Natural gas hydrate, as an unconventional resource, has been attracting increasing attention. Understanding the characteristics of methane hydrate formation and dissociation in porous media is important for developing gas hydrate-bearing reservoirs. This work discusses the use of low-field nuclear magnetic resonance (LF-NMR) technology to investigate the formation and dissociation of methane hydrate in the sandstone.
In this work, an experimental assembly wherein methane hydrate can form and dissociate, is used to conduct LF-NMR measurements. LF-NMR, as a noninvasive measurement technology, combines the transverse relaxation time (T2) measurement with the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). T2 measurements can explore the characteristics of methane hydrate formation and dissociation in core samples from a pore-scale perspective. MRI can display the spatial distribution of water from a core-scale perspective. The excess-gas method and the excess-water method are successively applied to form methane hydrate, and depressurization is applied to dissociate methane hydrate in the laboratory. The characteristics of methane hydrate formation and dissociation is studied in the sandstone.
Experimental results show that the signal intensity of short T2 and long T2 decreases simultaneously in the process of the methane hydrate formation using the excess-gas method, indicating that methane hydrate is formed in both small and large pores. When using the excess-water method, the signal intensity of long T2 decreases, and the signal intensity of short T2 increases in the process of the methane hydrate formation, indicating that methane hydrate is mainly formed in large pores. Methane hydrate is dissociated simultaneously in both small and large pores when using the depressurization method. Water content in small pores gradually increases. Capillary pressure causes some water to remain in the core samples following dissociation. Water content in large pores decreases initially and then increases during depressurization. In the early stages of depressurization, more water leaves large pores than is generated by hydrate dissociation. In the later stages of depressurization, less water leaves the large pores than is generated by hydrate dissociation.
This study may inspire the new understanding on distribution of fluid in sediments during the process of accumulation and exploitation of natural gas hydrates.