Experimental studies of natural gas hydrates

Natural gas hydrates (NGH) are ice-like materials formed under low temperature and high pressure conditions. NGH consist of water molecules interconnected through hydrogen bonds which create an open structural lattice that has the ability to encage smaller hydrocarbons from natural gas or liquid hydrocarbons as guest molecules.

Interest in natural gas hydrates as a potential energy resource has grown significantly in recent years as awareness of the volumes of recoverable gas becomes more focused (Sloan and Koh, 2008). The size of this resource has significant implications for worldwide energy supplies, should it become technically and economically viable to produce. Although great efforts are being made, there are several unresolved challenges related to all parts in the process towards full scale hydrate reservoir exploitation. Some important issues are: 1) Localize, characterize, and evaluate resources, 2) technology for safe and economic production 3) safety and seafloor stability issues related to drilling and production. Experimental efforts within the group investigate the possibilities for producing natural gas from gas hydrate by CO2 replacement. By exposing the hydrate structure a thermodynamically preferred hydrate former, CO2, it is shown a spontaneous conversion from methane hydrate to CO2 hydrate. In addition, resistivity and permeability measurements are conducted to obtain fundamental characteristics of water-gas-hydrate saturated porous media.

PhD and MS studies are available within this research activity. Contact persons: Professor Arne Graue, Professor Bjørn Kvamme and post doctor Geir Ersland