DOE's Unconventional Gas Research Programs 1976-1995
SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region

3.5.5. Methane Hydrate Research Efforts of METC’s In-House Organization

METC’s in-house research organization carried out a number of research efforts, independently and in concert with academic laboratories, designed to complement the work being conducted by the contractors listed above.

An important contribution of METC’s in-house methane hydrate research group (part of the Geoscience Research Branch) was the development of a number of techniques for forming methane hydrates in the laboratory (so-called “synthetic hydrates”), several of which are still used today.

The group also carried out tests on natural hydrates and made their results public; of the six laboratories that received samples of the Deep Sea Drilling Program’s massive hydrate core recovered in the Mid-Americas trench in 1982, METC was one of only two that actually made their laboratory results public.3

The hydrate modeling of Burshears and others working in METC’s modeling group was innovative at the time and METC attempted to verify it using laboratory experiments; an effort that was at least qualitatively successful. 4

The METC in-house hydrates group served a critical role in integrating and coordinating work among all the program participants.

Representatives also participated in two Gulf of Mexico hydrate recovery cruises with Texas A&M (partially funded by DOE) and recovered hydrate samples which were brought back for analysis. Further analysis was undertaken in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada.5,6

The American Chemical Society’s Third Chemical Congress of North America, held in Toronto, Canada, on June 5-10, 1988, included a “Gas Hydrates Symposium” organized by William Lawson of METC.

Fifteen of the twenty-three papers submitted for this meeting were from METC contractors or in-house researchers (Table 3.5.1). Generally, METC published reports summarizing research results only if the work was not published in a refereed publication or accepted as a presentation at a significant meeting.

Accordingly, these papers represent a good portion of the public record of in-house methane hydrate research at METC during this time period.

3 Lawson, W.F., S.M. Reddy, L.A. McCarthy, C.E. Gregoire, K.L. Vassallo, and D.A. Barlow, "Acoustic Velocity and Electrical Property Measurements in the DSDP Methane Hydrate Core," AIChE Winter National Meeting, March 12, 1984, Atlanta, Georgia.

4 Burshears, M., et al., "A Multi-Phase, Multi-Dimensional, Variable Composition Simulation of Gas Production From a Conventional Gas Reservoir in Contact With Hydrates," Presentation at the Unconventional Gas Technology Symposium of the Society of Petroleum Engineers held in Louisville, Ky., May 18-21, 1986 (SPE 15246, pp. 449-456).

5 Davidson, D.W., S.W. Gary, S.R. Gough, Y.P. Handa, C.I. Ratcliffe, J.A. Ripmeister, J.S. Tse, K. Sinque, and W.F. Lawson, "The Physical Chemistry of a Naturally-Occurring Hydrate of Natural Gas," presented at the Symposium on Energy Related Chemistry, Division of Physical Chemistry, Canadian Institute of Chemistry at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, June 2-5, 1985.

6 Davidson, D.W., S.K. Garg, S.R. Gough, Y.P. Handa, C.I. Ratcliffe, J.A. Ripmeester, J.S. Tse and W.F. Lawson, "Laboratory Analysis of a Naturally Occurring Gas Hydrate from Sediment of the Gulf of Mexico," Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 50, 1986.

Table 3.5.1: Papers from DOE-Supported Research Presented at the “Methane Hydrates Symposium” of the Third Chemical Congress of North America, June 1988.

Also available in ..

Mechanical Properties of Gas Hydrates in Unconsolidated Media H.J. Siriwardane and W.F. Lawson U. of West Virginia and DOE-METC
Production of Continuous Gas Hydrate Samples: A Technology Status Survey R.C. Corlett, W.F. Lawson, and K.L. Dominic U. of Washington and DOE-METC
Gas Hydrates in Sediment of the Peruvian Continental Margin K. A. Kvenvolden, M. Kastner USGS/Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Pore Water Geochemical Anomalies: Reliable Indicators of Gas Hydrate Presence? P.D. Finley, K.L. Dominic Geoexplorers International/ DOE-METC
Gas Hydrates in U.S. Continental Margin Sediments J. M. Brooks, M.C. Kennicutt II, R.C. Pflaum Texas A&M University
Evaluation of Geochemical and Geophysical Data for Gas Hydrate Exploration in the Gulf of Mexico R. Bennett Columbia Gas System
A Third Surface Effect on Hydrate Formation H. Ouar, Suk-Bae Cha, A. Inserni, T.R. Wildeman, E.D. Sloan Colorado School of Mines
Molecular Dynamics of Gas Hydrates M. J. Hwang, G.D. Holder, A. Post University of Pittsburgh
Review of Proposed Massive Gas Hydrate Formation Process P. D. Finley, J. Krason Geoexplorers International
Geological Environments of Gas Hydrates of the Black Sea M. S. Ciesnik, J. Krason Geoexplorers International
Petrographic Characterization of Hydrate Reservoirs in Northern Alaska R.A. Smosna, T.H. Mroz DOE-METC
Potential Gas Hydrate Reservoir on the Barrow Arch, Alaska T. H. Mroz DOE-METC
Gas Hydrate Resource Estimate, North Slope, Alaska T.S. Collett USGS
Measurement of Gas Permeability in Hydrate Saturate Unconsolidated Cores S. L. Patil, P.N. Mutalik, V.A. Kamanth and S.P. Godbole University of Alaska
Hydrate Formation in Crude Oils and Phase Behavior of Hydrates in Mixtures of Methane, Propane, Isobutane and N-Butane S. G. Paranjpe, S.L. Patil, V.A. Kamanth, S.P. Godbole University of Alaska

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Cover Page

Executive Summary

1. Background

2. GRI Research into Unconventional Gas Resources

3. Structure of the Enhanced Gas Recovery Program (EGR)

  • 3.1. Eastern Gas Shales Program (1976-1992)

  • 3.1.1. Key Questions and Related R&D Goals
  • 3.1.2. Program Design and Overview of Major Projects
  • 3.1.3. Key Eastern Gas Shales Projects
  • 3.1.4. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.1.5. Subsequent Developments in DOE and Other Research Related to Eastern Gas Shales

  • 3.2. Western Gas Sands Program (1978-1992)

  • 3.2.1. Key Questions and Related R&D Goals
  • 3.2.2. Program Design and Overview of Major Projects
  • 3.2.3. Key Western Gas Sands Projects
  • 3.2.4. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.2.5. Subsequent Developments in DOE Research Related to Tight Gas Sands

  • 3.3. Methane Recovery from Coalbeds Program (1978-1982)

  • 3.3.1. Key Questions Related to Coal Seam Methane
  • 3.3.2. MRCP Program Design and Overview
  • 3.3.3. Key Methane Recovery from Coalbeds Projects
  • 3.3.4. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.3.5. Subsequent Research Related to Methane Recovery from Coalbeds

  • 3.4. Deep Source Gas Project (1982-1992)

  • 3.4.1. Key Deep Source Gas Projects
  • 3.4.2. Highlights of Important Results

  • 3.5. Methane Hydrates Program (1982-1992)

  • 3.5.1. Methane Hydrates Workshop (March 1982)
  • 3.5.2. Key Questions and Related R&D Goals
  • 3.5.3. Program Design
  • 3.5.4. Major Contracted Gas Hydrates Projects
  • 3.5.5. Methane Hydrate Research Efforts of METC's In-House Organization
  • 3.5.6. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.5.7. Subsequent Developments in Methane Hydrate Research

  • 3.6. Secondary Gas Recovery (1987-1995)

  • 3.6.1. Key Objectives and Program Design
  • 3.6.2. Major Projects
  • 3.6.3. Major Results

    4. Elements of Spreadsheet Bibliographies (by Program)

    Appendix A: Details of Major 1970-1980 Unconventional Gas Resource Assessments

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