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Alaska Natural Gas Hydrate Production Testing: Test Site Selection, Characterization, and Testing Operations
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The primary goal of this project is to provide geologic and geophysical technical support to identify and characterize gas hydrate production test sites on the Alaska North Slope.


U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) – Denver, CO


This Interagency Agreement is intended to support the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its research partners in understanding, predicting, and testing the recoverability and potential production characteristics of onshore natural gas hydrate in the Greater Prudhoe Bay area on the Alaska North Slope (ANS) (Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk River, and Milne Point areas) — or other areas deemed suitable by DOE and USGS — for potential long-term production testing of gas hydrate. Researchers will accomplish these tasks by evaluating the occurrence and resource potential of the known gas hydrate accumulations in the Eileen trend. Recently acquired geologic, geochemical, and geophysical (2D and 3D seismic surveys) data from northern Alaska and other new data sources (including wireline and mud log surveys of wells of opportunity) will be used to assess the occurrence and nature of the known gas hydrate accumulations.

The project involves two primary areas of effort: the geologic and engineering assessment of the Eileen gas-hydrate accumulation, and support of DOE and its industry partners in evaluating, planning, and preparing for drilling and testing gas hydrate research wells in northern Alaska.


This project represents a collaborative approach by DOE and USGS to best use the talents of each organization to address critical issues pertaining to gas hydrate science. USGS will support the federal Gas Hydrate program goals for assessing the technical and economic viability of producing natural gas from methane hydrate by evaluating and facilitating opportunities for production testing in the natural laboratory of the ANS. 

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
  • USGS has hosted and helped lead multiple technical and planning meeting associated with both the Hydrate 01 stratigraphic test well and planned long term production testing at the Prudhoe Bay Unit (PBU) Kuparuk 07-11-12 test site.

  • USGS is contributing to the assessment and interpretation of data and samples collected during the Hydrate 01 stratigraphic test well.

  • USGS provided on location staff and technical support for the Hydrate 01 stratigraphic test well drilled in late 2018.

  • USGS has worked with DOE and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to complete an integrated operator “Statement of Requirements” for the proposed Stratigraphic Test Well (STW), currently planned to initiate in December 2018, which will systematically review “operational and engineering requirements.”

  • USGS has led planning efforts for the deployment of the Halliburton CoreVault system to acquire sidewall pressure cores from the primary and secondary reservoirs targeted at the PBU 07-11-12 test site. 

  • USGS has worked with JOGMEC and various service providers to develop the distributed temperature sensing (DTS) and distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) fiber optic monitoring program for the STW, including the acquisition of a high-resolution vertical seismic profile (VSP) after completion of the Hydrate 01 stratigraphic test well.

  • USGS has worked with DOE and JOGMEC to develop a detailed long-term production test “base plan,” as well as planning documents for that base plan, including 1) updated project prospectus, 2) comprehensive outline of test data acquisition requirements, and 3) a depressurization well test plan and test well intervention plan.

  • USGS has provided technical information and reviews of specific components of the potential future drilling and production testing program including, drilling operations, analysis of physical properties of conventional and pressure cores, planning for post-field testing of cores, core flow, and downhole logging and coring plans.

  • USGS has continued to support and lead geologic research efforts associated with the characterization of potential long-term gas hydrate production test sites, with a recent focus on characterizing gas hydrate occurrence at the PBU 7-11-12 location.

  • USGS has supported DOE-led hydrate production modeling through the provision of geologic and engineering input data and assumptions needed to build accurate reservoir production models for the Unit B and D targeted reservoirs at the PBU 7-11-12 test site.

  • USGS (along with DOE, JOGMEC, and various industry partners) has participated in the development of an ANS test well engineering and operational plan for a gas hydrate production test at the Kuparuk 7-11-12 location that includes drilling of a stratigraphic evaluation well followed by a production test site including surface monitoring, instrumented monitoring wells, and a production well.

  • USGS has completed remapping of the Eileen gas hydrate trend in the greater PBU area, which has provided critical new insight into the occurrence of gas hydrate on the ANS and a detailed understanding of the reservoir parameters needed to understand the production response of the gas hydrates.

  • USGS has conducted evaluation of geologic, geophysical, and reservoir engineering data (from data sources available to them) in coordination with similar work being carried out by JOGMEC, in an effort to characterize gas hydrates along the Eileen trend in the greater PBU area and to help assess potential locations to undergo stratigraphic testing as a precursor to selecting a site for a long-term production test on the ANS. 

Current Status

Activity under this effort has been completed and a final summary project report is in development and expected to be completed in late Spring 2021.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution

Planned Total Funding: $230,700

Contact Information

NETL Project Manager – Richard Baker ( or 304-285-4714)
USGS Principal Investigator – Tim Collett (