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07 september 2012

Advances Research on Methane Hydrates

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Energy Department today announced the selection of 14 new research projects across 11 states that will be a part of an expanding portfolio of projects designed to increase the understanding of methane hydrates’ potential as a future energy supply. Methane hydrates are 3D ice-lattice structures with natural gas locked inside, and are found both onshore and offshore – including under the Arctic permafrost and in ocean sediments along nearly every continental shelf in the world. Today’s projects build on the completion of a successful, unprecedented test earlier this year that was able to safely extract a steady flow of natural gas from methane hydrates on the North Slope of Alaska. Find more information on methane hydrates HERE.

“The Energy Department’s long term investments in shale gas research during the 70s and 80s helped pave the way for today’s boom in domestic natural gas production that is strengthening U.S. energy security while creating thousands of American jobs,” said Secretary Chu. “While research on methane hydrates is still in the early stages, these research efforts as part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy could potentially yield significant new supplies of natural gas and further expand U.S. energy supplies.”

The research announced today will advance the understanding of the nature and occurrence of deepwater and arctic gas hydrates and their implications for future resource development and environmental performance. While prior Energy Department research and outside studies have confirmed that the resource volume present appears to be substantial and the accumulations that can be explored for and produced using existing technologies are potentially numerous, significant research remains to (1) analyze the role of gas hydrates in the natural environment (2) demonstrate that gas hydrates can be produced commercially in an environmentally responsible manner and, (3) further assess resource volumes, particularly in deepwater settings.

These new projects, managed by the Energy Department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, will focus research on field programs for deepwater hydrate characterization, the response of methane hydrate systems to changing climates, and advances in the understanding of gas-hydrate-bearing deposits. 

Further details on:  http://energy.gov/node/387289 

 
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