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Methane Hydrates

Gas hydrate (white material) in marine sediments collected off the Oregon coast. Photo credit: USGS.
Gas hydrate (white material) in marine sediments collected off the Oregon coast. Photo credit: USGS.

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Since passage of the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000, the DOE has been leading a coordinated Methane Hydrate R&D Program that includes collaboration with other federal agencies, universities, industry, and international partners. The goal of the Program is to advance scientific knowledge of gas hydrates as they occur in nature, such that their resource potential, production strategies, and role in the environment can be more fully understood.

NETL’s current Methane Hydrate R&D Program integrates field, laboratory, and modeling studies to confirm the nature and quantity of the resource; and to develop and test technologies for its safe production. The Program balances research conducted onsite at NETL with extramural projects that bring together industry, academia, other U.S. government entities, and international partners. Through this collaborative, integrated approach, NETL is working to advance the Nation toward utilization of the vast energy stored in methane hydrates.

Specific, ongoing research pathways include:

  • Demonstrating gas hydrate exploration and production technologies in the Gulf of Mexico and on the North Slope of Alaska.
  • Improving resource characterization for onshore and offshore hydrate accumulations.
  • Collaborating with international partners to improve production modeling capabilities.
  • Building laboratory capabilities for testing hydrate samples under in-situ conditions.
  • Taking an active role in international drilling, sampling, and production testing expeditions.
  • Providing international outreach and communication through the Fire in the Ice newsletter.
  • Investing in the future of hydrate research through the National Academies of Science (NAS)/NETL Methane Hydrate Fellowship Program.

Fire in the Ice
Fire in the Ice Newsletter

Popular Methane Hydrate Program Links

Parker RigAdditional Methane Hydrate Program Links

Methane Hydrates (2.26 MB)

Technology area contact:
Joseph Stoffa