The Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrates Joint Industry Project (JIP) is a consortium of production and service companies and some government agencies formed to address the challenges that gas hydrates pose for deepwater exploration and production. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and with scientific assistance from the U.S. Geological Survey and academic partners, the JIP has focused on studies to assess hazards associated with drilling the fine-grained, hydrate-bearing sediments that dominate much of the shallow subseafloor in the deepwater (>500 m) Gulf of Mexico. In preparation for an initial drilling, logging, and coring program, the JIP sponsored a multi-year research effort that included: (a) the development of borehole stability models for hydrate-bearing sediments; (b) exhaustive laboratory measurements of the physical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments; (c) refinement of new techniques for processing industry-standard 3-D seismic data to constrain gas hydrate saturations; and (d) construction of instrumentation to measure the physical properties of sediment cores that had never been removed from in situ hydrostatic pressure conditions. Following review of potential drilling sites, the JIP launched a 35-day expedition in Spring 2005 to acquire well logs and sediment cores at sites in Atwater Valley lease blocks 13/14 and Keathley Canyon lease block 151 in the northern Gulf of Mexico minibasin province. The Keathley Canyon site has a bottom simulating reflection at ???392 m below the seafloor, while the Atwater Valley location is characterized by seafloor mounds with an underlying upwarped seismic reflection consistent with upward fluid migration and possible shoaling of the base of the gas hydrate stability (BGHS). No gas hydrate was recovered at the drill sites, but logging data, and to some extent cores, suggest the occurrence of gas hydrate in inferred coarser-grained beds and fractures, particularly between 220 and 330 m below the seafloor at the Keathley Canyon site. This paper provides an overview of the results of the initial phases of the JIP work and introduces the 15 papers that make up this special volume on the scientific results related to the 2005 logging and drilling expedition.
Additional Publication Details
Scientific results from Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrates Joint Industry Project Leg??1??drilling: Introduction and overview