Interest in natural gas hydrates has been steadily increasing over the last few decades, with the understanding that exploitation of this abundant unconventional source may help meet the ever-increasing energy demand and assist in reduction of CO2 emission (by replacing coal). Unfortunately, conventional technologies for oil and gas exploitation are not fully appropriate for the specific exploitation of gas hydrate. Consequently, the technology chain, from exploration through production to monitoring, needs to be further developed and adapted to the specific properties and conditions associated with gas hydrates, in order to allow for a commercially and environmentally sound extraction of gas from gas hydrate deposits.
Various academic groups and companies within the European region have been heavily involved in theoretical and applied research of gas hydrate for more than a decade. To demonstrate this, Fig. 1.1 shows a selection of leading European institutes that are actively involved in gas hydrate research. A significant number of these institutes have been strongly involved in recent worldwide exploitation of gas hydrate, which are shown in Fig. 1.2 and summarized in Table 1.1. Despite the state of knowledge, no field trials have been carried out so far in European waters.
MIGRATE (COST action ES1405) aims to pool together expertise of a large number of European research groups and industrial players to advance gas-hydrate related activity with the ultimate goal of preparing the setting for a field production test in European waters.
This MIGRATE report presents an overview of current technologies related to gas hydrate exploration (Chapter 2), production (Chapter 3) and monitoring (Chapter 4), with an emphasis on European activity. This requires covering various activities within different disciplines, all of which contribute to the technology development needed for future cost-effective gas production. The report points out future research and work areas (Chapter 5) that would bridge existing knowledge gaps, through multinational collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches.