A research team led by the U.S. Geological Survey in search of producible hydrate to add to the nation's energy portfolio has identified "the most promising" gas hydrate deposits yet in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a report by Reuters.
Researched for years as a potential new energy source, gas hydrate is a combination of nearly pure methane and water frozen by low temperatures and high pressures in permafrost or beneath the sea, the report noted.
Prolific throughout the world, gas hydrate has not been commercially viable since most finds have been too shallow to tap for production; but the new find in the Gulf of Mexico indicates that the abundant hydrates in conventional sand reservoirs could be producible, according to Timothy Collett of the U.S. Geological Survey.
"It's very encouraging. We consider this expedition a major shift in our understanding," Reuters cites Collett, a leader of the research effort, saying.
The program, which also included the MMS' expertise, as well as an industry group led by Chevron, utilized seismic data to target the highly concentrated gas hydrate. In waters 4,800 to 6,600 feet deep, the team drilled seven wells in three areas of the Gulf of Mexico – Walker Ridge, Green Canyon and Alaminos Canyon.
"What's unique about the Gulf of Mexico accumulations identified is this. It's the first time we've seen highly concentrated hydrates in conventional sand reservoirs that could be commercially producible," Collett emphasized.
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