Influence of water saturation and water memory on CO2 hydrate formation/dissociation in porous media under flowing condition

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Injection of high-pressure CO2 into depleted gas reservoirs can lead to low temperatures promoting formation of hydrate in the near wellbore area resulting in reduced injection rates. The design of effective mitigation methods requires an understanding of the impact of crucial parameters on the formation and dissociation of CO2 hydrate within the porous medium under flowing conditions. This study investigates the influence of water saturation (ranging from 20 % to 40 %) on the saturation and kinetics of CO2 hydrate during continuous CO2 injection. The experiments were conducted under a medical X-ray computed tomography (CT) to monitor the dynamics of hydrate growth inside the core and to calculate the hydrate saturation profile. The experimental data reveal increase in CO2 hydrate saturation with increasing water saturation levels. The extent of permeability reduction is strongly dependent on the initial water saturation: beyond a certain water saturation the core is fully blocked. For water saturations representative of the depleted gas fields, although the amount of generated hydrate is not sufficient to fully block the CO2 flow path, a significant reduction in permeability (approximately 80 %) is measured. It is also observed that the volume of water + hydrate phases increases during hydrate formation, indicating a lower-than-water density for CO2 hydrate. Having a history of hydrate at the same water saturation leads to an increase in CO2 consumption compared to the primary formation of hydrate, confirming the existence of the water memory effect in porous media.