Natural Gas Hydrates: A Review
Timothy S. Collett, Arthur H. Johnson, Camelia C. Knapp, Ray Boswell, 2009. "Natural Gas Hydrates: A Review", Natural Gas Hydrates—Energy Resource Potential and Associated Geologic Hazards, T. Collett, A. Johnson, C. Knapp, R. Boswell
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A strong upward trend exists for the consumption of all energy sources as people throughout the world strive for a higher standard of living. Someday, possibly soon, the earth's store of easily accessed hydrocarbons will no longer satisfy our growing economies and populations. By then, an unfamiliar but kindred hydrocarbon resource called natural gas hydrate may become a significant source of energy.
Approximately 35 years ago, Russian scientists made what was then a bold assertion that gas hydrates, a crystalline solid of water and natural gas and a historical curiosity to physical chemists, should occur in abundance in the natural environment. Since this early start, the scientific foundation has been built for the realization that gas hydrates are a global phenomenon, occurring in permafrost regions of the arctic and in deep-water parts of most continental margins worldwide. The amount of natural gas contained in the world's gas-hydrate accumulations is enormous, but these estimates remain highly speculative.
Researchers have long speculated that gas hydrates could eventually be a commercial producible energy resource, yet technical and economic hurdles have historically made gas-hydrate development a distant goal instead of a near-term possibility. This view began to change in recent years with the realization that this unconventional resource could possibly be developed with the existing conventional oil and gas production technology. The pace of gas-hydrate energy assessment projects has significantly accelerated over the past several years, but many critical gas-hydrate exploration and development questions still remain.
The exploitation and potential development of gas-hydrate resources is a complex technological problem. However, humans have successfully dealt with such complicated problems in the past to satisf your energy needs; technical innovations have been key to our historical successes.
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In September 2004, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) convened a Hedberg Research Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada titled "Natural Gas Hydrates: Energy Resource Potential and Associated Geologic Hazards." As a continuation of the Hedberg Research Conference in Vancouver, the conveners of the conference and the editors of this Memoir have worked with more than 150 authors and coauthors to prepare this Memoir on gas hydrates. This publication follows the goals of the Hedberg conference; however, the contents of this Memoir were expanded to include all aspects of gas hydrates in nature. This Memoir contains 39 individual contributions, ranging from long topical summaries to shorter focused research papers. This Memoir has been published in two parts, with digital versions of all the complete research papers included on the enclosed CD. The hardcopy portion of the Memoir includes abstracts and several key figures for each of the contributions along with a complete copy of a gas hydrate technical review. The digital portion of this Memoir has been organized into a series of topical sections consisting of review articles, marine gas hydrate papers, and gas hydrate laboratory and modeling studies. Because of the rapidly emerging worldwide interest in gas hydrates, this comprehensive treatise on the geology of gas hydrates will be valuable to both the gas hydrate research community and exploration/development geologists working in arctic and deep marine environments.