The world of natural gas may be in for a big change; in fact the whole energy world could change.
Methane hydrates are the most abundant source of fossil fuel in the world. They consist of a crystalline structure in which methane molecules are trapped amongst an arrangement of water molecules. They are found under the Arctic permafrost, and in ocean sediments along nearly every continental shelf in the world.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Journal of Research, global reserves of gas hydrates have been conservatively estimated to surpass more than double those of all remaining petroleum and natural gas reserves.
In April the US Department of Energy worked with a consortium if international oil and gas companies to complete a two month test in the North Slope of Alaska to prove that a steady flow of methane could be extracted from the hydrates under the sea floor.
“This test was the first ever field trial of a methane hydrate production methodology whereby CO2 was exchanged in situ with the methane molecules within a methane hydrate structure . . . The prior longest-duration field test of methane hydrate extraction via depressurization was six days [and took place in Canada's Malik formation in 2008].”
The test proved successful, and now the DoE has plans to fund additional projects which will attempt long-term production tests.
The test used a technology that was developed by ConocoPhillips and the University of Norway, whereby a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen was injected into the hydrate to encourage the release of methane molecules.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…