CHARTING THE FUTURE OF METHANE HYDRATE RESEARCH IN THE UNITED STATES

Committee to Review the Activities Authorized Under the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000

Ocean Studies Board

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States CHARTING THE FUTURE OF METHANE HYDRATE RESEARCH IN THE UNITED STATES Committee to Review the Activities Authorized Under the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000 Ocean Studies Board Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. DE-AM01-99PO80016 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Energy. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09292-2 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-54499-8 (PDF) Cover art designed by Van Nguyen of the National Academies Press, and includes a photograph of a burning methane hydrate taken by Liujuan Tang of the University of Hawaii. This photograph is reprinted with permission of Dr. Stephen Masutani, University of Hawaii, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, © 2003. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States Committee to Review the Activities Authorized Under the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 20001 EARL H. DOYLE (Chair), Shell Oil (retired), Sugar Land, Texas SCOTT R. DALLIMORE, Geological Survey of Canada, Sidney, British Columbia RANA A. FINE, University of Miami, Florida AMOS M. NUR, Stanford University, California MICHAEL E.Q. PILSON, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett WILLIAM S. REEBURGH, University of California, Irvine E. DENDY SLOAN JR., Colorado School of Mines, Golden ANNE M. TRÉHU, Oregon State University, Corvallis NRC Staff JOANNE BINTZ, Study Director JENNIFER MERRILL, Study Director NANCY CAPUTO, Research Associate The work of this committee was overseen by the Ocean Studies Board and the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources of the National Research Council. 1   The committee and staff biographies are provided in Appendix A.

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States Ocean Studies Board NANCY RABALAIS (Chair), Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Chauvin LEE G. ANDERSON, University of Delaware, Newark WHITLOW AU, University of Hawaii at Manoa ARTHUR BAGGEROER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge RICHARD B. DERISO, Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, La Jolla, California ROBERT B. DITTON, Texas A&M University, College Station EARL DOYLE, Shell Oil (retired), Sugar Land, Texas ROBERT DUCE, Texas A&M University, College Station PAUL G. GAFFNEY II, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. WAYNE R. GEYER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts STANLEY R. HART, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts RALPH S. LEWIS, Connecticut Geological Survey, Hartford WILLIAM F. MARCUSON III, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (retired), Vicksburg, Mississippi JULIAN P. MCCREARY JR., University of Hawaii, Honolulu JACQUELINE MICHEL, Research Planning, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina JOAN OLTMAN-SHAY, Northwest Research Associates, Inc., Bellevue, Washington ROBERT T. PAINE, University of Washington, Seattle SHIRLEY A. POMPONI, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Fort Pierce, Florida FRED N. SPIESS, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California DANIEL SUMAN, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Florida NRC Staff SUSAN ROBERTS, Director JENNIFER MERRILL, Senior Program Officer DAN WALKER, Senior Program Officer ALAN B. SIELEN, Visiting Scholar ANDREAS SOHRE, Financial Associate SHIREL SMITH, Administrative Associate JODI BACHIM, Research Associate NANCY CAPUTO, Research Associate SARAH CAPOTE, Senior Program Assistant

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States Board on Earth Sciences and Resources GEORGE M. HORNBERGER (Chair), University of Virginia, Charlottesville M. LEE ALLISON, Kansas Energy Council, Topeka JILL BANFIELD, University of California, Berkeley STEVEN R. BOHLEN, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C. ADAM M. DZIEWONSKI, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts RHEA GRAHAM, Pueblo of Sandia, Bernalillo, New Mexico ROBYN HANNIGAN, Arkansas State University, State University V. RAMA MURTHY, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada MARK SCHAEFER, NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia STEVEN M. STANLEY, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland BILLIE L. TURNER II, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts STEPHEN G. WELLS, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada THOMAS J. WILBANKS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee NRC Staff ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director PAUL M. CUTLER, Senior Program Officer TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer RONALD F. ABLER, Senior Scholar KRISTEN L. KRAPF, Program Officer JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Associate TANJA E. PILZAK, Research Associate JAMES B. DAVIS, Program Assistant AMANDA M. ROBERTS, Program Assistant

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States Preface Methane hydrate research took a great leap forward with the passage of the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-193; Appendix B). This act mandates several levels of coordination for a program in methane hydrate research, including specific research areas to be pursued and a method for scientific input and oversight through an advisory panel and interagency coordinating team. In the past four years, the Department of Energy (DOE) Methane Hydrate Research and Development (R&D) Program has funded more than 30 projects totaling more than $29 million. The projects encompass a wide array of field and laboratory studies conducted in collaboration with academic institutions, industry, and other federal agencies. Without congressional reauthorization, Section 3 of the act, which defines the program, will cease to be effective at the end of Fiscal Year 2005. In addition to the mandates already mentioned, the act calls for the National Research Council (NRC) to study progress made under the program initiated by the act and to make recommendations for future methane hydrate research and development needs. The Committee to Review the Activities Authorized Under the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000 was convened for this purpose (Appendix A). Committee members included representatives from both academia and industry with a wide range of scientific and engineering expertise. The committee determined that it could not address the task thoroughly without reviewing the way in which program funds are awarded and the level of scientific oversight within the program. The committee agreed that it was outside the scope of the study to evaluate the scientific merit of all 30 projects funded by the DOE Methane Hydrate R&D Program and so chose to focus on two large international projects in which DOE participated; three large-scale, industry-managed projects that are expected to consume more than 60 percent of planned funding; and a few smaller-scale, academic and laboratory projects. The committee also was charged

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States with determining research needs for a future hydrate program. The committee did not recommend specific projects, but instead focused on emphasizing areas for future research. In preparation for this study, the committee met in open session at three locations (Washington, D.C.; Houston, Texas; and La Jolla, California) to gather information from managers who oversee the DOE Methane Hydrate R&D Program, interagency collaborators, members of the Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee mandated by the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000, and members of the industrial and scientific community that participate in research funded by the program (Appendix C). Some committee members also attended the DOE Office of Fossil Energy Methane Hydrate Research and Development Conference and a Gulf of Mexico Naturally Occurring Hydrates/Joint Industry Project Workshop in Westminster, Colorado, from September 29 to October 1, 2003, sponsored by DOE and ChevronTexaco (Appendix D). The purpose of attending these meetings was to better familiarize the committee with the results of the DOE Methane Hydrate R&D Program studies, to meet the participants, and to observe community input into the DOE Methane Hydrate R&D Program. The primary goal of this report is not only to review the progress made under the act and to provide advice on future methane hydrate research and development needs, but also to emphasize the importance of scientific oversight and community input to funding that research. Such oversight, incorporating external proposal review and involvement of the advisory bodies mandated by the act and sponsored for that purpose, would bring a great deal to the program. Earl Doyle, Chair

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States Acknowledgments This report was greatly enhanced by those who participated in three open meetings held as part of this study. The committee would first like to acknowledge the efforts of those who gave presentations at open meetings: Edith Allison, Department of Energy (DOE), Fossil Energy Headquarters; Brad Tomer, DOE, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL); Deborah Hutchinson, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); Robert LaBelle, Minerals Management Service; Bilal Haq, National Science Foundation, and Planning Committee of the Secretary of Energy; Bhakta Rath, Naval Research Laboratory; Barbara Moore, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Art Johnson, Hydrate Energy International, and chair of the DOE Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee; Robert Hunter, BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc.; Sivakumar Subramanian, ChevronTexaco; Thomas Williams, Maurer Technology, Inc; William Gwilliam, DOE, NETL; Steve Kirby, USGS; Tom Lorenson, USGS; Emrys Jones, ChevronTexaco; Tim Collett, USGS; George Moridis, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Peter Brewer, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; and Miriam Kastner, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. These talks helped set the stage for fruitful discussions in the closed sessions that followed. The committee would like to thank the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, especially the director James Zucchetto, for expert advice on this activity. The committee is also grateful to a number of people who provided important discussion and/or material for this report including: Harry Roberts, Louisiana State University; William Parrish, Conoco-Phillips (retired); Timothy Collett, U.S. Geological Survey; Brad Tomer, DOE; Edith Allison, DOE; Ray Boswell, DOE; Stephen Masutani, University of Hawaii; Ted McCallister, DOE; Keith A. Kvenvolden, USGS; Alexei V. Milkov, BP America; Bill Liddell, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation; Ross Chapman, University of Victoria; John Beck, Ocean Drilling Program; Kim Bracchi, Ocean Drilling Program; and Liujuan Tang, University of Hawaii.

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report. ROBERT G. BEA, University of California, Berkeley JOHN B. CURTIS, Colorado School of Mines, Golden ROBERT FISK, Bureau of Land Management, Anchorage, Alaska GERALD D. HOLDER, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, University of Virginia, Charlottesville CHRIS MAPLES, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada ALEXEI V. MILKOV, BP America, Houston, Texas CHARLES K. PAULL, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California DAVID W. SCHOLL, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California JEFF SEVERINGHAUS, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California PATRICIA SOBECKY, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta JEAN K. WHELAN, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Carl Wunsch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and Raymond Price, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada, who were appointed by the National Research Council, and were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   15      The Department of Energy’s Role in Methane Hydrate Research,   16      The National Research Council Review,   19      Organization of this Report,   20 2   WHY STUDY GAS HYDRATE?   23      Gas Hydrate as a Fossil Fuel Resource,   25      Gas Hydrate and Global Climate Change,   28      Gas Hydrate and Seafloor Stability,   30      Distribution and Dynamics of Gas Hydrate in Nature,   32      Feasibility of Producing Methane from Gas Hydrate,   41 3   A REVIEW OF METHANE HYDRATE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS TO DATE   43      Project Solicitation and Award Criteria,   43      Project Reviews,   47      International Projects,   48      Industry-Managed Targeted Research Projects,   53      USGS Programs Sponsored by the DOE Methane Hydrate R&D Program,   60      Smaller-Scale DOE Methane Hydrate R&D Program Investments,   61      Summary,   69      Findings and Recommendations,   69

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States 4   DIRECTIONS FOR PROGRAM EMPHASIS, RESEARCH, AND RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT   73      Appropriate DOE Methane Hydrate R&D Program Emphasis for the Future,   73      Recommendations,   80 5   SCIENTIFIC OVERSIGHT OF THE DOE METHANE HYDRATE R&D PROGRAM   83      The Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee,   83      The Interagency Coordinating Committee and the Technical Coordinating Team,   86      Science in the Project Selection Process,   88      Summary,   89      Findings and Recommendations,   91 6   SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   93      Meeting the Goals of the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000,   94      Future Program Emphasis, Research, and Resource Development,   99      Scientific Oversight of the DOE Methane Hydrate R&D Program,   101      Overview,   103     REFERENCES   105     APPENDIXES     A   Committee and Staff Biographies,   117 B   Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000,   123 C   Speakers and Presentation Titles from Meetings of the NRC Committee to Review the Activities Authorized Under the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000,   129 D   Committee Summary and Observations of the DOE Conference/JIP Workshop held September 30 to October 1, 2003 in Westminster, Colorado,   131 E   Acronyms,   135 F   Project Summaries,   139

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Charting the Future of Methane Hydrate Research in the United States G   Projects Funded by DOE Under the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Program,   151 H   Letters from the Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee (2001 and 2002) to DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham,   177 I   Membership of the Interagency Coordinating Committee and theTechnical Coordinating Team,   191

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