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Fiery Ice: Methane Hydrates at the University of Texas
The Institute for Geophysics at U.T. (UTIG) is leading a multi-disciplinary study of methane hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Over 6 years (2014-2020), we will locate, drill, and sample methane hydrate deposits through multiple expeditions. We will also build the infrastructure to store, manipulate, and analyze pressurized samples that we acquire. This effort links UTIG, the Dept. of Geological Sciences, and the Dept. of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at UT with Columbia University, Ohio State, USGS, and BOEM.
We focus on methane hydrates as a future energy resource. Through analysis of hydrate core acquired and preserved at in-situ pressure, we will illuminate the petrophysical habit, the methane concentration, the thermodynamic state, and the material behavior of coarse-grained hydrate reservoirs. Through downhole testing we will test the response of the hydrate reservoir to depressurization, one method of production. Our study will inform a new generation of process-based models simulating the genesis and perturbation of coarse-grained hydrate reservoirs.