Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Huge Natural Gas From Methane Hydrates Process Developed
New Energy and Fuel ^ | May 3, 2012

Posted on 05/03/2012 12:51:07 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu contributed a statement to an announced breakthrough in research into tapping the vast fuel resource of methane hydrates that could eventually bolster already massive U.S. natural gas reserves.

As Al Fin pointed out yesterday natural gas is priced to a barrel of oil equivalent at about $10-$11 per the estimable Geoffrey Styles view, something less than 10% of the cost of oil. For North Americans adding a viable and hopefully low cost means to make use of gas hydrates could be giant boost to low cost fuel sources and a massive kick to the economy.

For experts the methane hydrates resource is the largest reserve of hydrocarbons in the planetary crust. So far humanity has not devised a process to economically harvest this immense energy wealth. Today’s DOE announcement may point the way to a new era in abundant energy to build out a bigger and better world economy.

By injecting a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen into a methane hydrate formation (pdf link) on Alaska’s North Slope, the DOE partnering with ConocoPhillips and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp was able to produce a steady flow of natural gas in the first field test of the new method. The test was done from mid-February to about mid-April this year.

Methane Hydrate Test Site Map of US DOE, CononcoPhillips and JOGMNC Process Test. Click image for more info.

The department said it would likely be years before production of methane hydrates becomes economically viable. Secretary Chu said in his statement, “While this is just the beginning, this research could potentially yield significant new supplies of natural gas.”

Methane hydrates are cold ice crystal-like structures that contain methane the chemical of natural gas. The hydrates are located under the Arctic permafrost and in ocean sediments along the continental shelf and widely spread worldwide.

Methane Hydrate Resources per Der Spiegel. Click image for the largest view.

Gerald Holder, dean of the engineering program at University of Pittsburgh, who has worked with the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory on the hydrate issue, said before the announcement he had been skeptical about what researchers would be able to accomplish.

He said the main problem until now was finding a way to extract natural gas from solid hydrates without adding a whole lot of steps that made the process too expensive, which makes the success of this new test significant.

“It makes the possibility of recovering methane from hydrates much more likely. It’s a long way off, but this could have huge impact on availability of natural gas,” said Holder.

While everyone is suggesting that methane hydrate production is some time in the future, we might note that a partner is from Japan, a country that has been buying via imports virtually all its energy and fuel inputs. A glance at the map of potential reserves shows that Japan may well pour on the intellectual and financial power to get results much quicker than many expect.

On the other hand, for North Americans natural gas is ratcheting down to dirt cheap, with more resources with the new horizontal drilling and reserve fracturing available on land and significant amounts of natural gas at sea in already developed areas.

For everyone the matter of coming up with the CO2 for the injection is going to be a significant issue. First just gathering it remains a significant problem. Making it from – natural gas – is the preferred method today. That raises the question if the CO2 injected is lost to sequestration or is it recycled for reuse, or what proportion is being lost or recycled? CO2 is very useful and it may become a valuable resource in its own right very soon.

Abundance makes a lot of things that weren’t viable at a price possible at lower costs. Abundant fission or cold fusion could make electrolysis viable freeing hydrogen for adding to coal for both liquid fuels and CO2 sources. Scaling could make such concepts usual and common thinking very quickly.

For now though the DOE and partner’s news is very gratifying. It must be giving the futurists at OPEC an OMG moment, again. Things are going to be changing.

Lets hope the DOE and the partners spill some more info soon so we can have a better look.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Japan; News/Current Events; US: Alaska
KEYWORDS: abiogenic; alaska; arctic; arcticocean; climatechange; climategate; climategate2; co2; energy; fracking; gashydrades; globalwarminghoax; hydrocarbons; japan; northslope; opec; prudhoebay; thomasgold
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-58 next last
To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Japan may be where it goes into production...see the text.

Yeah, I saw that... but still... all of this is happening on the North Slope, right? It sounded to me that the Japanese were interested in getting this into production quickly on our soil - and thus would need a delivery means to get the product from there to a port for their boats. I may be misreading it, but that was my interpretation.

21 posted on 05/03/2012 1:32:38 PM PDT by alancarp (Liberals are all for shared pain... until they're included in the pain group.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: taxcontrol
Here's a Possible Method
22 posted on 05/03/2012 1:39:41 PM PDT by doc11355
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Marine_Uncle

I really don’t give a damn what happens to them. Let them eat “F”ing sand.

23 posted on 05/03/2012 1:45:37 PM PDT by WellyP (REAL)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Paladin2
Watts wrong with butanol?

While significantly better than ethanol (except in octane rating) I don't see it as good as diesel. Shell's Pearl GTL plant also produces Naphtha with is part of the feedstock to gasoline.

I haven't seen anyone successfully make the economics work for Butanol. Shell's process in now in commercial use at their second facility. I expect we will soon see more of them.

24 posted on 05/03/2012 1:47:38 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: thackney


25 posted on 05/03/2012 1:50:21 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming HOAX is about Global Governance)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Little bammy will be ordering “Global Methane Hydrates Safety Oversight and Management Committees” within the week.

He will appoint the current Chairperson of the U.S. Government Department of Diversity and Inclusion to manage it due to their strong qualifications in the fields of Community Organizing and memberships in GLBT Office of Affairs, Aztlan, Raza, MEChA and The Communist Party USA.


26 posted on 05/03/2012 1:50:28 PM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: alancarp
Alaska is just the test site.

See the map,...Japan has hydrates along it's coast according to the map.

27 posted on 05/03/2012 1:53:11 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The Global Warming HOAX is about Global Governance)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Could this be used on the methane from cow f*rts? haha

28 posted on 05/03/2012 1:57:12 PM PDT by dynachrome ("Our forefathers didn't bury their guns. They buried those that tried to take them.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Oh great - Japan, China, India, Pakistan could all have claims in those areas. What could go wrong?

29 posted on 05/03/2012 2:00:46 PM PDT by alancarp (Liberals are all for shared pain... until they're included in the pain group.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: WellyP

Well they sure have enough silica handy to keep their hunger pangs down to a minimum.

30 posted on 05/03/2012 2:00:59 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
This is not new, it comes up every five years or so.
The methane deposits are also mentioned every now and then when someone claims that a few degrees of global warming will release gigatons of methane from the seafloor and thawing permafrost bogs in Siberia and cause a world wide methane catastrophe.
Of course we can't mine this, some little mollusk could get hurt.
(Farming thousands of acres of algae however is fine).

31 posted on 05/03/2012 2:07:44 PM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I’ve read that there are an estimated 1,000 years supply, based on current demand, of methyl hydrates.

32 posted on 05/03/2012 2:08:16 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Sounds like the biggest issue is finding a large supply of carbon dioxide. Maybe they should scrap up all the tundra and burn it?

33 posted on 05/03/2012 2:23:55 PM PDT by crusty old prospector
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: thackney
Better yet, diesel and kerosene.Proven technology, at least two large (commercial) sized facilities. It is only a matter of economics and regulations, not a theoretical technology.

I love diesels.I'm driving my second one now and will *never* again drive anything else.Thanks to its outstanding fuel economy I firmly believe that diesel can be a big part of the short term solution,maybe even medium term.But if the reports I've read about *our* supply of natural gas are true I think that *it* is the answer...long term.

As you may,or may not,know about half of the passenger cars on the road in Europe today are diesels.In fact I've heard it suggested that Europe and the US have it exactly wrong,given their particular transportation needs...Europe should be driving gasoline cars and we should be driving diesels.Go figure!

34 posted on 05/03/2012 2:37:22 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Unlike Mrs Obama,I've Been Proud Of This Country My *Entire* Life!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

But What about
the Polar Bears!

35 posted on 05/03/2012 3:24:08 PM PDT by itsahoot (I will not vote for Romney period, and by election day you won't like him either.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Time to Chu this and lock it down.

36 posted on 05/03/2012 3:27:54 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

So then......Large domes placed on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico with pipes to the shore, to a methane to Natural Gas facility and viola!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s simple Jim.........

The amount of methane gassing away at the bottom of the Gulf is enormous.

37 posted on 05/03/2012 4:16:30 PM PDT by Puckster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Donate here!

FReepers who believe in and support our pro-life, pro-family, pro-limited government conservative causes, enjoy reading and participating on FR, think it's a worthwhile endeavor and would like to help us keep it going.
Please click the link.
The Republic you save may be your own.

38 posted on 05/03/2012 4:21:36 PM PDT by RedMDer (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]


39 posted on 05/03/2012 4:52:26 PM PDT by PMAS (ABO 2012)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

pretty incredible,, all that energy just lying around, waiting to be exploited, maybe they’ll find dilithium crystals too if they keep looking.. but then the sierra club and nrdc and epa will sue ‘em to block development. ;-)

40 posted on 05/03/2012 5:02:31 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-58 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson