DOE/NETL Methane Hydrate Projects
Advanced Hydrate Reservoir Modeling Using Rock Physics Techniques Last Reviewed 6/30/2015


The primary goal of this research is to develop analytical techniques capable of quantitatively evaluating the nature of methane hydrate reservoir systems through modeling of their acoustic response using techniques that integrate rock physics theory, amplitude analysis, and spectral decomposition.

Fugro GeoConsulting, Inc., Houston TX

Past efforts under the DOE-supported Gulf of Mexico Joint Industry project included the selection of well locations utilizing prospectivity analysis based primarily on a petroleum systems approach for gas hydrate using 3-D exploration seismic data and derivative analyses that produced predicted gas hydrate saturation volumes. Logging–while-drilling at those locations confirmed the presence of high saturation gas hydrate reservoirs at two boreholes in Green Canyon Block 955 (GC955) and two boreholes in Walker Ridge Block 313 (WR313) in the Gulf of Mexico. The success of the four wells was a significant achievement and legitimized the conceptual approach taken to prospect for potential producible methane hydrate reservoirs in deepwater that could be exploited with modifications to present-day technology.

The success of future hydrate research wells and, eventually, resource exploration wells, will depend on the continued evolution of the techniques employed to select successful drilling locations. It is anticipated that future prospecting for methane hydrate deposits will be driven by their potential for exploitation as an energy resource. Geophysical prospecting techniques will need to be developed to both identify potential gas hydrate accumulations and better delineate and characterize these potentially complex systems and reservoirs.

This research effort will focus on developing and refining techniques that integrate rock physics modeling, amplitude analysis, and spectral decomposition. The expected outcome of the research efforts will be an enhanced ability to quantitatively evaluate and prioritize potential gas hydrate accumulations that may be selected as exploration drilling targets based on 3-D seismic data. Potential enhancements that are expected to result from research efforts include:

  • More reliable identification and delineation of seismic data that illustrates the existence of gas hydrate accumulations
  • Determination of class type of gas hydrate reservoirs
  • Delineation of interfaces between gas hydrates and free gas across the prospect area
  • Determination of hydrate concentration
  • Determination of hydrate volume
  • Determination of subjacent free gas concentration
  • Determination of subjacent free gas volumes

Enhanced prospecting techniques for detecting and characterizing hydrate occurrences using seismic data will help reduce the substantial costs and risks and increase the likelihood of success of hydrate-focused deepwater drilling programs. These techniques will be important for initial research-based hydrate drilling activities, but may also eventually play a critical role in drilling programs seeking to exploit hydrates as an energy resource. Reliable selection and prioritization of gas hydrate drilling targets could have the following benefits: reduced costs incurred for drilling “dry” wells, increased likelihood of intersecting economically recoverable gas reserves, reduced exploration cost per volume of recoverable gas reserves, and enhancement of support for investment in future exploitation of gas hydrates as an energy resource.


  • Completed an initial review of the eastern Gulf of Mexico seismic data identifying potential gas hydrate deposits.
  • Acquired suitable seismic data for the Lund and Elbow protraction areas (offshore Florida).
  • Acquired the petrophysical and inversion software required for the project.
  • Began modeling mixtures of methane and thermogenic gas hydrate signatures against flux and geothermal gradients and depositional architecture.
  • Completed an initial investigation of available well log data.
  • Selected the rock physics model to be used in the project.
  • Developed the geostatistical/inversion analytical routines to be used in the project.
  • Completed review of related scientific/industry research efforts.

Current Status (June 2015)
Activities have been delayed due to a prior lack of access to seismic data of sufficient quality for project purposes. In late Spring of 2015, suitable data was finally accessed for the Lund and Elbow protraction areas (offshore Florida). Work is underway on this data. Initial scanning has shown indication of likely gas hydrate occurrence making the data suitable for purposes of the project. Going forward this data will be used in the planned gas hydrate reservoir and rock physics modeling. The project performance period has been extended to enable planned activities to be conducted using this newly acquired data.

Project Start: October 1, 2012
Project End: March 31, 2016

Project Cost Information:
Planned Total Funding: $213,444
DOE Contribution: $170,755
Cost Share Contribution: $42,689

Contact Information:
NETL – Richard Baker ( or 304-285-4714)
Fugro GeoConsulting Inc. – Dan McConnell (

Additional Information

Quarterly Progress Report [PDF-2.19MB] April - June, 2015 

Quarterly Progress Report [PDF-799KB] January - March, 2015

Quarterly Progress Report [PDF-297KB] October - December, 2014 

Quarterly Progress Report [PDF-613KB] July - September, 2014

Quarterly Progress Report [PDF-1.65MB] April - June, 2014

Quarterly Progress Report [PDF-1.66MB] January - March, 2014

Quarterly Progress Report [PDF-1.79MB] October - December, 2013

Quarterly Progress Report [PDF-133KB] October - December, 2012

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