The Research Consortium for Methane Hydrate Resources in Japan (MH21 Research Consortium) has been evaluating methanehydrate (MH) reservoirs located in the eastern Nankai trough from the viewpoints of geology, geophysics, petrophysics, and reservoir/production engineering. As one of these studies, we have been predicting gas/water production performances from these MH reservoirs showing diverse characteristics. This paper presents the results of our examinations on the applicability of a variety of MH dissociation/production methods to these MH reservoirs and on the feasibility of future development in terms of gas production and economics. Eastern Nankai trough MH reservoirs, which are composed of alternating beds of sand, silt, and clay in turbidite sediments, have various conditions of clay distribution and of initial pressure, temperature, permeability, and MH saturation. Some of these reservoirs contain MH of high saturation at a certain interval (MH concentrated reservoir), while in the others, MH is deposited sparsely (MH-nonconcentrated reservoir). Detailed numerical reservoir models were constructed for both MH-concentrated and -nonconcentrated reservoirs, consulting the well-log and seismicinterpretation results. MH-dissociation/-production performances were then predicted through numerical simulation, assuming the application of various MH-dissociation methods (such as depressurization, wellbore heating, hot-water huff n'puff, and hot waterflooding. The simulation studies clarified the difference in the gas production between MH-concentrated and -nonconcentrated reservoirs. These studies also revealed that the permeability not only of sand layers but also of clay layers has a significant effect on the gas productivity from MH-concentrated reservoirs. Furthermore, it was suggested that the hot-water injection was effective when it was applied as a secondary-recovery method after depressurization. Simple economic analyses on the basis of these simulation results exhibited the promise that some MH reservoirs in the Eastern Nankai trough could be developed economically if the well spacing and MH-dissociation/-production methods were designed appropriately.
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