Alaskan drilling will assess gas hydrate

Feb 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: Ancient deformation of the lithosphere revealed in Eastern China

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Arsenic stubbornly taints many US wells, say new reports

4 hours ago

Naturally occurring arsenic in private wells threatens people in many U.S. states and parts of Canada, according to a package of a dozen scientific papers to be published next week. The studies, focused mainly ...

Planck: Gravitational waves remain elusive

5 hours ago

Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA's Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial ...

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory

6 hours ago

A new study by a team of physicists at Rice University, Zhejiang University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Florida State University and the Max Planck Institute adds to the growing body of evidence supporting ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

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.