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DOE's Unconventional Gas Research Programs 1976-1995
SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region
3.5.4. Major Contracted Gas Hydrates Projects
Listed below are the key projects undertaken during the 1983-1992 time frame.
Geochemical and Geologic Factors Effecting the Formulation of Gas Hydrate
Performer: U.S. Geological Survey (Menlo Park, CA)
Key Investigators: Tim Collett, Kenneth Bird, Keith Kvenvolden, Myung Lee, L.A. Beyer, A.H. Lachenbruch, L.B. Magoon
Time Period: Oct. 1983 – Sept. 1990
Objectives: There were two parts to this project: Phase I (Task 6) and Phase II (Task 18). Task 6 dealt with the evaluation of existing data in an attempt to delineate gas hydrate occurrences in northern Alaska and to evaluate the physical properties controlling gas hydrate distribution. Task 18 activities were a continuation of Phase I, except that the major emphasis was to obtain new data through an active field study program. The field research included temperature and borehole gravity surveys, formation water sampling and analysis, and geologic/geochemical sampling and analysis of wells and outcrops. Task 6 objectives were:
Performer: Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO)
Key Investigators: Dendy Sloan, M.S. Selim, Roger Reuff
Time Period: Sept. 1983 – Jan. 1986
Objectives: The broad goals of this project were: (1) to measure the dissociation rate of natural gas hydrates, and (2) to formulate a rigorous mathematical model which fits the measured dissociation rate and which includes the properties measured. Specific objectives included:
Performer: Lewin and Associates, Inc. (Washington, D.C.)
Key Investigators: Vello Kuuskraa, Edgar Hammershaimb
Time Period: 1983
Objectives: The objective of this project was to compile a handbook providing data on the resource potential of naturally occurring hydrates, the properties that were needed to evaluate their recovery, and their production potential. This included a review of published resource estimates and a listing of known and inferred occurrences, a compilation of physical and thermodynamic properties, and an explanation of their relevance, and an estimate of the net energy balance for recovering hydrates.
Evaluation of the Geological Relationships to Gas Hydrate Formation and Stability
Performer: Geoexplorers International, Inc. (Denver, CO)
Key Investigators: Jan Krason, Patrick Finley, Marek Ciesnik
Time Period: Oct. 1984 – Sept. 1989
Objectives: The project investigated the relationship of geological environments on gas hydrate formation and stability by basin analysis of gas hydrate sites. Basin analyses were performed on 21 offshore locations with direct or indirect evidence of gas hydrates. Sediment composition, provenance and depositional history were documented and structural development of each sedimentary basin determined using drilling results and seismic reflection profiles. The potential for generation of biogenic methane and conventional thermogenic hydrocarbons was assessed using geochemical data and thermal modeling. All available seismic data, both published and unpublished, were examined for evidence of hydrates. BSRs and other seismic anomalies were mapped. Conditional assessments of gas resources were derived and quantities of gas contained in both gas hydrate and possibly trapped beneath the gas hydrate stability zone were estimated.
Gas Hydrates Thermomechanics
Performer: University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Key Investigators: R.C. Corlett
Time Period: June 1984 – Sept. 1987
Objectives: The objectives of this project were to: (1) to determine whether stress anisotropy significantly alters the decomposition pressure at exposed faces of gas hydrates specimens or the rate of decomposition at such faces, and (2) to quantify these effects for some specified anisotropic stress states for ideal and geologically realistic specimens.
Thermal Measurements on Structure I and Structure II Pure Clathrate Hydrates and on Natural Gas Samples
Performer: National Bureau of Standards (Boulder, CO)
Key Investigators: Jane E. Callanan
Time Period: July 1985 – June 1986
Objectives: The objectives of this project were to determine the heat transfer and thermal conductivity values of both synthetic and natural gas hydrates through laboratory experiments and measurements. A secondary objective was to develop a model that permitted the stability of hydrates to be determined for various conditions of temperature, pressure and concentration.
Ground Movements Associated with Gas Hydrate Production in Geologic Media
Performer: West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV)
Key Investigators: Hema J. Siriwardane
Time Period: Sept. 1987 – June 1989
Objectives: The primary objective of this research work was to evaluate the influence of hydrate production on ground movements near the wellbore and at the surface, using computer simulations of what would be expected in a hydrate reservoir during the production stage.
Ground Movements Associated with Gas Hydrate Production
Performer: West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV)
Key Investigators: Hema J. Siriwardane, Bora Kutuk
Time Period: 1991 – 1992
Objectives: The primary objective of this research was to evaluate the influence of hydrate production on ground subsidence at the surface, using computer simulations of what would be expected in a hydrate reservoir during the production stage. This project built on the results of an earlier project focused on the same problem, by the same performer.
Development of Alaskan Gas Hydrate Resources
Performer: University of Alaska
Key Investigators: Ghanahyam D. Sharma, Vidyadhar A. Kamath, S.P Godbole, S.L Patil
Time Period: Oct. 1986 – Sept. 1990
Objectives: The objectives were to:
Performer: U.S. Geological Survey (Reston, VA)
Key Investigators: Thomas Ahlbrandt, William Dillon
Time Period: Feb 1990 – Feb. 1991
Objectives: The objective of this project was to determine the amount of methane that is bound in gas hydrates in marine sediments, to understand the distribution of gas hydrates and to relate the amounts and distribution of hydrate to geological settings and geological/geochemical processes.
An Experimental Study of Hydrate Formation Rates
Performer: University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
Key Investigators: Gerald D. Holder
Time Period: 1985 – 1986
Objectives: The objective of this project was to measure the rate of hydrate formation above and below the ice point, and to determine at what rate hydrates in the earth can be expected to form and dissociate as the temperature in a zone containing gas and ice (or gas and water) changes, or as a zone containing water is contacted with methane.
Gas Hydrate Research in the Gulf of Mexico
Performer: Columbia Gas System Service Corporation
Key Investigators: R. Bennett
Time Period: 1987 – 1990
Objectives: This project was designed to examine existing seismic and geochemical data from the edge of the continental shelf and from the continental slope in the Gulf of Mexico for evidence of hydrates. There were two Phases: I and II. During Phase I, low and medium energy seismic data was examined for signatures that might establish a signature of hydrate zones per se, or an upper limit of an impervious gas hydrate cap. The data was also examined for permeable pathways in economic gas production areas which could be followed into deeper water where established signatures of gas hydrates could be identified on high energy seismic sections.
Geochemical data, which were generated concurrently on some of the low and medium energy seismic surveys, also were examined for information which might support any theories or concepts based on the geophysical data. The geochemical data included hydrocarbon analyses of water samples taken 30 feet above the sea floor and High energy seismic sections shot on the continental slope were reviewed to identify any Bottom Simulating Reflectors (BSRs) that might be present, and permeable pathways were noted so that they could be related to permeable pathways recorded by low and medium energy seismic surveys.
Areas where sediments were too shallow to be in the hydrate zone but could possibly be charged with gas from a hydrate source, or where hydrates might exist in a metastable form, were also examined.
The purpose of Phase II was to make an inexpensive low and medium energy seismic survey in a known gas hydrate area to identify the top of a hydrate zone or characterize signatures that might indicate the upper limit of an impervious hydrate cap. Seismic data was collected at two areas in Garden Banks and three areas in Green Canyon.
Geological and Geochemical Implications of Gas Hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico
Performer: Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)
Key Investigators: J.M. Brooks, W.R. Bryant
Time Period: 1984 – 1985
Objectives: The objectives of this project included:
Performer: North Slope Borough (Barrow, AK)
Key Investigators: Richard K. Glenn, William W. Allen
Time Period: 1991 – 1992
Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the methane hydrate potential of the Walakpa gas field, a shallow gas field located near Barrow, Alaska. Understanding the reservoir potential and predicting the production characteristics of the Walakpa Field was to be accomplished by an analysis of the reservoir geology, production test data and field-scale geothermal studies.
The Sensitivity of Seismic Responses to Gas Hydrates
Performer: New England Research, Inc. (White River Junction, VT)
Key Investigators: John E. Foley, Daniel R. Burns
Time Period: 1991 – 1992
Objectives: The objective of this project was to employ seismic modeling to improve understanding of the sensitivity of seismic amplitudes to the presence of gas hydrates in marine sediments.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. GRI Research into Unconventional Gas Resources
3. Structure of the Enhanced Gas Recovery Program (EGR)