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Project Title:

Assessment of the Department of Energy's Methane Hydrate Research and Development Program: Evaluating Methane Hydrates as a Future Energy Resource (COMPLETE)
PIN: BESR-U-08-01-A        

Major Unit:

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Sub Unit: Board on Earth Sciences & Resources
Ocean Studies Board
Polar Research Board

RSO: Eide, Elizabeth

Subject/Focus Area:

Project Scope
The Energy Policy Act of 2005, Section 968, calls for the Secretary of Energy to enter into an agreement with the National Research Council to (1) conduct a study of the progress made under the methane hydrate R&D program, and (2) make recommendations for future methane hydrate R&D needs.

Specifically, the study will:
1. Briefly review previous methane hydrate research conducted by DOE and its federal and nonfederal collaborative partners from 2000-2005.
2. Review in detail the methane hydrate R&D conducted by DOE and partners from 2005-2007 considering the progress made in identifying and addressing the issues related to resource and reserve estimates, discovery methodology, production technology, and environmental impacts.
3. Review the process by which past and current R&D has been and is being conducted and advised including domestic interagency coordination (between DOE and USGS, NOAA, MMS, BLM, NSF and the Office of Naval Research); collaboration with institutes of higher education, oceanographic institutions, and industry; international cooperation and collaboration; the methane hydrates advisory panel mechanism; and peer-review mechanisms.
4. Evaluate future R&D needs, with specific attention to:
a. The use of remote sensing and improved seismic processing for identification of methane hydrate resources,
b. Developing new technologies to produce natural gas from methane hydrates, including technologies to reduce the risk of drilling through methane hydrates,
c. Assessing the research conducted to evaluate and mitigate the environmental impact of hydrate degassing, both naturally and in conjunction with commercial exploitation,
d. The scope and design of exploratory drilling, well testing, pilot and full-scale production well tests on permafrost and non-permafrost gas hydrates necessary to address (a) through (c), above.
5. Make recommendations concerning:
a. Suitability of methane hydrate resources to make a substantial contribution to domestic natural gas supply by 2025,
b. Changes to the current program of R&D to meet the research needs identified above,
c. Coordination of interagency, academic, and industrial research and partnerships, domestically and internationally, in carrying out the program,
d. Graduate education and training in methane hydrate research and resource production.

The project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy.
The approximate start date for the project is March 24, 2008.
A report will be issued at the end of the project in approximately 21 months.

Project Duration: 21 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 09/11/2008
 Meeting 2 - 12/04/2008
 Meeting 3 - 03/05/2009
 Meeting 4 - 05/07/2009


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Realizing the Energy Potential of Methane Hydrate for the United States