The U.S. Department of Energy and NETL, in collaboration with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), USGS, Petrotech Resources Alaska (PRA), Hilcorp Energy Company (Hilcorp), and BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA), have completed a projecting taking the first in a series of critical steps toward establishing a long-term methane hydrate production test site on the North Slope of Alaska. The project built on prior program successes while fulfilling a long-standing program goal.
In order to select an ideal test site, scientists analyzed a wealth of geological, geochemical, and geophysical data from the area, factored in operational and logistical parameters, and settled on a site in the Eileen trend in the western Prudhoe Bay Unit.
In December, 2018, a highly successful stratigraphic test well, Hydrate-01, was drilled at the site by BPXA under a contract through PRA. The test well confirmed the presence of two high-quality, hydrate-saturated reservoirs suitable for extended-duration testing.
Subsurface data were acquired during drilling, logging, and coring operations, including a full suite of geophysical measurements and 34 sidewall pressure cores. The long-term goal of the project to test and monitor the response of the gas hydrate-bearing reservoirs to controlled depressurization.
Hydrate-01 has the capacity to serve as a monitoring well during long-term production testing-- in a multi-well test program designed to answer first-order questions regarding the response of gas hydrate-bearing reservoirs to controlled depressurization. Extended duration testing could enable evaluation of the well design and inform follow-on tests intended to optimize well design and stimulation strategies. Ultimately, the test program could serve to demonstrate the commercial viability of producing gas from this North Slope hydrate play.