mandated goals and levels of support that have been available for this Program may require that programmatic direction in the future be focused specifically on applied and theoretical efforts related to the production of methane from methane hydrate.
Borehole research studies over the past several years have increased optimism that the long-term production of methane from methane hydrate can be technically achieved. In particular, methane gas flow by the simple depressurization technique has been demonstrated. However, the scale and duration of flow tests have been limited, uncertainty still exists in regard to identifying appropriate production technologies, and challenges remain in predicting the field-scale response.
Well completions with appropriate production technologies should be developed and demonstrated in the field.
Long-term production tests on methane hydrate are required in a variety of geologic settings, beginning in the Arctic where technical issues may initially be less challenging than in marine settings. Demonstrating potential commercial rates for production is essential for future evaluation of production economics. Study of the factors that affect the production of gas and water should also be considered. These factors include, for example, the distribution of methane hydrate, its concentration, the physical properties of the host rock, sediment heterogeneity, and the influence of overlying and underlying sedimentary units.
Production tests should establish initial conditions, monitor changes during production, and determine formation response after testing by using repeated geophysical surveys; in situ formation temperature, pressure, and geomechanical measurements; and