Monday, May 21, 2012

21 Trillion Cubic Feet of Methane Hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico


Between GasFrac's LNG Gel and sand slurry used to produce shale oil - of which we now know we have 1.5 trillion recoverable barrels in the Green River Formation in Wyoming, Colorado and Wyoming - and the 21 trillion cubic feet of methane hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico it seems as if technological advances in the oil and gas industry are about to buy us considerable time in which to solve the green energy conundrum.

Globally and for the U.S., methane hydrates represent a potentially huge new source of the cleanest fossil fuel. A recent Minerals Management Service study estimated methane hydrate resources in the Gulf of Mexico at 21,000 trillion cubic feet (TCF), one hundred times the current U.S. proved reserves of natural gas.

You read that right.  The US government estimates we have 100 times more methane hydrates available in the Gulf of Mexico than we have in "proved reserves" of natural gas in the US.  I don't think the 6.6 trillion in shale gas reserves identified last year are included in the "proved reserves" number.  Instead I think the 6.6 trillion in shale gas reserves are deemed "recoverable" and are not, therefore, included in the "proved reserves" number.

Regardless, access to these vast reserves of natural gas - both in the shale formations and as methane hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico - are, as I've argued in the past, resetting the geopolitical chess board in ways not even imagined a few years ago.

The most interesting thing about recovery of the methane hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico is that one of the most intriguing production methodologies involves injecting carbon dioxide into the formation in order to stimulate production.  In other words, these vast reserves of methane hydrates may also serve as a sink for carbon dioxide, the gas the US EPA has deemed a pollutant and which green advocates around the globe clamor to sequester in order to prevent global warming.

What a wonderful state of affairs.  We have a clean source of energy - methane gas - available for production through the sequestration of an evil gas, carbon dioxide.  Happy days hey?

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