Basin-scale gas hydrate-free gas re-cycling process derived from 3D numerical modeling at the Green Canyon province, Gulf of Mexico

Burwicz, Ewa B., Hensen, Christian, Wallmann, Klaus, Haeckel, Matthias and Reichel, Thomas (2016) Basin-scale gas hydrate-free gas re-cycling process derived from 3D numerical modeling at the Green Canyon province, Gulf of Mexico [Poster] In: Gordon Research Conference on Natural Gas Hydrate Systems, 28.02.-04.03.2016, Galvestone, TX, US.

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Gas migration pathways in the Gulf of Mexico are strongly influenced by the extensive formation and time evolution of salt canopies, welds and sheets. This multi-level salt system (known as the Louann Salt formation) deposited mostly within Callovian age (upper Middle Jurassic) and mobilized during late Miocene up to Pliocene-Pleistocene times controls the extension and direction of petroleum components migration over the entire history of the basin which, in return, has a major impact on potential gas transportation into the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ). In the context of gas hydrate formation, presence of extensive salt deposits tends to bend gas migration pathways from vertical (typical for the Gulf of Mexico region) towards rather horizontal and dispersed. However, amalgamation of two or more salt structures often results in re-focusing of the flow towards the local topographic subsalt heights. Together with the formation of local sediment discontinuity structures such as faults developing at the rims and tops of rootless salt deposits related to further stages of allochthonous salt mobilization, new high-permeability migration pathways develop and act as direct connection for the thermogenic gas to the GHSZ.
Our study presents the 3D modeling solution quantifying and exploring the gas hydrate accumulation potential in the marine environment experiencing salt tectonics such as the Green Canyon, Gulf of Mexico. This modeling study evaluates the potential of bio- and thermogenic gas hydrate formation within Pliocene-Pleistocene reservoir layers based on full basin re-construction which accounts for depositional and transient thermal history of the basin, source rock maturation, petroleum generation, expulsion and migration, salt tectonics and associated faults development. Based on a numerical study calibrated with the existing field data, we present a new distribution pattern of gas hydrates attributed to both microbial and thermogenic origin.
We present here an explanation for a formation mechanism of large gas hydrate amounts (> 70 vol. %) wide-spread at the base of the stability zone as a result of the gas hydrate-free gas recycling process enhanced by very high Neogene sedimentation rates in the region. We suggest that the rapid development of secondary intra-salt mini-basins situated on top of the allochthonous salt deposits and following sediment subsidence caused a consequent dislocation of the GHSZ lower boundary and led to efficient gas hydrate dissociation process followed by a free gas re-charge into the GHSZ.

Document Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Keywords: gas hydrate, Gulf of Mexico, 3D basin modeling, methane recycling
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2016 07:55
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2016 07:55

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