Natural Gas Hydrates: Possible Environmental Issues

  • Sotirios Nik. Longinos
  • Dionysia-Dimitra Longinou
  • Spyridon Achinas


During the past 50 years, there has been a growing awareness of environmental issues related to energy technologies and natural resource utilization. A growing global population demands augmenting amounts of energy and goods without big discovery of conventional resources (apart from Zohr and Glafkos offshore fields in Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, and Republic of Cyprus, respectively); leading companies and countries turn their interest in unconventional resources such as shale oil, shale gas, and gas hydrates. Although gas hydrates are assumed part of the alternative energy sources of the future, they exhibit possible environmental risks for both the marine ecosystem and atmosphere environment. This chapter presents the fickleness of methane hydrate (MH) that either takes place naturally or is triggered by anthropogenic activities. Furthermore, it explains the climate change (methane discharged to the atmosphere has 21 times more global warming contingent than carbon dioxide) and the sea acidification (more than half of the dissolved methane retains inside seafloor by microbial anaerobic oxidation of methane) caused by methane hydrate release. Moreover, it presents the seafloor instability when methane hydrated block sediments due to augmentation of temperature or pressure difference. Finally yet importantly, environmental risks and hazards during the operation of production and drilling hydrate reservoirs occupy a significant position in the presentation of this research.


Climate Energy Environment Natural gas hydrates 


  1. Abrams MA (2005) Significance of hydrocarbon seepage relative to petroleum generation and entrapment. Mar Pet Geol 22:457–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bangtang Y, Xiangfang L, Baojiang S et al (2014) Hydraulic model of steady state multiphase flow in wellbore annuli. Pet Explor Dev 41(3):359–366Google Scholar
  3. Barker JW, Gomez RK (1989) Formation of hydrates during deepwater drilling operations. JPT 41(3):297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biastoch A, Treude T, Rüpke LH, Riebesell U, Roth C, Burwicz EB et al (2011) Rising Arctic ocean temperatures cause gas hydrate destabilization and ocean acidification. Geophys Res Lett 38:L08602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bo W (2007) Research on the method of wellbore temperature and pressure calculation during deep-water drilling. China University of Petroleum, DongyingGoogle Scholar
  6. Boldyreff VM (2016) Water vapor and “greenhouse effect”. Inf Agency Regnum.
  7. Boswell R, Collett T, Cook A (2010) Developments in gas hydrates. Oil Field Rev 1:18–33Google Scholar
  8. Brooks JM, Cox HB, Bryant WR, Kennicut MC (1986) Association of gas hydrates and oil seepage in the Gulf of Mexico. Org Geochem 10(1–3):221–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown A (2000) Evaluation of possible gas micro seepage mechanisms. Am Assoc Pet Geol Bull 84:1775–1789Google Scholar
  10. Carroll JJ (2009) Natural gas hydrates – a guide for engineers, 3rd edn. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  11. Change IPOC (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis, Agenda, vol 6. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 333Google Scholar
  12. Deutsch C, Ferrel A, Seibel B, Pörtner H-O, Huey RB (2015) Climate change tightens a metabolic constraint on marine habitats. Science 348:1132–1135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dimitrov L (2002) Mudvolcanoes the most important pathway for degassing deeply buried sediments. Earth Sci Rev 59:49–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dou B, Jiang G, Qin M, Gao H (2011) Analytical natural gas hydrates dissociation effects on globe climate change and hazards. ICGH, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  15. E.I.A. US (2013) Annual energy outlook 2016. U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  16. Etiope G, Klusman RW (2002) Geologic emissions of methane to the atmosphere. Chemosphere 49:777–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Etiope G, Klusman RW (2008) Micro seepage in drylands: flux and implications in the global atmospheric source/sink budget of methane. Glob Planet Chang (in press)Google Scholar
  18. Etiope G, Martinelli G (2002) Migration of carrier and trace gases in the geosphere: an overview. Phys Earth Planet Inter 129(3–4):185–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Etiope G, Milkov AV (2004) A new estimate of global methane flux from onshore and shallow submarine mud volcanoes to the atmosphere. Environ Geol 46:997–1002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Etiope G, Papatheodorou G, Christodoulou D, Ferentinos G, Sokos E, Favali P (2006) Methane and hydrogen sulfide seepage in the NW Peloponnesus petroliferous basin (Greece): origin and geohazard. Am Assoc Pet Geol Bull 90(5):701–713Google Scholar
  21. Etiope G, Feyzullayev A, Baciu C (2009) Terrestrial methane seeps and mud volcanoes: a global perspective of gas origin. Mar Pet Geol 26:333–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Exxon Mobil (2016) The outlook for energy: A vıew to 2040, Technical ReportGoogle Scholar
  23. Grover T (2008) Natural gas hydrates-issues for gas production and geomechanical stability. PhD thesis, Texas A & M University, Texas, pp 6Google Scholar
  24. Gudmundsson JS, Hveding F, Bomhaug A (1995) Transport or natural gas as frozen hydrate. In: Proceedings of the fifth international offshore and polar engineering conference, The Hague, The Netherlands, June 11–16Google Scholar
  25. Hammerschmidt EG (1934) Formation of gas hydrates in natural gas transmission lines. Ind Eng Chem 26(8):851–855CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hautala SL, Solomon EA, Johnson HP, Harris RN, Miller UK (2014) Dissociation of Cascadia margin gas hydrates in response to contemporary ocean warming. Geophys Res Lett 41:8486–8494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hope CW (2006) The marginal impacts of CO2, CH4 and SF6 emissions. Clim Pol 6:537–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. I.E.A (2011) World energy outlook special report: are we entering the golden age of gas? International Energy Agency, ParisGoogle Scholar
  29. I.E.A (2013) World energy outlook. International Energy Agency, ParisGoogle Scholar
  30. Jordi A, Wang D-P (2008) Near inertial motions in and around the Palamós submarine canyon (NW Mediterranean) generated by a severe storm. Cont Shelf Res 28:2523–2534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Knittel K, Boetius A (2009) Anaerobic oxidation of methane: progress with an unknown process. Annu Rev Microbiol 63:311–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Koh CA, Sloan ED, Sum AK, Wu DT (2011) Fundamentals and applications of gas hydrates. Annu Rev Chem Biomol Eng 2:237–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kurihara H (2008) Effects of CO2-driven ocean acidification on the early developmental stages of invertebrates. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 373:275–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lifshits SK, Spektor VB, Kershengolts BM, Spektor VV (2018) The role of methane and methane hydrates in the evolution of global climate. Am J Clim Chang 7:236–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Longinos S (2015) Analysis of gas hydrates by using geochemical instruments. Thesis, AnkaraGoogle Scholar
  36. Makogon YF (1965) A gas hydrate formation in the gas saturated layers under low temperature. Gazov Promst 5:14–15Google Scholar
  37. Makogon, Y.F., F.A. Trebin, Trofimuk A.A., (1971) Finding of a pool of gas in the hydrate state: DAN SSSR, v. 196, p. 197–206Google Scholar
  38. Makogon YF (1994) Russia’s contribution to the study of gas hydrates. Ann N Y Acad Sci 715:119–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Makogon YF (1997) Hydrates of hydrocarbons. Pennwell Books, Tulsa, p 482Google Scholar
  40. Makogon Y (2010) Natural gas hydrates – a promising source of energy. Nat Gas Sci Eng 2:49–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Makogon YF, Holditch SA, Makogon TY (2007) Natural gas-hydrates – a potential energy source for the 21st century. J Pet Sci Eng 56:14–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Maslin M, Mikkelsen N, Vilela C, Haq B (1998) Sea-level–and gas-hydrate–controlled catastrophic sediment failures of the Amazon Fan. Geology 26:1107–1110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mellors R, Kilb D, Aliyev A, Gasanov A, Yetirmishli G (2007) Correlations between earthquakes and large mud volcano eruptions. J Geophys Res 112:B04304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Merey S, Longinos SN (2018a) Does the Mediterranean Sea have potential for producing gas hydrates? J Nat Gas Sci Eng 55:113–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Merey S, Longinos SN (2018b) Numerical simulations of gas production from Class 1 hydrate and Class 3 hydrate in the Nile Delta of the Mediterranean Sea. J Nat Gas Sci Eng 52:248–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Merey S, Longinos SN (2018c) Investigation of gas seepages in Thessaloniki mud volcano in the Mediterranean Sea. J Pet Sci Eng 168:81–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Miller SL (1969) Clathrate hydrates of air in Antarctic ice. Sci New Ser 165(3892):489–490Google Scholar
  48. Motghare PD, Musale A (2017) Gas hydrates: drilling challenges and suitable technology, SPE-185424-MSGoogle Scholar
  49. PiNero E, Marquardt M, Hensen C, Haeckel M, Wallmann K (2012) Estimation of the global inventory of methane hydrates in marine sediments using transfer functions. Biogeosciences 10:959–975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pryor S, Barthelmie R (2010) Climate change impacts on wind energy: a review. Renew Sust Energ Rev 14:430–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rhakmanov RR (1987) Mud volcanoes and their importance in forecasting of subsurface petroleum potential. Nedra, Moscow (in Russian)Google Scholar
  52. Riedel M, Hyndman RD, Spence GD, Chapman NR, Novosel I, Edwards N (2014) Hydrate on the cascadia accretionary margin of North America, AAPG Hedberg research conferenceGoogle Scholar
  53. Ribeiro Jr CP, Lage PLC., Modelling of hydrate formation kinetics: State of the art and future directions, Chemical Engineering Science, 2008,63(8): p.2007–2034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Roos I, Soosaar S, Volkova A, Streimikene D (2012) Greenhouse gas emission reduction perspectives in the Baltic States in frames of EU energy and climate policy. Renew Sust Energ Rev 16:2133–2146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sanjairaj V, Iniyan S, Goic R (2012) A review of climate change, mitigation and adaptation. Renew Sust Energ Rev 16:878–897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Saxton MA, Samarkin VA, Schutte CA et al (2016) Biogeochemical and 16S rRNA gene sequence evidence supports a novel mode of anaerobic methanotrophy in permanently ice-covered Lake Fryxell, Antarctica. Limnol Oceanogr 61:S119–S130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schiermeier Q (2008) Fears surface over methane leaks. Nature 455:572–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sloan ED, Carolyn AK (2008) Clathrate hydrates of natural gases, 3rd edn. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  59. Sloan ED Jr (1991) Natural gas hydrates, JPT SPE technology today series, SPE 23562, pp 1414–1417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sloan ED Jr (2003) Fundamentals principles and applications of natural gas hydrates. Nat Publ Group 426:353–359Google Scholar
  61. Sloan ED Jr (1990) Clathrate hydrates of natural gases. Marcel Dekker Inc, New York, 641 ppGoogle Scholar
  62. Sloan ED, Koh CA (2007) Natural gas hydrates: recent advances and challenges in energy and environmental applications, AIChEGoogle Scholar
  63. Solomon S (2007) Climate change 2007-the physical science basis: working group I contribution to the fourth assessment report of the IPCC. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  64. Tan CP, Freij-Ayoub R, Clennell MB, Tohidi B (2005) Managing wellbore instability risk in gas hydrate-bearing sediments, SPE 92960Google Scholar
  65. Thomsen L, Barnes C, Best M, Chapman R, Pirenne B, Thomson R et al (2012) Ocean circulation promotes methane release from gas hydrate outcrops at the NEPTUNE Canada Barkley Canyon node. Geophys Res Lett 39:L16605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Watts N, Adger WN, Agnolucci P, Blackstock J, Byass P, Cai W et al (2015) Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health. Lancet 386:1861–1914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wilkox WI, Carson DB, Katz DL (1941) Natural gas hydrates. Ind Eng Chem 33(5):662–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Yang J, Haixiong T, Zhengli L et al (2013) Prediction model of casing annulus pressure for deepwater well drilling and completion operation. Petroleum 40(5):2Google Scholar
  69. Yonghai G, Baojiang S, Wang Z et al (2008) Calculation and analysis of wellbore temperature field in deepwater drilling. J China Univ Pet Ed Nat Sci 32(2):58–62Google Scholar
  70. Zhang L, Zhang C, Huang H, Qi D, Zhang Y, Ren S, Wu Z, Fang M (2014) Gas hydrate risks and prevention for deep water drilling and completion: a case study of well QDN-X in Qiongdongnan Basin, South China Sea, Petroleum Exploration & DevelopmentGoogle Scholar
  71. Zhang XH, Lu XB, Chen XD et al (2016) Mechanism of soil stratum instability induced by hydrate dissociation. Ocean Eng 122:74–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zhao J, Song Y, Lim XL, Lam WH (2017) Opportunities and challenges of gas hydrate policies with consideration of environmental impacts. Renew Sust Energ Rev 70:875–885CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sotirios Nik. Longinos
    • 1
  • Dionysia-Dimitra Longinou
    • 2
  • Spyridon Achinas
    • 3
  1. 1.Petroleum & Natural Gas Engineering DepartmentMiddle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.School of Environment Geography and Applied EconomicsHarokopio UniversityAthensGreece
  3. 3.Faculty of Science EngineeringUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations