UNDER UTILIZED CLEAN ENERGY, NATURAL GAS, OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF, USA
Two separate hydrocarbon systems have been identified in the outer continental shelf off the east coast of North America. The first is in Jurassic and Cretaceous aged shallow marine carbonate-evaporite sediments. The second is in the underlying Triassic and Jurassic aged synrift alluvial and lacustrine sediments that were deposited during the breakup of Pangaea. Arid, hypersaline shallow marine environments are excellent environments for the preservation of organic matter, which produces rich source rocks, and the precipitation of evaporites, which serves as the seal to prevent the loss of the hydrocarbons. The underlying alluvial and lacustrine synrift sediments also form rich source rocks. Thermal maturation modeling indicates that these sediments entered the gas generation window at depths of approximately 5,000 meters. Recent hydrocarbon exploration successes in the Gulf of Mexico have shown that good porosity (>20%) exists at depths greater than 10,000 m. The outer continental shelf potentially has trillions of cubic meters of natural gas that are very close to high population areas of North America. This natural gas could significantly reduce CO2 emissions, as well as nitrogen and sulfur oxide emissions, if it is used to replace the coal that is now being used to generate electricity.