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The Development Path for Hydrate Natural Gas

A. H. Johnson
Hydrate Energy International, Kenner, LA, [email protected]rate-energy.com

The vast resource potential attributed to gas hydrate has led to an understandable interest from nations with the most severe energy deficiencies. Although technical and economic hurdles have pushed back the timeline for development, considerable progress has been made in the past five years. Commercial hydrate development requires high concentrations of hydrate in porous, permeable reservoirs. While it is unrealistic to consider the global potential of gas hydrate to be in the hundreds of thousands of tcf, there is a strong potential in the hundreds of tcf or thousands of tcf.

For gas hydrate development to be commercially viable, economic factors need to be addressed. These include operating expense, flow rates, ultimate recovery per well, transportation to markets, and safety.

Press releases from several national gas hydrate research programs have reported gas hydrate “discoveries”. Except in a few specific areas such as the North Slope of Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and the Nankai deposits off central SE Japan, valid resource assessments remain to be accomplished. A focused exploration effort based on geological and depositional characteristics is needed that addresses hydrate as part of a larger petroleum system. It is very likely that drilling on properly identified prospects, rather than just targeting bottom-simulating reflectors (BSRs), will lead to commercial development in less than a decade.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90088©2009 Pacific Section Meeting, Ventura, California, May 3-5, 2009