GEOLOGIC AND ENGINEERING CONTROLS ON THE PRODUCTION OF PERMAFROST–ASSOCIATED GAS HYDRATE ACCUMULATIONS Collett, Timothy S.
In 1995, the U.S. Geological Survey made the first systematic assessment of the in-place natural gas hydrate resources of the United States. That study suggested that the amount of gas in the gas hydrate accumulations of northern Alaska probably exceeds the volume of known conventional gas resources on the North Slope. Researchers have long speculated that gas hydrates could eventually be a commercial resource yet technical and economic hurdles have historically made gas hydrate development a distant goal rather than a near-term possibility. This view began to change over the past five years with the realization that this unconventional resource could be developed in conjunction with conventional gas fields. The most significant development was gas hydrate production testing conducted at the Mallik site in Canada’s Mackenzie Delta in 2002. The Mallik 2002 Gas Hydrate Production Research Well Program yielded the first modern, fully integrated field study and production test of a natural gas hydrate accumulation. More recently, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Geological Survey have successfully cored, logged, and tested a gas hydrate accumulation on the North Slope of Alaska know as the Mount Elbert Prospect. The Mallik 2002 project along with the Mount Elbert effort has for the first time allowed the rational assessment of the production response of a gas hydrate accumulation.
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