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: Antarctic ice sheet is result of CO2 decrease, not continental breakup

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FX says overnight ratings becoming meaningless

32 minutes ago

(AP)—It's a rite nearly as old as television: the morning after a new show premieres, network executives wait impatiently for the Nielsen company's estimate of how many people watched, and rush to report ...

Unleashing the power of quantum dot triplets

1 hour ago

Quantum computers have yet to materialise. Yet, scientists are making progress in devising suitable means of making such computers faster. One such approach relies on quantum dots—a kind of artificial atom, ...

Recommended for you

NASA sees zombie Tropical Depression Genevieve reborn

9 hours ago

Infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite helped confirm that the remnant low pressure area of former Tropical Storm Genevieve has become a Zombie storm, and has been reborn as a tropical depression on ...

Wave energy impact on harbour operations investigated

13 hours ago

Infragravity period oscillations—waves that occur between 25 and 300 seconds with a wavelength between 100m and 10km—can have an impact on berthing operations, depending on a harbour's geometry.

User comments : 0