The National Methane Hydrates R&D Program
DOE/NETL Methane Hydrate Projects
|Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrates Joint Industry Project (JIP) Characterizing Natural Gas Hydrates in the Deep Water Gulf of Mexico -
Applications for Safe Exploration and Production
||Last Reviewed 6/14/2013
The goal of this project is to develop technology and collect data to assist in the characterization of naturally occurring gas hydrates in the deep water Gulf of Mexico (GoM). The intent of the project is to create a better understanding of the impact of hydrates on safety and seafloor stability as well as to provide data that can be used by scientists in their study of climate change and assessment of the feasibility of marine hydrate as a potential future energy resource.
The Semi-Submersible Helix Q4000 used on the 21 day JIP Leg II Drilling and Logging Expedition
Performers / Contributors / JIP Members:
- Chevron Energy Technology Company JIP partner, project management, Drilling and Coring team lead
- Schlumberger Oilfield Services JIP member
- Halliburton Energy Services JIP member
- ConocoPhillips Inc. JIP member
- Total JIP member
- Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) JIP member
- Reliance Industries Ltd. JIP member
- StatoilHydro - JIP Member
- Korean National Oil Company (KNOC) - JIP Member
- Minerals Management Service non-cost-share JIP member
- Naval Research Lab pre-cruise site geochemical and thermal investigation
- US Geological Survey variety of contributions to the overall science program
- Rice University - Geologic Modeling
- Aumann & Associates Inc. - pressure coring tool evaluation and design
- Scripps Institute of Oceanography Science lead
- Georgia Institute of Technology Laboratory studies; development of ship-based sampling equipment
- AOA Geophysics - contribution to seismic evaluation and field site selection and characterization
- GeoTek Ltd pressure core analysis and transfer device development
This project is to develop technology and collect data to assist in the characterization of gas hydrates in the deep water GoM. The efforts undertaken in phases 1 and 2 of the project reflect industrys desire to more fully understand the safety issues related to conventional oil and gas operations in areas prone to hydrate occurrence. These goals necessitate utilization of advanced seismic processing, collection of samples to improve the validity of the assumptions that drive seismic interpretations, determination of the impact on wellbore stability, and the development of field sampling methods capable of providing the needed data.
The emphasis of activities under Phase 3 of the project is on the characterization of concentrated, reservoir-relevant, gas hydrate occurrence in coarse-grained intervals. This work will help to quantify the seismic and geologic hydrate prediction methodologies developed as a part of the project, while also providing valuable insight into the behavior of concentrated hydrate occurrence. This activity will also help to advance the major program goals of assessing the marine hydrate reservoir and determining the technical recoverability of marine hydrates.
Information resulting from this project has the potential to increase understanding of risks and appropriate operational procedures for conducting traditional oil/gas activities in areas of hydrate occurrence; advance techniques and technologies used to assess gas hydrates in field and laboratory settings; contribute to scientific understanding of the role of gas hydrate in the global climate; characterize gas hydrate occurrence in the GoM; and serve as vital step in determining the commercial viability of marine hydrate accumulations.
Phase 3 (to date)
- Completed modifications and testing of the the Instrumented Pressure Test Cell (IPTC) and Pressure Core Characterization Tool (PCCT).
- Entered into arrangements with the Japanese hydrate program to allow the testing/use of IPTC and PCCT tools through analyses of core collected during 2012.
- Completed the Chevron Leg III drilling safety assessment process, which mandated a Leg III operational plan with very specific operational and safety requirements and that focuses on shipboard logging and pressure core collection to be followed by analyses of cores from a shore-based facility.
- Presented project activity, status, and results to date at the 7th International Conference on Gas Hydrates in Edinburgh, Scotland.
- The final scientific results of the JIPs 2009 Leg II LWD program were published in a dedicated edition of the Journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology (Volume 34 June 2012) containng 15 full-length papers detailing site selection, field operations, and scientific interpretations of acquired data.
- Completed design and construction of a new pressure coring tool, and updated the pressure core analysis and transfer system.
- Completed design and construction of an enhanced pressure core manipulation and testing device and several pressure core sub-sample analysis tools.
- Completed initial selection of a Leg III science staff and definition of scientific targets and objectives.
- Public release of initial Leg II scientific results via the NETL website in March 2010.
- Successfully completed the 21 day JIP Leg II GoM Hydrate Drilling and Logging Expedition.
- Seven wells were drilled and logged at three different locations (WR313, GC955, and AC21).
Well logs from the WR313 H well
- Demonstrated the occurrence of gas hydrates at high saturations in reservoir-quality sands in the GoM.
- Found hydrate deposits in close accordance with pre-drill predictions, demonstrating the validity of the hydrate exploration and appraisal tools and techniques used in finding, delineating, and characterizing targeted accumulations.
- Logging featured the use of an advanced suite of logging-while-drilling tools that provided unprecedented 3-D images of the hydrate-bearing sediments.
- Wells drilled at WR313 represent the deepest gas hydrate research wells in the world to date.
- Discovered some of the most promising marine hydrate accumulations in the world.
- Completed a detailed site evaluation and selection for the Leg II (Phase 3A) drilling and logging expedition resulting in potential drilling targets within GoM lease blocks WR313, GC955, AC21/65, EB990/992, and GC781/825.
Phase 1 and 2
- Activities under phases 1 and 2 have been completed.
- Published scientific results of the 2005 Leg I (Phase 2) expedition as a dedicated volume of the Journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology (November 2008).
- Conducted a series of workshops to set the criteria for selection and recommend possible sites for Leg II and Leg III field sites.
- Furthered the development of pressure core capabilities by supporting the analysis of pressure cores taken during the Indian government's summer 2006 expedition.
- Produced and field tested new tools to enable ship-based handling and analyses of field samples from marine hydrate expeditions.
- In May 2005, conducted the first hydrate drilling, logging, and coring expedition in the GoM.
- Five wells at two distinct GoM locations (AV13/14, KC151)
- Collected an outstanding suite of well-logs and borehole seismic through the hydrate stability zone
- Collected over 200m of core
- Identified a 60m thick interval of significant hydrate saturation
- Demonstrated the viability of pre-drill techniques and technologies used for hydrate identification and characterization
- Demonstrated the ability to safely drill / operate in areas of GoM hydrate occurrence
- Completed an extensive array of laboratory studies on the physical and mechanical properties of fine-grained, hydrate-bearing sediments.
Current Status (June 2013)
Following the events of the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico, the conditions and requirements for drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico underwent a dramatic change that resulted in a substantial and detailed evaluation of what is plausible (and affordable) during the remainder of the project. As a result of this evaluation, the JIP and DOE have determined to focus the remainder of the project on the development and testing of an integrated suite of pressure coring and pressure core handling and analysis devices in collaboration with research and development experts from government, academia, and industry. The coring tools will have the flexibility to be used from various platforms in future DOE marine hydrate research expeditions. A decision has been made that a Leg III drilling / pressure coring expedition will not be conducted as part of this project.
Technical and planning meetings continue to occur in real time with groups working on design and development of the planned JIP pressure coring system. A decision has been made to base the system on the the prototype Hybrid PCS used by JOGMEC during their July 2012 hydrate pressure coring expedition in the Nankai Trough offshore Japan. The JIP version of the system will incorporate design modification recommendations based on results of those Japanese operations. Constructtion of the system and all necessary service equipment will be completed by late summer of 2013 with land-based drilling/coring tests slated for the fall of 2013 at the Catoosa test facility in Oklahoma.
Field tests of the IPTC and PCCT core analysis systems were conducted in Japan in January 2013. A team of international reseachers used the instruments to manipulate and analyze some of the methane hydrate pressure cores that were recovered by JOGMEC during a research expedition to the Nankai trough area off the Japanese coast in July 2012. The tests were very successful with both systems meeting design specifications.
Project Start: September 30, 2001
Project End: : March 31, 2014
Planned Total Project Cost Information:
Phase 1: DOE Contribution:$1,504,855, Recipient Contribution: $3,260,772
Phase 2: DOE Contribution:$10,992,620, Recipient Contribution: $5,613,664
Planned Phase 3: DOE Contribution:$27,718,408, Recipient Contribution: $5,878,557
Planned Total Funding:
DOE Contribution: $40,215,883 (to date $34,751,964);
Performer Contribution: $14,752,993
NETL – Skip Pratt (email@example.com or 304-285-4396)
Chevron Energy Technology Company Cung Vu (firstname.lastname@example.org or 832-854-4251)
If you are unable to reach the above personeel, please contact the content manager.
In addition to the information provided here, a full listing of project related publications and presentations as well as a listing of funded students can be found in the Methane Hydrate Program Bibliography [PDF].
Semi-Annual Report April - September 2013 [PDF-6.49MB]
Semi-Annual Report April - September 2012 [PDF-1.98MB]
Semi-Annual Report October 2011 - March 2012 [PDF-1.19MB]
Semi-Annual Report April - September 2011 [PDF-1.79MB]
Semi-Annual Report October 2010 - March 2011 [PDF-1.02MB]
Semi-Annual Report April - September 2010 [PDF-352KB]
Initial Scientific Results of the Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrates Joint Industry Project Leg II
Semi-Annual Report October 2009 - March 2010 [PDF-137KB]
2008 ICGH Paper - Designing a Reservoir Flow Rate Experiment for the GOM Hydrate JIP Leg II LWD Drilling [PDF]
2008 ICGH Paper - Site Selection for DOE/JIP Gas Hydrates Drilling in the Northern Gulf of Mexico [PDF]
2008 ICGH Paper - Subsurface Characterization of the Hydrate Bearing Sediments Near Alaminos Canyon 818 [PDF]
2008 ICGH Paper - Observed Gas Hydrate Morphologies in Marine Sediment [PDF]
2008 ICGH Paper - Constraining Gas Hydrate Occurrence in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Slope: Fine Scale Analysis of Grain-Size in Hydrate-Bearing Sediments [PDF]
2005 GOM Final Cruise Report [PDF-6.13MB]
Chevron JIP website - [external site] JIP information, cruise reports, and photos
Well Logs from the 2005 GOM Cruise [external site - Chevron JIP]
Results of Core Sample Analysis - Fugro Operations and Geotechnical Investigations [PDF-7.13MB]
Semi-Annual Report April 2009 - September 2009 [PDF-1.08MB]
Semi-Annual Report October 2008 - March 2009 [PDF-1.55MB]
Semi-Annual Report April 2008 - September 2008 [PDF-265KB]
Semi-Annual Report October 2007 - March 2008 [PDF-933KB]
Semi-Annual Report April 2007 - September 2007 [PDF-6.83MB]
Semi-Annual Report October 2006 - March 2007 [PDF-829KB]
Semi-Annual Report April 2006 - September 2006 [PDF-428KB]
Semi-Annual Report October 2005 - March 2006 [PDF-6.39MB]
Semi-Annual Report April 2005 - September 2005 [PDF-2.16MB]
Semi-Annual Report October 2004 - March 2005 [PDF-1.68MB]
Cruise Logging Report [PDF-1.12MB]
Spring 2005 GOM expedition website - includes science reports and a photo gallery
Measurements for Assessment of Hydrate Related Geohazards [PDF-151KB] DOE Topical Report for DOE Award Number DE-FC26-01NT41330. September 2004.
Measurements for Assessment of Hydrate Related Geohazards [PDF-194KB] - September, 2004
Protocols for Seismic Data Acquisition and Processing to Characterize Natural Gas Hydrate Deposits in Deepwater [PDF-137KB] DOE Topical Report for DOE Award Number DE-FC26-01NT41330. March 2004.
Theoretical Modeling and Analysis fro Gas Hydrate Quantification from Prestack Seismic Data in the Northern Deepwater Gulf of Mexico [PDF-15.5MB] - November, 2003
Gulf of Mexico Joint Industry Project [PDF-3063KB] - October, 2003
Results from the DOE Methane Hydrate R&D Conference and the Chevron JIP Workshop
[PDF-183KB] - November, 2003
Characterizing Natural Gas Hydrates in the Deep Water GOM [PDF-1295KB] - semiannual report - March, 2003
Fossil Energy techline: New Projects to Explore Energy Potential, Safety Issues of Methane Hydrates