Hydrate Melting in Soil around Hot Conductor Academic Article uri icon


  • There is ice in the Gulf of Mexico, and this type of ice called gas hydrates burns when ignited. Gas hydrates form slowly within the soil mass when the gas seeping up from offshore oil reservoirs mixes with water under high pressures (>500 m of water) and low temperatures (a few degrees Celsius). The oil travels from the well to the platform through a conductor pipe. The oil and therefore the conductor are very hot and melt the existing hydrates that are within the depth of the foundation piles. The melting process generates a large amount of gas that can endanger the stability of the foundation. The rate at which the temperature rises around the hot conductor in the hydrate rich soil is studied using the finite-element method (FEM). A detailed thermodynamic analysis is performed. It includes a laboratory experiment to help validate FEM, a study of the mesh size, the thermodynamic analysis results, a study of the conductor size, and of the latent heat influence. The results can be used to evaluate the temperature rise around a hot pipe buried in soil and therefore the propagation of the hydrate melting front around the conductor and toward the piles.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering

author list (cited authors)

  • Briaud, J., & Chaouch, A.

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

  • Briaud, Jean-Louis||Chaouch, Adel

publication date

  • July 1997