Alaska Science Center


Gas Hydrate Energy Production Studies in Northern Alaska

This effort was designed to address critical issues associated with potential production of gas hydrates is based on an understanding of the geologic nature of the gas hydrate accumulations.

Abstract


The primary objective of this effort was to evaluate the production response of the know gas hydrate accumulations in the area of the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk River production units on the North Slope of Alaska. Gas hydrates are naturally occurring, ice-like solids in which water molecules trap gas molecules in a cage-like structure known as a clathrate. This project was designed as a cooperative research effort, with the USGS providing the technical research lead in a partnership that includes the US Department of Energy and various industry representatives, including BP Alaska Exploration, ConocoPhillips Alaska, and others. This effort was designed to address critical issues associated with potential production of gas hydrates based on an understanding of the geologic nature of the gas hydrate accumulations, the geophysical characteristics of in-situ natural gas hydrates, and (eventually) an extended gas hydrate production test well. Much of the work on this task is focused on the Eileen and Tarn accumulations, including the portion of the Eileen accumulation in the Milne Point region which was drilled in February, 2007. USGS provided a leadership role in the interpretation, calibration, and modeling of the Mount Elbert (Milne Point area) drilling results and their integration with pre-drilling estimates. Gas hydrates represents a potentially vast energy resource, but much is still unknown about its occurrence, distribution, formation, and recovery. Study of gas hydrates on land in northern Alaska, the area that will likely see the first development of gas hydrates, will facilitate understanding of these resources on both permafrost and marine environments.
Products
Title Type
Energy Resources Program - Gas HydratesProject Website

Contacts

Collett, Timothy S., 303-236-5731

Status: completed
Start Year: 2006
End Year: 2011

Project Sites

Location
Kuparuk River
Prudhoe Bay

USGS Mission Area and Program
Energy and MineralsEnergy Resources

Keywords
Human Dimensions > Economic Resources
Human Dimensions > Economic Resources > Oil/Gas Production
Solid Earth > Natural Resources
Solid Earth > Natural Resources > Gas Hydrates
Solid Earth > Natural Resources > Natural Gas