Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Burning Snowball

The DOE has discovered natural gas hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico. See the story here.

Gas hydrates are suspected to hold immense volumes of natural gas. For the layman, they are a unique form of ice that can form above freezing temperatures when gas and water are mixed under the right conditions. They have been a bain to production facilities where they can plug pipelines and valves when gas is cooled by the Joule-Thompson Effect. PE got an expense paid trip to Dubai a few years ago to push a fast track project designed to inject hydrate inhibitor into a gas pipeline in Qatar. Hydrates had shut in a major LNG plant there. Yup, ice formed in a pipeline in the desert.

If you watch Ice Road Truckers, you know that one of the drill rigs they supported was looking for hydrate formations in the Canadian arctic.

Hydrates are thought to be an important source of energy for the future.

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