GlobalData’s latest thematic report ‘Gas Hydrates’ provides a comprehensive review of this energy resource, covering aspects such as its global deposits, resource potential, as well as efforts by various countries to extract methane from the hydrate deposits.

Gas hydrate is an untapped low-carbon fossil fuel, which is likely to remain underexplored due to the emergence of commercially viable alternatives, especially renewables. This methane-rich resource is found in abundance on continental slopes around the world and in Arctic onshore regions of Russia and North America. It could potentially supply natural gas globally for the next hundred years.

Various countries around the world have undertaken research programmes for the exploration and potential recovery of gas hydrates over different timeframes. While some of them such as Japan were able to obtain some outcome from their experiments, others such as Norway were not so successful. The inconsistency in test results and lack of sufficient evidence over the presence of gas hydrates has discouraged countries from exploring further. On the other hand, geological challenges and technological glitches have hindered the progress of those countries that seem keen on developing gas hydrates.

Gas hydrates development is primarily driven by government organisations and research institutes from around the world, particularly the US, Japan, China and India. Institutes such as The US Geological Survey (Usgs ), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (NIAIST) in Japan, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), China Geological Survey (CGS ), Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey (GMGS), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras are involved in the research and development (R&D) activities for this resource.

Oil and gas companies are studying gas hydrates primarily to understand their phase behaviour for developing suitable extraction techniques and to detect their presence in offshore drilling sites. The second aspect is especially critical in preventing hydrate formations to protect flowlines from blockages.