Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION CONTRIBUTION TO THE GAS HYDRATES ISSUE: PROJECTS AND PROSPECTS
Four research projects dealing with the Gas Hydrate (GH) issue have been funded by the European Commission since 1997. The HYACE project (1998-2001) was targeted at the development, assembly and prototype testing of innovative, downhole controlled autoclave systems in order to sample deep sea sediments at in situ pressure and with temperature control (by monitoring temperature). Two pressure corers have been developed, driven by downhole (mud) motors instead of the top drive on board the drillship. The main goal is to sample systematically and in more consolidated sediment containing GH and to derive quantitatively validated parameters. Testing on and offshore was carried out towards the end of the project. The purpose of HYACINTH project (2001-2004) is to put the HYACE system to operational use. The first scientific use of the HYACE/HYACINTH system was achieved on ODP leg 204 offshore Oregon in 2002. Developments now in progress will allow the sub-sampling of pressurised cores, microbiological experiments under pressure, and electrical resistivity imaging of pressure cores. HYDRATECH (2001-2004) is a project to develop a technique that can identify and quantify the amount of methane hydrate in the sediments beneath continental margins by the use seismic p and s waves. Theoretical and experimental approaches will be used to establish relationships between the GH presence and the seismic properties of sediments. The purpose of the ANAXIMANDER (2002-2005) project is to perform delicate sampling of sediments containing GH in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the Anaximander sea-mountains in the Eastern Mediterranean, GH occurs near the bottom of mud volcanoes and is associated with a characteristic biota. The first fieldwork was successfully carried out this May. Its target was to carry out bathymetric and seismic surveys, as well as coring with conventional corers, in order to outline suitable areas for the next fieldwork, during which pristine cores containing GH will be retrieved.