A NEW METHOD FOR THE DETECTION AND QUANTIFICATION OF DEEP-OCEAN METHANE HYDRATES USING SEISMICS Wojtowitz, Gabrielle; Zervos, Antonis; Clayton, Chris R.I.
Methane gas hydrates have attracted significant international interest as a potential future energy resource, but also as a geotechnical hazard for offshore operations related to hydrocarbon recovery. In this context, the abilities to detect the presence of hydrate in marine sediments and to quantify the amount of hydrate contained therein, have become increasingly important over the years. Detection and quantification of hydrates are done on the basis of seismic surveys, which measure indirectly the bulk dynamic properties of large volumes of sediment in situ. Seismic data are then interpreted using an effective medium model, which employs theoretical assumptions to relate wave velocities to gas hydrate content of the sediment. Wave velocity can then be used to infer hydrate concentration levels. A host of such effective medium models exists in the literature. Many of these models have been calibrated on and tested on specific sites, and are not readily transferable to other settings. In addition, many models ignore the existence of heterogeneities of the host sediment, or the inhomogeneous distribution of hydrate within it. These, however, are factors that may have a significant impact on the seismic signature of the sediment-hydrate system, and thus on the predicted quantity of hydrate. This paper presents a review of existing effective medium models and identifies general areas for improvement. A new numerical modelling method is outlined that enhances existing effective medium approaches, by taking explicitly into account different hydrate morphologies within the host sediment.
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