ABSTRACT

The University of Texas Hydrate Pressure Coring Expedition (UT-GOM2-1) recovered cores at near in situ formation pressures from a gas hydrate reservoir composed of sandy silt and clayey silt beds in Green Canyon Block 955 in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico. The expedition results are synthesized and linked to other detailed analyses presented in this volume. Millimeter- to meter-scale beds of sandy silt and clayey silt are interbedded on the levee of a turbidite channel. The hydrate saturation (the volume fraction of the pore space occupied by hydrate) in the sandy silts ranges from 79% to 93%, and there is little to no hydrate in the clayey silt. Gas from the hydrates is composed of nearly pure methane (99.99%) with less than 400 ppm of ethane or heavier hydrocarbons. The δ13C values from the methane are depleted (−60‰ to −65‰ Vienna Peedee belemnite), and it is interpreted that the gases were largely generated by primary microbial methanogenesis but that low concentrations of propane or heavier hydrocarbons record at least trace thermogenic components. The in situ pore-water salinity is very close to that of seawater. This suggests that the excess salinity generated during hydrate formation diffused away because the hydrate formed slowly or because it formed long ago. Because the sandy silt deposits have high hydrate concentration and high intrinsic permeability, they may represent a class of reservoir that can be economically developed. Results from this expedition will inform a new generation of reservoir simulation models that will illuminate how these reservoirs might be best produced.

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