Occurrence of gas hydrate in Oligocene Frio sand: Alaminos Canyon Block 818: Northern Gulf of Mexico Academic Article uri icon


  • A unique set of high-quality downhole shallow subsurface well log data combined with industry standard 3D seismic data from the Alaminos Canyon area has enabled the first detailed description of a concentrated gas hydrate accumulation within sand in the Gulf of Mexico. The gas hydrate occurs within very fine grained, immature volcaniclastic sands of the Oligocene Frio sand. Analysis of well data acquired from the Alaminos Canyon Block 818 #1 ("Tigershark") well shows a total gas hydrate occurrence 13m thick, with inferred gas hydrate saturation as high as 80% of sediment pore space. Average porosity in the reservoir is estimated from log data at approximately 42%. Permeability in the absence of gas hydrates, as revealed from the analysis of core samples retrieved from the well, ranges from 600 to 1500 millidarcies. The 3-D seismic data reveals a strong reflector consistent with significant increase in acoustic velocities that correlates with the top of the gas-hydrate-bearing sand. This reflector extends across an area of approximately 0.8km2 and delineates the minimal probable extent of the gas hydrate accumulation. The base of the inferred gas-hydrate zone also correlates well with a very strong seismic reflector that indicates transition into units of significantly reduced acoustic velocity. Seismic inversion analyses indicate uniformly high gas-hydrate saturations throughout the region where the Frio sand exists within the gas hydrate stability zone. Numerical modeling of the potential production of natural gas from the interpreted accumulation indicates serious challenges for depressurization-based production in settings with strong potential pressure support from extensive underlying aquifers.

published proceedings

  • Marine and Petroleum Geology

author list (cited authors)

  • Boswell, R., Shelander, D., Lee, M., Latham, T., Collett, T., Guerin, G., ... Goldberg, D.

citation count

  • 86

complete list of authors

  • Boswell, Ray||Shelander, Dianna||Lee, Myung||Latham, Tom||Collett, Tim||Guerin, Gilles||Moridis, George||Reagan, Matthew||Goldberg, Dave

publication date

  • January 2009