled vertically with chilled oil-based mud to a depthof 2600ft. Four hydrate-bearing sandstones were encountered, andpetrophysical evaluation indicated the Sagavanirktok " C Sand" hosted thehighest hydrate saturations. These sandstones occur in the subsurface atreservoir conditions similar to temperatures and pressure conditions of labtests. Reservoir modeling with conventional simulators and in-housecell-to-cell models guided both equipment design and test parameters. Anticipated low injection rates and cryogenic injectant required the design ofspecialized pumping equipment. Operations at Ignik Sikumi #1 re-commencedin December 2011. Following perforation, over 200,000 scf of mixedCO2/N2 gas was injected. A short unassisted flowperiod was followed by extended production testing via jet pumping. Results from the production test will be shown.
CO2/CH4 exchange is a novel approach to recovermethane from sandstone-hosted hydrates. Field trial has validatedlaboratory results and reservoir simulations, and has proven thatCO2 can be injected into naturally occurring sandstone-hostedhydrates. Subsequent flowback/drawdown testing produced injectants(nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and tracer gases) methane, water, and very finesand.