|RESEARCH TEAM||ADVISORY TEAM||2017 EXPEDITION||2020 EXPEDITION|
Location: Terrebonne and Orca Basins, northern Gulf of Mexico
Dates: January – March, 2020
Participating Institutions: University of Texas at Austin, International Ocean Discovery Program, U.S. Department of Energy-National Energy Technology Laboratory, Ohio State University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Washington, Oregon State University, University of New Hampshire
Sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy
EXPEDITION SUMMARY & SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVES
We will investigate the formation processes and in situ properties of natural methane hydrate in coarse-grained sediments in the northern Gulf of Mexico by scientific drilling. To accomplish this task, we will obtain conventional cores, pressure cores, logging-while-drilling (LWD) and wireline logging data, and perform downhole pressure drawdown tests. This expedition will help reveal the gas and fluid sources/migration mechanisms, as well as the microbiological communities associated with high saturation methane hydrate reservoirs. This drilling expedition will also reveal the in situ thermodynamic state and physical properties of the hydrate-bearing sediments, and their response to perturbation.
Our drilling program involves coring and logging at two locations in the northern Gulf of Mexico. In Phase 1, we will drill two LWD holes at the Orca Basin, where seismic mapping shows strong evidence of hydrate in coarse-grained sediments. In Phase 2, we will conduct coring and wireline operations in the Terrebonne Basin, a previously drilled location by LWD indicating methane hydrate at high saturation in coarse-grained sediment. The sampling and measurement program at Terrebonne will feature continuous conventional coring and the recovery of as many as 30 pressure cores. Pressurized core sections will be transported to on shore laboratories at the University of Texas and other institutions. Downhole wireline logging will include nuclear magnetic resonance and penetrometer testing, in situ fluid sampling and short-duration formation pressure tests using a straddle packer wireline formation tester.