Methane in hydrates is primarily generated by bacterial cycles in coastal ocean or Arctic tundra organic matter over thousands of years. In deep coastal ocean sediment or cold polar tundra climates, pressure and temperature conditions trap methane in a cage-like cluster of water molecules, or hydrate.
The cost to identify and confirm methane hydrate mining regions with seismic surveys and deep-ocean sediment drilling can reach $10-20 million for each well. Strategic Carbon founders have perfected the integration of significantly more cost-effective geochemical and geophysical surveys to confirm hydrate deposits prior to drilling. Coastal nations worldwide are planning to commission thorough site surveys to select precise mining drill sites for this important natural resource.
Strategic Carbon’s thorough methane hydrate surveys have distinct synergies with carbon sequestration technologies, which trap carbon dioxide in an attempt to slow down atmospheric release and reduce potential contribution to global warming. Many nations, including Japan, Norway, and the U.S., fund viable long-term carbon sequestration plans for land-based and deep ocean settings.
Currently, there is significant global focus on developing carbon sequestration sites in deep ocean sediments that are marked by high methane hydrate loadings. The success of such initiatives will require comprehensive regulatory and scientific confirmation of verifiable, secure, long-term carbon trapping. Strategic Carbon’s innovative field technology for evaluating methane hydrate loading is readily applied to deep ocean sequestration planning, monitoring, and validation.
Ecosystem Health Assessment
The future global development of sediment methane hydrate mining and carbon dioxide sequestration will demand credible Ecosystem Health Assessments. These assessments are critical in confirming that methane released to the shallow sediments and the water column during mining is not at a level that affects the health of the food chain with shifts in oxygen availability or nutrient cycling.
Conversely, it is necessary to determine that deep sediment carbon sequestration does not block the natural methane and oil seepage, resulting in overall lower biologic activity. SC is well positioned to provide detailed environmental impact assessments for global ocean mining and carbon sequestration efforts. This expertise can also address ecosystem contaminant source identification and prediction of natural attenuation.