The Reservoir GeoMechanics Simulator (RGMS or RGM simulator), a geomechanics simulator based on the finite element method (FEM) and parallelized using the Message Passing Interface (MPI), is developed in this work to model the stresses and deformations in subsurface systems. RGMS can be used standalone or coupled with flow and transport models. pTOUGH+ HYDRATE (pT+H) V1.5, a parallel MPI-based version of the serial TOUGH+HYDRATE (T+H) V1.5 code that describes mass and heat flow in hydrate-bearing porous media, is also developed. Using the fixed-stress split iterative scheme, RGMS is coupled with the pT+H V1.5 codes to investigate the geomechanical responses associated with gas production from hydrate accumulations.
In the first paper of this series, we discuss the governing equations underlying physics and their mathematical representation in the modeling of the geomechanics, methane hydrate, and coupled problems as well as the numerical methods and the parallelization processes (involving a domain decomposition method based on the MPI approach) used for the parallel simulators. Two 2D problems (in Cartesian and radial-cylindrical coordinates) and a 3D Cartesian coordinate problem are created to validate the FEM and the parallelization method in RGMS. The displacements and the maximum principal effective stresses obtained from the RGMS solution of these three problems are compared to those from the commercial software Ansys Mechanical and are shown to practically coincide. The parallelization of pT+H V1.5 is validated by comparing its results to those from the serial T+H V1.5 code in a study that involved (a) fluid production from a large-scale 2D cylindrical system describing a real-life oceanic hydrate deposit and (b) a simplified geomechanical model based on hydrate-dependent pore compressibility. The coupling method is validated by comparing the numerical results to the analytical solutions of the Terzaghi and the McNamee-Gibson problems. The parallelization validation of the coupled simulator is achieved by comparing the results obtained for different numbers of processes in the solution of the problems used for the pT+H V1.5 parallelization validation with the full geomechanical model. The results clearly demonstrate the validity and reliability of the parallel codes (a) RGMS, (b) pT+H V1.5, and the (c) coupled pT+H V1.5 and RGM simulators, which can be used to solve the large-scale physics of complex problems.