Equilibrium in the Methane-Carbon Dioxide-Hydrogen Sulfide-Sulfur System
- Harvey T. Kennedy (A&M College of Texas) | Denton R. Wieland (U. of Tulsa)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- 1960. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
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Published in Petroleum Transactions, AIME, Volume 219, 1960, pages 166-169.
The object of the work reported here was to determine the content of elemental sulfur in gaseous methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and in mixtures of these gases, at pressures and temperatures encountered in natural gas reservoirs.
Sulfur content at equilibrium is reported for pure methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and on three binary mixtures of each of the three pairs of gases at pressures of 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 and 6,000 psia and at temperatures of 150, 200 and 250F. In addition, the sulfur content of three ternary mixtures at the same temperatures and pressures are reported.
The results indicate that the sulfur content is higher in the gases at higher temperatures and pressures. The content is highest in hydrogen sulfide, intermediate in carbon dioxide and lowest in methane.
At ordinary pressures and temperatures, the concentration of a non-volatile material, such as sulfur in a gas at equilibrium, is a function of the vapor pressure of the material and is independent of the nature of the gas. As the pressure and temperature increase, the gas assumes some of the properties of liquids, including the power to dissolve other liquids and solids, to an extent dependent on the nature of both the gas and the material dissolved. At equilibrium, the content of sulfur in the several gases considered here may thus be considered as solubilities which are fixed for a given composition of gas, temperature and pressure.
The study of the solubility of elemental sulfur in gases is of interest because sulfur is sometimes present in reservoirs producing natural gas and must be present in the vapor phase. Upon reduction of pressure and temperature, the sulfur precipitates from solution in the reservoir and in the tubing and fittings.
Due to the fact that the greatest pressure drop in the reservoir is around the wellbore, the volume of sulfur precipitated will be greatest in this locality and can cause a substantial reduction in the permeability of the formation in this area. As the natural gas flows up the tubing string, the pressure and temperature are further decreased, causing further sulfur precipitation. If the volume of free sulfur is large and remedial measures are not taken, complete plugging of the tubing can occur.
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