Quantification of the resource should include

  • Pilot seismic surveys using existing geophysical methods optimized to map and quantify in-place methane hydrate accumulations.

  • Improved understanding of in situ properties of sediments containing methane hydrate through comprehensive testing (geophysical, geochemical, microbiological, geomechanical) of undisturbed natural drill cores and synthetic samples.

  • Consideration of the development of new geophysical imaging, processing, and quantification techniques, particularly with respect to quantifying the in-place resource.

In the future, efforts to collect data that maximize resolution within the zones where methane hydrate occurs and allow the potential resource to be better quantified should be encouraged. New seismic and electromagnetic survey techniques should be developed and preferably used in conjunction with conventional seismic surveys.

Although understanding the role of methane hydrate as a source of global greenhouse gas is of general interest, this research is not uniquely related to realizing methane hydrate as an energy resource. However, quantifying ongoing, natural methane fluxes from methane hydrate on a local scale is needed to provide a baseline to evaluate the effects of any future production and development of the methane hydrate resource. Thus,

  • Studies are required to address the processes involved (a) in the transmission of methane from the subsurface through the methane hydrate stability zone to the surface and (b) in the subsequent fate of the released methane. These studies should focus on degassing processes and potentially enhanced environmental impacts from commercial production of methane from methane hydrate and from methane hydrate associated with other oil and gas developments.

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