The National Methane Hydrates R&D Program
DOE/NETL Methane Hydrate Projects
|Development of a Scientific Plan for a Hydrate-Focused Marine Drilling, Logging and Coring Program
||Last Reviewed 12/4/2013
The primary goal of this research is to conduct initial scientific planning to enable future operational planning and conduct of scientific ocean drilling, coring, logging, testing, and analytical activities to assess the geologic occurrence, regional context, and characteristics of methane hydrate deposits along the continental margins of the U.S. with an emphasis on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic margin.
Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Washington DC
Our current understanding of the occurrence, distribution, and characteristics of marine methane hydrates is incomplete, requiring additional research to better quantify their potential as a meaningful component of the future world energy portfolio. Oceanic basins with known, or suspected, methane hydrate occurrence have been explored for over 30 years, but these efforts have been episodic and must become more frequent and employ new techniques and technologies to both maximize the data acquired and knowledge gained from it. Further progress is critically dependent on the continued refinement of constraints on models for the formation, distribution, and occurrence of methane hydrate in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic margin of the United States.
The primary focus of this project is to conduct scientific planning that will enable future scientific ocean drilling, coring, logging, testing, and analytical activities to assess the geologic occurrence, regional context, and characteristics of methane hydrate deposits along the continental margins of the U.S. with an emphasis on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic margin.
This will be accomplished through initial literature and data reviews to outline the range of questions and unknowns that need to be addressed within hydrate science. Project personnel will follow up initial definition efforts by working inclusively within the greater hydrate research community—including industry, academia, and government—to solicit input and develop a comprehensive scientific plan designed to help resolve critical technical, scientific ,and technological gaps leading toward a future hydrate-focused offshore drilling, logging, and coring program.
The project will facilitate better understanding of the impact of hydrates on safety and seafloor stability by helping to define and enable future collection of critical data that can be used by scientists to study the role of hydrates in global climate and assess the feasibility of marine hydrate as a potential energy resource.
Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
- Completed the compilation of the Marine Methane Hydrate Field Science Plan, documenting ongoing challenges in gas hydrate science, the types of research needed to help meet those challenges and the types / locations of marine field research expeditions that could make the most significant impacts in those research areas.
- Completed a summary report documenting the findings of the June 2013 hydrate community scientific planning workshop.
- Conducted a hydrate community scientific planning workshop June 4-6, 2013 in Washington, DC. More than sixty scientists from around the world contributed insight into hydrate science challenges and how a marine research expedition might help solve these challenges.
- Completed the initial version of an historical review report of methane hydrate-related field activities worldwide (this will be a living document). The report and other project information are available on the project website [external site].
- Definition of a detailed plan for the hydrate community scientific planning workshop scheduled for June 2013.
- Selection of Tim Collett (USGS) as the lead hydrate community liaison for the project.
- Establishment of the project science team consisting of world class scientists from around the world working in a variety of hydrate-relevant disciplines.
Current Status (December 2013)
Project efforts are essentially complete with the finalization of the Marine Methane Hydrate Field Science Plan (development of which was the primary focus of the project). This plan is available via the link below in the "Additional Information" section. Following the printing and release of the Science Plan, focus will shift to the development of the final project report to be completed by March 2014.
Project Start: October 1, 2012
Project End: September 30, 2013
Project Cost Information:
Planned Total Funding: $201,976
DOE Contribution: $154,478
Cost Share Contribution: $47,498
NETL – Richard Baker (Richard.Baker@netl.doe.gov or 304-285-4714)
Consortium for Ocean Leadership – Greg Myers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Marine Methane Hydrate Field Science Plan [PDF-14.4MB] - December 2013
Hydrate Community Scientific Planning Workshop Report from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership [PDF-3.94MB]
Quarterly Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-267KB] July - September, 2013
Quarterly Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-265KB] April - June, 2013
Quarterly Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-273KB] January - March, 2013
Quarterly Research Performance Progress Report [PDF-401KB] October - December, 2012