Abstract

Methane hydrate has been found below the seafloor in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Japan in a large amount. During the methane hydrate transportation, it is concerned that the riser pipe or the flowline can be plugged by the hydrate reformation and the freezing of seawater. The degradation and reformation kinetics of methane hydrate are mainly controlled by temperature, pressure, and methane concentration in the system; however, it is difficult to predict these factors in the multiphase flow because they are affected by fluid dynamics and heat transfer. To obtain the experimental data of the degradation kinetics, we developed a closed-loop experimental apparatus consisting of jacketed tubings used as heat exchangers, three acrylic units to observe the flow, and a slurry pump. The flow rate, salinity, temperature, and pressure in the apparatus were continuously measured in the circulation experiments. The experiment results showed that the freezing condition of the fluid in the pipe is affected by the temperature of the outside of the pipe or the particle in the fluid. This paper reports some experimental data obtained in several cases, including those conducted under freezing conditions.

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