Gas Hydrates

10D-core-7x-big-chunk.pngGas hydrates are a naturally-occurring combination of natural gas (predominantly methane) and water that form under specific conditions of low temperature and moderate pressure. Once thought to be rare in nature, gas hydrates are now known to occur in great abundance in association with arctic permafrost and in the shallow sediments of the deep-water continental shelves. The most recent estimates of gas hydrate abundance suggest that they contain perhaps more organic carbon that all the world’s oil, gas, and coal combined.

The primary mission of the Gas Hydrate R&D Program is to collaborate with industry, academia, international research organizations, and other US state and government agencies to advance the scientific understanding of gas hydrates as they occur in nature such that their resource potential and role in climate change can be fully understood. In pursuit of this primary mission, the program is proceeding along three parallel paths. The first path is to confirm the scale and nature of the potentially recoverable resource through scientific drilling and coring programs. The second is to develop the technologies to safely and efficiently find, characterize, and recover methane from hydrates through a combination of field testing, numerical simulation, and controlled laboratory experimentation. The third is to better understand gas hydrate’s role in the natural environment, including any response to ongoing environmental change.

2017 Gulf of Mexico Gas Hydrate Drilling and Coring Expedition

In May, 2017, a scientific research team lead by the University of Texas at Austin are conducting a scientific field program in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico that is designed to gather samples of gas hydrate-bearing sand reservoirs and bring them to the surface intact for detailed evaluation. Read more about the current status of this expedition.