Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Natural gas hydrates: Status of potential as an energy resource

January 24, 2020

Gas hydrate is a widespread naturally-occurring combination of water and natural gases. Gas hydrate is found in shallow sediments of deepwater regions of the continental margins and in areas of continuous permafrost. Where gas supply is sufficient and migration pathways connect gas sources to favorable reservoirs, gas hydrate can accumulate to resource densities that may be attractive for gas production. Global research on the potential commercial viability of gas extraction from gas hydrates continues, predominantly in Asia and in the United States, where current efforts focus on the controlled destabilization of high-saturation deposits housed in sand and/or silt-rich reservoirs. This chapter reviews the current state of gas hydrate resource exploration and appraisal, the most promising production approaches identified to date, and the likely technical challenges to commercial production.