A large percentage of the global carbon inventory is thought to exist in methane and other light hydrocarbons trapped in hydrates (also called methane clathrates, hydromethane, methane ice, fire ice, natural gas hydrate or gas hydrate). Methane hydrates are found in permafrost, the shallow marine geosphere, deep sedimentary structures and in outcrops on the ocean floor. The release of methane gas from hydrates has been linked to rapid climate change and potentially could become important in modern day climate warming and ocean acidification. Quintessa has technical and strategic consultancy expertise that can provide independent assessments of the environmental impact of methane hydrates.
In particular, Quintessa provides research and assessment services in the application of coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical (THMC) modelling to improve understanding of hydrate systems and their potential evolution. Quintessa has experience in modelling methane hydrates using TOUGH+Hydrate software. However, our most recent work has made use of Quintessa's general purpose modelling tool, QPAC, with processes including multiphase fluid flow, heat flow, hydrate stability equilibria, methane dissolution, salt dissolution/precipitation and diffusion. Additional coupled processes such as CO2-CH4 exchange and deformation of sediments can be implemented in QPAC giving a flexible tool to simulate the behaviour of hydrates for problems relating to resources, climate change and slope stability. As an example, QPAC results have been compared with output from the other teams taking part in the Methane Hydrate Reservoir Simulator Code Comparison Study coordinated by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the US Geological Survey (USGS). An associated poster describing Quintessa’s work was presented at the American Geophysical Union’s 2015 Fall meeting.