The main components in producing natural gas hydrate (whether for gas storage or for transportation), are water and natural gas, at low temperatures and high pressures. Each variable has a significant effect on the formation of gas hydrate. It is therefore critical to analyze the effect of each variable on hydrate formation to ascertain the best conditions required for a successful gas hydrate formation process.
This research evaluates the effect of these critical elements: temperature, pressure, gas composition, and water upon gas hydrate formation. This paper summarizes the findings of a sensitivity analysis using varying natural gas compositions. Results show that the composition of the natural gas can affect the temperature and pressure required for formation of the hydrate. Even more significant is the effect of impurities in the natural gas on the pressure temperature (PT) curves of the hydrate. Carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and nitrogen are the main impurities in natural gas affecting the hydrate formation. At a particular temperature, nitrogen increases the required hydrate formation pressure while both carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide lower the required hydrate formation pressure.
The quantity of water required for hydrate formation is an important variable in the process. The water to gas ratio vary depending on the composition of the natural gas and the pressure. Generally the mole ratio of water to natural gas is about 6:1; however, to achieve maximum hydrate formation an incremental increase in water or pressure may be required. This is an interesting trade off between additional water and additional pressure in obtaining maximum volume of hydrate and is shown in this analysis.