DOE will fund 14 methane hydrate research projects

This article was corrected Sept. 11 to reflect an incorrect monetary amount. The US Department of Energy selected 14 methane hydrate projects in 11 states to receive up to $5.59 million of federal funding, not $559 million.

The US Department of Energy has selected 14 methane hydrate research projects in 11 states to receive up to $5.59 million of federal funding. The awards build on a successful, unprecedented test earlier this year where a steady flow of natural gas was safely extracted from methane hydrates on Alaska’s North Slope, DOE said.

DOE said the projects, which will be managed by the department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, will advance understanding of the nature and occurrence of deepwater and arctic gas hydrates and their implications for future resource development and environmental performance.

The worldwide volume of natural gas held in methane hydrates is immense, but poorly known, according to NETL. Estimates range from 100,000 tcf to more than 1 million tcf, it said.

DOE said that prior research it has supported and outside studies have confirmed that the resource volume apparently is substantial, and amounts which can be explored for and produced using existing technologies are tremendous.

The 14 new projects will focus research on field programs for deepwater hydrate characterization, the response of hydrate systems to changing climates, and advances in the understanding of hydrate-bearing deposits, DOE said.

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