Saturday, September 15, 2012

Gamechanging Natural Gas Tech Gets Green Light

Another Fracking disaster in the making?  Maybe the injection of CO2 and nitrogen isn't as bad as the chemical cocktail used in NG fracking, but it's still injecting something into the ground that wasn't there before.  Potential for more seimic activity here?

Forbes - William Pentland, Contributor

Gamechanging Natural Gas Tech Gets Green Light

In April, the U.S. Department of Energy and an international consortium of major oil and gas companies completed an unprecedented two-month proof-of-concept test in the North Slope of Alaska. The experiment was supposed to show that a steady flow of methane molecules could be extracted from a substance known as methane or gas hydrates submerged under the sea floor.

It worked and the world moved one step closer to tapping gas hydrates, the most abundant fossil fuel resource on Earth.

Gas hydrates consist of a crystalline substance in which methane molecules – the primary component of natural gas – are trapped in a lattice of water molecules.

“The energy content of methane in hydrate form is immense, possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels,” according to the Energy Department.

Methane hydrates are found in and under the Arctic permafrost and in ocean sediments along nearly every continental shelf in the world. The world’s gas hydrate resource has been conservatively estimated to be at least twice the total amount of all remaining petroleum and natural gas reserves, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Journal of Research.

The United States is almost literally swimming in the stuff. For example, a pair of relatively small areas roughly 200-miles off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina contain more than 1,300 trillion cubic feet of methane gas.

In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that there are about 85 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas resources within gas hydrates on Alaska’s North Slope. The research that extracted gas from hydrates in April relied on a technology developed by ConocoPhillips and the University of Norway, Bergen, which injects a mixture of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen into a hydrate formation to facilitate the flow of natural gas.[emphasis mine]
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