During the course of the past two decades, enormous reserve potential has often been attributed to gas hydrates in marine sediments, yet the commercial development of gas hydrates is widely viewed as a possibility which is 20, 30, or more years away. As a result, the oil and gas industry has been slow to pursue this opportunity, and gas hydrate exploration and production research has been a low priority for most energy companies. This perspective is changing as a result of recent research by universities, government agencies, and international consortia. In particular, a better understanding of gas hydrate formation has developed along with geologic models for the concentration of gas hydrate in potential reservoirs. At the same time, emerging production technology should enable gas hydrate production in the near term, limited more by constraints on infrastructure than by production technology. Given projected higher natural gas prices, gas hydrates will likely emerge as a viable commercial resource in some regions of the world within five years.

You do not currently have access to this article.