Geomechanical, hydraulic and thermal characteristics of deep oceanic sandy sediments recovered during the second Ulleung Basin gas hydrate expedition

Yohan Cha, Tae Sup Yun, Young Jin Kim, Joo Yong Lee, Tae Hyuk Kwon

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15 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the geomechanical, hydraulic and thermal characteristics of natural sandy sediments collected during the Ulleung Basin gas hydrate expedition 2, East Sea, offshore Korea. The studied sediment formation is considered as a potential target reservoir for natural gas production. The sediments contained silt, clay and sand fractions of 21%, 1.3% and 77.7%, respectively, as well as diatomaceous minerals with internal pores. The peak friction angle and critical state (or residual state) friction angle under drained conditions were ∼26° and ∼22°, respectively. There was minimal or no apparent cohesion intercept. Stress- and strain-dependent elastic moduli, such as tangential modulus and secant modulus, were identified. The sediment stiffness increased with increasing confining stress, but degraded with increasing strain regime. Variations in water permeability with water saturation were obtained by fitting experimental matric suction-water saturation data to the Maulem-van Genuchen model. A significant reduction in thermal conductivity (from ∼1.4-1.6 to ∼0.5-0.7 W·m-1·K-1) was observed when water saturation decreased from 100% to ∼10%-20%. In addition, the electrical resistance increased quasi-linearly with decreasing water saturation. The geomechanical, hydraulic and thermal properties of the hydrate-free sediments reported herein can be used as the baseline when predicting properties and behavior of the sediments containing hydrates, and when the hydrates dissociate during gas production. The variations in thermal and hydraulic properties with changing water and gas saturation can be used to assess gas production rates from hydrate-bearing deposits. In addition, while depressurization of hydrate-bearing sediments inevitably causes deformation of sediments under drained conditions, the obtained strength and stiffness properties and stress-strain responses of the sedimentary formation under drained loading conditions can be effectively used to assess sediment responses to depressurization to ensure safe gas production operations in this potential target reservoir.

Original languageEnglish
Article number775
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for providing valuable comments and suggestions. This research was supported by a grant (13SCIPS04) from Smart Civil Infrastructure Research Program funded by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Korean government and Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA), by the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation & Planning (KETEP) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) of the Republic of Korea (No. 20152520100760), and by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea Government (MSIP) (2011-0030040).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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