Gas hydrates are the foremost flow assurance issue in deep water operations. Since heat transfer is a limiting factor in gas hydrate formation processes, a better understanding of its relation to hydrate formation is important.
This work presents findings from experimental study of the effect of gas hydrate content on heat transfer through a cylindrical wall. The experiments were carried out at temperature conditions similar to those encountered in flowlines in deep water conditions. Experiments were conducted on methane hydrate, Tetrahydrofuran hydrate, and ethylene oxide hydrate respectively in stirred cylindrical high pressure autoclave cells. Methane hydrate was formed at 90 bars (pressure), and 8°C, followed by a cooling/heating cycle in the range of 8°C → 4°C → 8°C. Tetrahydrofuran (THF) and ethylene oxide (EO) hydrates were formed at atmospheric pressure and system temperature of 1°C in contact with atmospheric air. This was followed by a heating/cooling cycle within the range of 1°C → 4°C → 1°C, since the hydrate equilibrium temperature of THF hydrate is 4.98°C in contact with air at atmospheric pressure. The experimental conditions of the latter hydrate formers were more controlled, given that both THF and EO are miscible with water.
We found in all cases a general trend of decreasing heat transfer coefficient of the cell content with increasing concentration of hydrate in the cell, indicating that hydrate formation creates a heat transfer barrier. The hydrate equilibrium temperature seemed to change with a change in the stoichiometric concentration of THF and EO. While the methane hydrate cooling/heating cycles were performed under quiescent conditions, the effect of stirring was investigated for the latter hydrate formers.