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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
Project Number
Last Reviewed Dated

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 better understand the impact of hydrates on safety and seafloor stability as well as provide data for use 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
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 industry’s 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.

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)

Phase 3

  • Researchers completed the operational plan and field-tested the PCS at the Catoosa Test Facility in Oklahoma.  A technical review team was formed following  the field test to further investigate performance and operational issues experienced by the PCS.  Modifications were identified and made based on the field test performance.  The review team completed their assessment and made recommendations to improve future performance of the PCS.
  • Completed land-based drilling/coring tests of the JIP Hybrid Pressure Coring System (PCS) at the Catoosa Test Facility in Oklahoma in November 2013.
  • Pro-log completed the fabrication and delivery of the service and heavy vans, which serve as transport and servicing containers for the PCS.
  • Chevron engineers developed a plan to test the drilling/coring functionality of the JIP Hybrid PCS at the Catoosa Test Facility in Hallett, Oklahoma.
  • Aumann & Associates Incorporated (AAI) completed construction of the JIP Hybrid PCS. Factory acceptance tests were successfully conducted in September 2013 at AAI’s facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • The final design of the JIP Hybrid PCS has been completed. A total of fifteen modification improvements over the previous design were incorporated into the final design. The design improvements are based on knowledge derived from data gathered from the JOGMEC pressure coring operation offshore Japan in 2012.
  • Field tests of the Instrumented Pressure Test Cell (IPTC) and Pressure Core Characterization Tool (PCCT) core analysis systems were successfully conducted in Japan in January 2013.
  • Completed modifications and testing of the IPTC and PCCT.
  • Made 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 JIP’s 2009 Leg II LWD program were published in a dedicated edition of theJournal 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).
    • 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.
Well logs from the WR313 H well
Well logs from the WR313 H well
  • 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

(September 2014)
The project ended on March 31, 2014.  The final report is listed below under "Additional Information". 

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution

$40,215,883 (to date $34,751,964)

Performer Contribution


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

Contact Information

NETL – Skip Pratt ( or 304-285-4396)
Chevron Energy Technology Company – Jimmy Bent ( or 832-854-2656)

Additional Information

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].

Final Project Report [PDF-643KB] - June, 2014

Phase 3B Topical Report [PDF-22.2MB] - June, 2014

Semi-Annual Report October 2013 - March 2014 [PDF-818KB]

Semi-Annual Report April - September 2013 [PDF-6.49MB]

Semi-Annual Report October 2012 - March 2013 [PDF-1.56MB]

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

Topical Report - JIP Workshop Results - September 2002 [PDF-7.16MB]

Semi-Annual Report April 2002 - September 2002 [PDF-3.69MB]

Semi-Annual Report October 2001 - March 2002 [PDF-3.68MB]