Methane hydrates in nature - Current knowledge and challenges

Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data
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Abstract

Recognizing the importance of methane hydrate research and the need for a coordinated effort, the United States Congress enacted the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000. At the same time, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in Japan launched a research program to develop plans for a methane hydrate exploratory drilling project in the Nankai Trough. India, China, the Republic of Korea, and other nations also have established large methane hydrate research and development programs. Government-funded scientific research drilling expeditions and production test studies have provided a wealth of information on the occurrence of methane hydrates in nature. Numerous studies have shown that the amount of gas stored as methane hydrates in the world may exceed the volume of known organic carbon sources. However, methane hydrates represent both a scientific and technical challenge, and much remains to be learned about their characteristics and occurrence in nature. Methane hydrate research in recent years has mostly focused on: (1) documenting the geologic parameters that control the occurrence and stability of methane hydrates in nature, (2) assessing the volume of natural gas stored within various methane hydrate accumulations, (3) analyzing the production response and characteristics of methane hydrates, (4) identifying and predicting natural and induced environmental and climate impacts of natural methane hydrates, (5) analyzing the methane hydrate role as a geohazard, (6) establishing the means to detect and characterize methane hydrate accumulations using geologic and geophysical data, and (7) establishing the thermodynamic phase equilibrium properties of methane hydrates as a function of temperature, pressure, and gas composition. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL) combined their efforts in 2012 to assess the contributions that scientific drilling has made and could continue to make to advance our understanding of methane hydrates in nature. COL assembled a Methane Hydrate Project Science Team with members from academia, industry, and government. This Science Team worked with COL and DOE to develop and host the Methane Hydrate Community Workshop, which surveyed a substantial cross section of the methane hydrate research community for input on the most important research developments in our understanding of methane hydrates in nature and their potential role as an energy resource, a geohazard, and/or as an agent of global climate change. Our understanding of how methane hydrates occur in nature is still growing and evolving, and it is known with certainty that field, laboratory, and modeling studies have contributed greatly to our understanding of hydrates in nature and will continue to be a critical source of the information needed to advance our understanding of methane hydrates.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Methane hydrates in nature - Current knowledge and challenges
Series title Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data
DOI 10.1021/je500604h
Volume 60
Issue 2
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher American Chemical Society
Publisher location Columbus, OH
Contributing office(s) Central Energy Resources Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 319
Last page 329
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N