Alaskan drilling will assess gas hydrate

February 20, 2007

Drilling has started on an Alaskan North Slope well to assess the United States' largest potential fossil energy resource: gas hydrate.

U.S. Department of Energy scientists say gas hydrate is an ice-like solid that results from the trapping of methane molecules -- the main component of natural gas -- within a lattice-like cage of water molecules. Dubbed the "ice that burns," the substance releases gaseous methane when it melts.

The size of the global gas hydrate resource is staggering, holding more ultimate energy potential than all other fossil fuels combined, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which estimates the deposits contain 200,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The government said the well is being drilled from an ice pad, constructed to protect the sensitive arctic tundra.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: US not on track to meet 2025 carbon pollution cutting goal, study finds

Related Stories

California governor backs rules on cow, landfill emissions

September 19, 2016

California will begin regulating greenhouse-gas emissions tied to dairy cows and landfills under legislation signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown, escalating state efforts to fight climate change beyond carbon-based gases to ...

Blowing bubbles to catch carbon dioxide

September 1, 2016

Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico (UNM) have created a powerful new way to capture carbon dioxide from coal- and gas-fired electricity plants with a bubble-like membrane that harnesses the power ...

Recommended for you

Unusual martian region leaves clues to planet's past

September 27, 2016

Researcher Don Hood from LSU and colleagues at collaborating universities studied an unusual region on Mars—an area with high elevation called Thaumasia Planum. They analyzed the geography and mineralogy of this area they ...

Thirsty megacities poisoning rural groundwater: study

September 27, 2016

A massive drawdown of water beneath delta-based megacities across the world may be pulling surface pollution deeper into the ground, risking contamination and health problems for local populations, a new study said Tuesday.

Ancient global cooling gave rise to modern ecosystems

September 27, 2016

Around 7 million years ago, landscapes and ecosystems across the world began changing dramatically. Subtropical regions dried out and the Sahara Desert formed in Africa. Rain forests receded and were replaced by the vast ...

Researchers refining Arctic climate history through diatoms

September 27, 2016

Just above the Arctic Circle, in remote southwestern Greenland, UMaine researchers are seeking to better understand the effects of a changing climate on arctic lakes by looking at one of their smallest inhabitants—Discostella ...

Over 90% of world breathing bad air: WHO

September 27, 2016

Nine out of 10 people globally are breathing poor quality air, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, calling for dramatic action against pollution that is blamed for more than six million deaths a year.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.