Office of Fossil Energy : Data from Innovative Methane Hydrate Test on Alaska’s North Slope Now Available on NETL Website
03/11/2013| 03:18pm US/Eastern
Issued on: March 11, 2013
Test Demonstrated Ability to Inject CO2, Nitrogen, and Initiate and Maintain Gas Production
Washington, D.C. – Data from an innovative test conducted last year that used carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2) injection to release natural gas from methane hydrates at a well on the Alaska North Slope is now available to researchers and the public on the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) website.
Methane hydrate – essentially molecules of natural gas trapped in ice crystals – represents a potentially enormous energy resource, possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other fossil fuels. Hydrate resources in arctic sandstone reservoirs contain an in-place gas volume estimated to be in the 100’s of trillions of cubic feet (TCF), while hydrate in marine sands is estimated to contain 1,000’s to 10,000’s of TCF, and hydrate dispersed through marine mud is estimated to contain 100,000’s of TCF. In addition to the immense resource, CO2 injection into methane hydrate deposits is a technology that can potentially both release an energy resource while permanently storing carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with other nations and industry, has played a leading role in developing technologies to evaluate how to safely recover these methane hydrate energy resources in order to provide new supplies of clean-burning natural gas. These resources occur in a variety of forms in sediments within and below thick permafrost in Arctic regions, and in the subsurface of continental waters with a depth of 1,500 feet or greater. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has estimated a potentially recoverable resource of 85 trillion cubic feet of gas in favorable hydrate accumulations on the Alaska North Slope alone.
NETL, the research laboratory of DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE), participated in gas hydrate field production trials in early 2012 in partnership with ConocoPhillips and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC). This test well (known as I