|Global Assessment of Methane Gas Hydrates||Last Reviewed 11/20/2012|
The goal of this project is to develop a global assessment of methane gas hydrates that will facilitate informed decision-making regarding the potential development of gas hydrate resources between the scientific community and other stakeholders/decision makers. The Assessment will provide science-based information on the role of gas hydrates in natural climate change and the carbon cycle, their sensitivity to climate change, and the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of hydrate production.
Stiftelsen GRID-Arendal, Arendal, Norway
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United States Department of Energy (USDOE)
Global reservoirs of methane gas have long been the topic of scientific discussion both as a natural force for climate change and a potential energy resource. Of particular interest are the volumes of methane locked away in formations containing frozen molecules known as clathrates or hydrates. The rapidly evolving scientific knowledge and technological development related to methane hydrates make these formations increasingly attractive for economic development. In addition, global demand for energy will continue to outpace supply for the foreseeable future, resulting in pressure to expand development activities that may have environmental and social impacts.
The intricate links between methane hydrates and their natural and anthropogenic contributions to climate change, their role in the carbon cycle (e.g., ocean chemistry), and the environmental and socio-economic impacts of extraction are key factors that must be considered when making decisions to promote sustainable development of this resource.
As policy makers, environmental organizations, and private sector interests seek to advance their respective agendas (which tend to be weighted toward applied research) a clear and imminent need has arisen for an authoritative source of accessible information on topics related to methane gas hydrates. The performer has extensive experience in providing environmental information, capacity building services, and innovative communication tools, methodologies, and products for information management and outreach.
This project will build on existing information to provide a multi-thematic overview of the key aspects of the current methane hydrate discussion for marine as well as for land-based arctic deposits. Content will be generated using a team-based approach. Teams will comprise relevant subject matter expert authors and consultants, with vetting of the planning, approach, and content conducted by expert work groups and steering committee(s) representing major global hydrate research groups and representatives from governments supporting gas hydrate research. The information collected will be made available through a dedicated hydrates web portal, an updateable electronic publication (e-book), and a limited print publication.
A global assessment of methane gas hydrates will provide science-based information that may be used by stakeholders and decision makers to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic impacts of hydrate development. A central, easily accessible repository of hydrate-related information will also be useful to researchers as they seek to determine critical hydrate research paths that may increase the efficiency and effectiveness of future research activities.
The second meeting of the steering committee for the UNEP Global Outlook on Methane Gas Hydrates was held in Tokyo, Japan on November 18?19 2010. Committee members, including two researchers from NETL as well as leading researchers from Canada, Japan, Germany, Korea, India, and Norway, met to examine and assemble all material produced to date as a step toward producing the first draft of the content for the Assessment.
A thematic outline for the assessment was developed and the first drafts for most chapters in each of the assessment?s two volumes were completed. The first volume examines the settings and roles of methane hydrates in the natural system, including the history of hydrate science, with a basic definition of hydrates and an overview of their global distribution; a detailed review of the natural sources of methane, which expands on the role of hydrates in the global carbon cycle; the chemosynthetic ecosystems that are dependent on methane emissions and their sensitivities to fluctuations in the natural climate; and visual models depicting various scenarios of global warming and the associated impacts on hydrate reservoirs.
The focus changes In the second volume from natural systems to an examination of the human dimension and begins with an overview of the global energy resource challenges that have led to the possible development of hydrates as a resource. This volume details the different types of hydrate occurrences and the methods used to detect and define these occurrences; the technologies and challenges linked to the production of natural gas from hydrates; the various societal perspectives related to energy resource development in order to help shape policies for the potential future development of hydrates as a resource; and summarizes the main assessment points with respect to sound policy making.
The initial version of the project website is now available at http://www.methanegashydrates.org [external site]. The site provides access to the project concept, partners, news and events.
Current Status (November 2012)
The research team will finalize the draft content of the assessment by March 31, 2013, through consensus within the scientific community on key topical issues. A general agreement has been reached for content required for Book 1: Methane Gas Hydrates in the Natural System. An advance draft of the content for Book 2 is now being finalized with copy editing, stylization, and graphics work currently in progress. GRID-Arendal presented an overview of the project at the January 2012 Arctic Frontiers meeting held in Tromso, Norway. As additional outreach, a documentary producer interviewed key experts involved in the project effort as part of a 90 minute documentary on methane hydrates to be broadcast in Europe, Canada, and Japan later in 2012 or in early 2013.
Project Start: April 1, 2010
Project End: May 31, 2013
DOE Contribution: $100,000
Performer Contribution: $300,000
NETL ? Skip Pratt (firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-285-4396)
Stiftelsen GRID - Arendal - Dr. Yannick C. Beaudoin (email@example.com or 011-47-95-42-92-47)
Semi-Annual Project Report [PDF-168KB] October, 2012 - March, 2013
Semi-Annual Project Report [PDF-175KB] April - September, 2012
Semi-Annual Project Report [PDF-5.87MB] October, 2011 - March, 2012
Semi-Annual Project Report [PDF-4.42MB] April - September, 2011
Semi-Annual Project Report [PDF-4.35MB] October, 2010 - March, 2011
Semi-Annual Project Report [PDF-1.42MB] March - September, 2010