Monetizing Gas: Focusing on developments in gas hydrate as a mode of gas transportation Conference Paper uri icon


  • Abstract Natural gas and energy resource management is a major challenge in the rapidly changing global and business environment. Increase in gas recoveries and gas production have led a major review in the ways of transporting natural gas energy. Monetizing gas has now become a high priority issue for many countries. Natural gas is a much cleaner fuel than oil and coal especially for electricity generation. Interest in gas hydrate being used as a means of transporting natural gas has increased over the last decade. New technology development has been focusing on using gas hydrates as a way of converting gas to solids to transport to markets around the world. Gas hydrate may be a viable means of storing and transporting gas but more focus should be given to some critical considerations for this gas hydrate development. This paper would discuss some of these issues as we move towards monetizing gas in the form of hydrate. These include present and future gas prices, energy balance in hydrate formation and re-gasification, storage of the hydrate, form of transporting the hydrate and distances to be transported. Other important factors are regasification technologies, economics compared to other gas transportation modes, environmental, climate and other issues. Introduction For many years natural gas hydrates have been a nemesis to the petroleum industry causing blockages in pipes and equipments. Since then, there has been great interest to understand and avoid the formation of hydrate during the transportation of gas. Now, the gas hydrate concept can be used to capture, store and transport natural gas. Natural gas hydrates are ice-like crystalline solids formed from a mixture of water and natural gas subjected to high pressure and suitable low temperature conditions (1200- 1500 psi and 2–10 oC). These conditions are found in the permafrost and under the ocean floor. Hydrates consist of geometric lattices of water molecules containing cavities occupied by lighter hydrocarbons or other type of gaseous components for e.g. nitrogen or carbon dioxide. Energy Demand Scenario Total world energy demand has increased by more than 5 fold over the last 50 years. With continued economic and population growth, the energy demand is expected to increase tremendously over the next 40 years. This will mean a greater dependence on natural gas and hence monetizing gas will be important to many countries. Transporting gas in the form of a gas hydrate can prove to be very useful in the supply chain of natural to meet future energy demand. Thus major challenges exist in effectively capturing, storing, transporting and utilizing form of energy while meeting the world's diverse economic, political, and environmental needs. Technological advancement in utilizing gas hydrate as means of transporting natural gas could be a key component in capturing stranded, associated gas and in some cases unconventional gas. It is estimated that 40% of natural gas is stranded. Impact of Present and Future Gas Prices Demand for natural gas has increased tremendously as a result of continued economic growth and other factors. In addition, high oil prices have made natural gas a relatively more attractive fuel because fewer industrial natural gas users can profitably switch from natural gas to oil products for their energy needs. For the last decade, the price of natural gas has been trending upward with prices having increased from just over $2/mmbtu in 1998 to a present average about $8.00/mmbtu. With continued increase demand expected, the prices should continue its upward growth. This will certainly encourage monetization of gas reserves all around the world. This again could be the impetus for new gas hydrate technology especially for associated gas, stranded and even unconventional gas and with an estimate of 40% of all gas reserves being stranded. Increased demand and supply has always been a driver for new cost effective energy. Fig.1 shows the upward trend of gas prices.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rajnauth, J. J., & Barrufet, M. A.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • June 2008


  • SPE  Publisher