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Oil and Natural Gas Programs - Methane Hydrates

Methane Hydrates
Gas hydrates, located in onshore Alaska and offshore of the U.S., contain huge resources of natural gas - if only 1% were economically producible, we could triple our resource base. With the nation's demand for natural gas growing, Office of Fossil Energy is accelerating research that could reveal new information about hydrate occurrences in nature, and that could lead to technologies for detecting, quantifying, and producing methane from these resources. The research activities will capitalize on deep water and Arctic drilling advances that have improved prospects for eventually locating and producing natural gas from hydrates. In addition to their potential as a resource, hydrates appear to have implications for the global climate, safety and seafloor stability.

Significant research is needed to provide the knowledge and technology to understand the global climate impact of hydrates by 2010, and commercially produce gas from hydrates staring the 2015-2020, when more conventional resources decline. Over the long-term, the production of natural gas from the U.S.'s vast deposits of methane hydrates, which is the program goal, could strengthen energy security and provide a major component of the Hydrogen Initiative. Understanding hydrates can also improve the scientific understanding of greenhouse gases and possibly offer future mechanisms for sequestering carbon dioxide. In the near-term, implications for drilling or producing oil and gas near or through hydrate formations must be understood to avoid significant environmental damage that could occur with conventional oil and gas operations.

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Page Last Modified:   August 7, 2008