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  • First Offshore Methane Hydrate Production Test to be Conducted

    2nd of February, 2013

    –World’s First Attempt to Extract Natural Gas from Seabed Methane Hydrate

    The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) will conduct the world's first offshore production test to dissolve methane hydrate and extract natural gas off the coast of Japan, from Atsumi Peninsula to Shima Peninsula (Daini Atsumi Knoll).

    To conduct the offshore production test, the Deep Sea Drilling Vessel "Chikyu" left Shimizu Port and started its preparatory work at a testing point yesterday, January 28, 2013.

    A test to dissolve methane hydrate an... Read more

  • Energy potential; methane hydrates on slope show potential Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Energy potential methane hydrates on slope show potential

    8th of December, 2012

    by Staff Report / newsroom@newsminer.comNov 13, 2012y S

    Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial

    During a test last winter on the North Slope, scientists from the federal government and the oil industry demonstrated that natural gas can be extracted from an icy methane hydrate deposit about a half-mile below the surface.

    But it remains to be seen if the technology will become an economical source of energy in the future.

    Methane hydrates are a lattice-like structure of ice below ground in which molecules of methane are trapped in the holes in the permafrost.

    The goal of the research project is to determine if natural gas can be produced by injecting carbon dioxide into the structure.

    Research is taking place now to determine what the removal of about 1 million cubic feet of natural gas did to the reservoir. If the strength of the reservoir is reduced by the removal of the gas, that could inhibit extraction of the gas.

    On the other hand, the chances of commercial production of methane hydrates would improve if the underground lattice structure remains stable. About 210,000 cubic feet of carbon dioxide and nitrogen were injected into the hydrate formation as part of the tests.

    One researcher told the Associated Press that the early results are promising.

    Resolving the question of reservoir stability is one of the keys to determining whether techniques can be developed to safely and economically extract the gas in the future.

    The North Slope field tests, which cost $29 million, dealt with an expansion of lab experiments developed by... Read more

  • New energy source discovered below Alaskan ice

    8th of December, 2012

    13 November 2012 By David Spencer

    Half a mile below the ground above the vast North Slope oil field, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, that helped trigger construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline, a drilling rig has uncovered what could be the next big energy source.

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) and industry partners drilled into a reservoir of methane hydrate over two winters. The chemical looks like ice but burns like a candle if struck by a match. Methane, the main chemical component of natural gas, is in little demand today. The USA is awash in natural gas for the near future after the boom in production from hydraulic fracturing. The controllers are considering exporting it but the DOE wants to be ready with methane if there's a need.

    Ray Boswell, the technology manager for methane hydrates within the DOE’s National Energy Laboratory, has said: "If you wait until you need it, and then you have 20 years of research to do, that's not a good plan."

    The experiment, which took place on the North Slope and cost an estimated $29m, has produced 30,000 cubic metres of methane. Researchers are now beginning the complex task of analysing how the reservoir responded to extraction.

    Currently much is unknown, but research interest has accelerated over the last decade according to re... Read more

  • Alaska's Methane Hydrate Resource Sparks Debate Over Energy And Climate Change

    8th of December, 2012

    AP | By DAN JOLING Posted: 11/11/2012 11:29 am EST Updated: 11/11/2012 11:14 pm EST

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A half mile (800 meters) below the ground at Prudhoe Bay, above the vast oil field that helped trigger construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline, a drill rig has tapped what might one day be the next big energy source.

    The U.S. Department of Energy and industry partners over two winters drilled into a reservoir of methane hydrate, which looks like ice but burns like a candle if a match warms its molecules. There is little need now for methane, the main ingredient of natural gas. With the boom in production from hydraulic fracturing, the United States is awash in natural gas for the near future and is considering exporting it, but the DOE wants to be ready with methane if there's a need.

    "If you wait until you need it, and then you have 20 years of research to do, that's not a good plan," said Ray Boswell, technology manager for methane hydrates within the DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory.

    The nearly $29 million science experiment on the North Slope produced 1 million cubic feet (30,000 cubic meters) of meth... Read more

  • Gas hydrates in Arctic are shallowest yet found

    8th of December, 2012

    Undersea methane hydrate deposit could serve as climate-change canary.

    From Nature.com

    Zoë Corbyn

    07 December 2012

    The Beaufort Sea's shallow methane-hydrate deposits are particularly vulnerable to rising sea temperatures.

    A 'test case' for how undersea deposits of methane — a greenhouse gas locked in sediments — might respond to climate change has been uncovered in the Arctic Circle.

    The shallowest known deposit of methane hydrate — a crystalline solid comprising methane molecules trapped in an ice-lattice structure — has been discovered on the continental slope off Canada in the Beaufort Sea.

    The trapped gas deposit is located in an area of small conical hills on the ocean floor just 290 metres below sea level. Before the discovery, the shallowest known marine gas-hydrate deposits were found in the Gulf of Mexico and in the vicinity of the Svalbard Islands at depths of around 400 m, says Charles Paull, a senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California, who presented the work on Thursday at the annual... Read more

  • Gamechanging Natural Gas Tech Gets Green Light

    9th of September, 2012

    In April, the U.S. Department of Energy and an international consortium of major oil and gas companies completed an unprecedented two-month proof-of-concept test in the North Slope of Alaska. The experiment was supposed to show that a steady flow of methane molecules could be extracted from a substance known as methane or gas hydrates submerged under the sea floor.

    It worked and the world moved one step closer to tapping gas hydrates, the most abundant fossil fuel resource on Earth.

    Gas hydrates consist of a crystalline substance in which methane molecules – the primary ... Read more

  • DOE will fund 14 methane hydrate research projects

    8th of September, 2012

    By Nick SnowOGJ Washington Editor

    The US Department of Energy has selected 14 methane hydrate research projects in 11 states to receive up to $559 million of federal funding. The awards build on a successful, unprecedented test earlier this year where a steady flow of natural gas was safely extracted from methane hydrates on Alaska’s North Slope, DOE said.

    DOE said the projects, which will be managed by the department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, will advance understanding of the nature and occurrence of deepwater and arctic gas hydrates and their ... Read more

  • Future natural gas could come from ice

    8th of September, 2012

     by Mary Lochner

    The U.S. Department of Energy has peered into Alaska’s future, and it sees methane hydrates.

    Most people understand the concept of carbon or methane-based fuels trapped in rock, but the new wave of the future, the DoE says, is methane, or natural gas, trapped in ice. In Alaska’s permafrost and on the ocean floor, molecules of methane sometimes get trapped in lattice-shaped molecules of ice, creating a methane-hydrate substance. The material looks like regular white ice, but apply heat and... Read more

  • Progress made on methane from hydrates

    1st of September, 2012

    Tim Bradner, Alaska Journal of Commerce. Government and industry scientists say they are making good progress toward production of methane gas from hydrates, a potentially vast hydrocarbon resource. Methane is the main component of natural gas.

    This is still a science project, but knowledge is being gained step-by-step, researchers with the Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey and industry said in interviews with the Journal. Hydrates are frozen lattice-like structures that form at shallow depths in certain combinations of pressure and temperature offshore or within onshore permafrost areas of the Arctic, including the North Slope. They are capable of holding immense amounts of methane. The question has always been whether methan... Read more

  • Obama seeks new fossil fuel source: methane hydrates

    1st of September, 2012

    By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY; President Obama, in another move this week to boost fossil fuel energy embraced by his GOP rival Mitt Romney, announced research funding Friday for a new source of natural gas -- methane hydrates.

    Describing it as the "world's largest untapped fossil energy resource," his Department of Energy awarded 13 research projects across 11 states to help develop methane hydrates. DOE says these 3D ice-lattice structures, when melted, turn to liquid water and release methane molecules as ... Read more

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