Institute of Petroleum Engineering

Centre for Gas Hydrate Research Publications



Abstract 057
Gas Hydrates - Challenges and Opportunities
Østergaard, K. K., Tohidi, B., Burgass, R. W., Danesh, A., and Todd, A.C.
Set for Britain: Britain's Younger Engineers, House of Commons, London, 4 December (2000).
Gas hydrates are formed from water and suitably sized gas like molecules under low temperature and high pressure conditions. These ice like compounds are of great importance in the petroleum industry as they can obstruct fluid flow in oil and gas pipelines, processing facilities, and offshore drilling, causing serious operational and safety concerns. Furthermore, there are vast amounts of methane gas hydrates in deep-sea sediments and permafrost regions (about twice as much as fossil fuels combined). The massive size of methane natural gas hydrates reserves has spurred considerable research activities to address their potential as a source of energy as well as their role in global climate changes. The Department of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University has been active in gas hydrate research since 1986. Recently the Hydrate Group has been awarded a major grant from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council for the establishment of a Centre for Gas Hydrate Research. The Centre will address a number of topics in various aspects of gas hydrates, particularly environmental impact, a potential source of energy, and transportation of gas from remote fields to consumers. This multidisciplinary Centre will provide a platform for national and international collaboration in this fast developing area of interest in the international scientific and technical community, as well as acting as a host for regular forums on gas hydrates. In this presentation the challenges and opportunities associated with gas hydrates are addressed. The aim is to advance general awareness on the role of gas hydrates in British oil and gas exploration and production, their potential use as a source of energy and their potential impact on environment and CO2 sequestration.