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The methane hydrate formation and the resource estimate resulting from free gas migration in seeping seafloor hydrate stability zone

  It is a typical multiphase flow process for hydrate formation in seeping seafloor sediments. Free gas can not only be present but also take part in formation of hydrate. The volume fraction of free gas in local pore of hydrate stable zone (HSZ) influences the formation of hydrate in seeping seafloor area, and methane flux determines the abundance and resource of hydrate-bearing reservoirs. In this paper, a multiphase flow model including water (dissolved methane and salt)-free gas hydrate has been established to describe this kind of flow-transfer-reaction process where there exists a large scale of free gas migration and transform in seafloor pore. In the order of three different scenarios, the conversions among permeability, capillary pressure, phase saturations and salinity along with the formation of hydrate have been deducted. Furthermore, the influence of four sorts of free gas saturations and three classes of methane fluxes on hydrate formation and the resource has also been analyzed and compared. Based on the rules drawn from the simulation, and combined information gotten from drills in field, the methane hydrate(MH) formation in Shenhu area of South China Sea has been forecasted. It has been speculated that there may breed a moderate methane flux below this seafloor HSZ. If the flux is about 0.5 kg m(-2) a(-1), then it will go on to evolve about 2700 ka until the hydrate saturation in pore will arrive its peak (about 75%). Approximately 1.47 x 10(9) m(3) MH has been reckoned in this marine basin finally, is about 13 times over preliminary estimate. (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.