Goals and Research Themes for Research Group for Resources Assessment

Goals

In Phase 1, as a result of case studies conducted in the eastern Nankai Trough, MH21 secured great achievements with respect to a technology for identifying a methane hydrate concentrated zone, a promising resource field, a technology for evaluating the amount of the original methane gas in place contained in methane hydrate-bearing layers, and a technology for obtaining findings on the characteristics of methane hydrate-bearing layers in the alternation of sand and mud. Also, MH21 revised the methane hydrate-originating BSR distribution zones in order to identify sea areas bearing methane hydrate distributed off the coast of Japan.

In Phase 2, utilizing the technologies and findings accumulated in Phase 1, MH21 will expand the research target areas to other than the eastern Nankai Trough and proceed to estimate the distribution of methane hydrate concentrated zones while obtaining data from reprocessing/reanalyzing existing or new geophysical data acquired by a seismic vessel “Shigen”. Moreover, MH21 will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the state of methane hydrate deposits off the coast of Japan through basic research on the mechanisms in relation to the generation, migration, and accumulation of methane, the generation of methane gas-bearing layer, and so on (as a whole, a methane hydrate system).

  • Evaluation of methane hydrate distribution off the coast of Japan
  • Investigation of the methane hydrate system

Contents of the research and development

  • Evaluation of methane hydrate distribution off the coast of Japan

Utilizing the technologies and findings accumulated in Phase 1, MH21 will expand the research target sea areas to other than the eastern Nankai Trough to proceed to estimate the distribution of methane hydrate concentrated zones which consist of sand layers as reservoirs while obtaining data from reprocessing/reanalyzing existing or new geophysical data acquired by a seismic vessel “Shigen”. Also, MH21 will proceed with studies including methane hydrates in other forms of deposits, using existing data and information on geological conditions, and provide comprehensive evaluation of the distribution of the methane hydrate resources off the coast of Japan with focusing on the feasibility as a resource development.

Major activities

  • Estimation of the distribution of methane hydrate concentrated zones with enlarging the target areas other than the eastern Nankai Trough
  • Comprehensive evaluation of methane hydrate distribution off the coast of Japan

Investigation of the methane hydrate system

Basic research will be continued concerning geophysical, geological and geochemical characteristics of methane hydrate-bearing layers, aiming to contribute the estimation of methane hydrate-bearing layer distribution, reservoir evaluation, and offshore production tests and environmental impact assessment. In addition, MH21 will aim to create a methane hydrate system model (including generation, migration, and accumulation of methane gas and formation and dissociation of methane hydrate) that explains the formation of methane hydrate concentrated zones in the eastern Nankai Trough, and gather and analyze the necessary data. By utilizing results of the above studies, MH21 will examine methods for estimating the development of methane hydrate concentrated zones in areas with limited data.

Goals of Phase 2

Goal (FY 2011) Goal (FY 2015)
Research and Development concerning Resources Assessment
1. Evaluation of methane hydrate resources off the coast of Japan
Estimation of the distribution of methane hydrate concentrated zones with enlarging the target areas other than the eastern Nankai Trough
Obtain the data of three or more areas where the distribution of methane hydrate concentrated zone is expected. Based on the data, present the result of evaluation regarding the distribution of the concentrated zone. Obtain the data of three or more areas (other than the areas used in the intermediate evaluation in FY 2011) where methane hydrate concentrated zone distribution is expected. Based on the data, present the result of the evaluation regarding the distribution of the concentrated zone.
Comprehensive evaluation of methane hydrate distribution off the coast of Japan
On some areas off the coast of Japan where the estimation of the concentrated zone was completed, summarize the result of intermediate evaluation for the methane hydrate distribution with focusing on the feasibility as a resource development. Present the result of a comprehensive evaluation of the methane hydrate distribution off the coast of Japan by focusing on the feasibility as a resource development for methane hydrate concentrated zone. For the areas with limited data, try to apply the method for estimating these concentrated zones developed through investigation of the methane hydrate system in eastern Nankai trough.
2. Investigation of the methane hydrate system
Investigation of methane hydrate system
Construct a model of the methane hydrate system which enables to explain the formation of the methane hydrate concentrated zone in the eastern Nankai Trough. Based on the investigation of the methane hydrate system in the eastern Nankai Trough, examine the method for estimating the development of methane hydrate concentrated zones in the areas with limited data.

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