--> --> The Role of Gas Hydrate in a Global Gas Market, by Arthur H. Johnson and Michael D. Max; #90052 (2006)

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The Role of Gas Hydrate in a Global Gas Market

Arthur H. Johnson1 and Michael D. Max2
1 Hydrate Energy International, Kenner, LA
2 Hydrate Energy International, St. Petersburg, FL

Energy supply from unconventional gas resources, such as gas hydrate, may superficially appear unnecessary in a world with vast reserves of conventional natural gas that currently exceed 6,000 TCF, a 67 year supply at current rates of consumption. In addition, the rate of discovery for conventional gas reserves has historically exceeded consumption. Transport of natural gas to continental North America, however, introduces substantial additional cost along with commercial and security issues. Development of indigenous energy supplies is potentially an attractive alternative. Increased delivery of gas-derived energy is vital in order to meet the energy needs of the United States. Some portion of this demand may be satisfied by LNG imports; however a reliance on LNG imports carries a number of significant risks, including availability of sufficient import terminals, safety, and the potential for supply disruptions through political instability or terrorist attack. Thus, LNG imports alone are unlikely to fill the energy gap between domestic production and demand. These issues demonstrate the uncertain future of energy imports and make a compelling case for increased exploration and development of both conventional and unconventional gas deposits. Increasing the level of energy independence would benefit the economy and security of the United States. Some unconventional gas resources, such as coalbed methane, are already making an important contribution to energy supplies. Gas hydrates are a potentially major natural gas resource. However, development of gas hydrates can only proceed if critical business issues are addressed. These include prospect identification, recovery per well, production rates, operating expense, production technology and environmental impact.