Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gulf of Mexico Methane Hydrate Update

Washington, DC — A joint-federal-agency 15-day research expedition in the northern Gulf of Mexico yielded innovative high-resolution seismic data and imagery that will help refine characterizations of large methane hydrate resources in the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE), the information will be used to refine estimates of the nature, distribution and concentration of gas hydrate in the vicinity of 2009 drill sites.  Gas hydrates are ice-like substances formed when certain gases combine with water at specific pressures and temperatures, and represent a potentially vast future energy resource.

New data and imagery from the expedition, planned by DOE, the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and conducted by the USGS, will also help assess how useful specialized seismic data may be to estimating hydrate saturations in deepwater sediments. 

Deposits of gas hydrate are widespread in marine sediments beneath the ocean floor and in sediments within and beneath permafrost areas, where pressure-temperature conditions keep the gas trapped in the hydrate structure. Methane is the gas most often trapped in these deposits, making gas hydrates a potentially significant source for natural gas around the world.

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