Abstract

As gas hydrate energy assessment matures worldwide, emphasis has evolved away from confirmation of the mere presence of gas hydrate to the more complex issue of prospecting for those specific accumulations that are viable resource targets. Gas hydrate exploration now integrates the unique pressure and temperature preconditions for gas hydrate occurrence with those concepts and practices that are the basis for conventional oil and gas exploration. We have aimed to assimilate the lessons learned to date in global gas hydrate exploration to outline a generalized prospecting approach as follows: (1) use existing well and geophysical data to delineate the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ), (2) identify and evaluate potential direct indications of hydrate occurrence through evaluation of interval of elevated acoustic velocity and/or seismic events of prospective amplitude and polarity, (3) mitigate geologic risk via regional seismic and stratigraphic facies analysis as well as seismic mapping of amplitude distribution along prospective horizons, and (4) mitigate further prospect risk through assessment of the evidence of gas presence and migration into the GHSZ. Although a wide range of occurrence types might ultimately become viable energy supply options, this approach, which has been tested in only a small number of locations worldwide, has directed prospect evaluation toward those sand-hosted, high-saturation occurrences that were presently considered to have the greatest future commercial potential.

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