The Honorable Spencer Abraham
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585-1000
June 1, 2001
Dear Mr. Secretary,
In accordance with the provisions of the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000, a Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee was created earlier this year to advise you on a number of issues involving methane hydrate. The Committee had its initial meeting on May 17 and 18, 2001. This letter summarizes the committee’s discussions and provides you the issues and opportunities arising from ongoing research in this field.
At its meeting the committee affirmed the four objectives for methane hydrate research as outlined in the Department of Energy’s 1999 National Methane Hydrate Multi-Year R&D Program Plan. These focus on:
Determining the location of methane hydrate deposits and assessing their potential as a domestic and global fuel source.
Developing the technology for commercial production from methane hydrates.
Understanding the role of methane hydrates in the global carbon cycle and climate change.
Understanding hydrate-sediment systems in sediments near the sea floor to ensure safe operations for oil and gas operations and to assess the risk of mass movement and methane release. In addition, the committee agreed on a fifth objective: