7th International Workshop on Methane Hydrate Research & Development

 Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand, May 10-12, 2010

Workshop Objectives

The 7th International Workshop on Methane Hydrates R&D (Fiery Ice 2010) was held at Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand, from 10-12 May, 2010. Research into naturally occurring gas hydrates is developing rapidly with several significant government-sponsored programs in place and increasing industry R&D. Commercial production of gas from hydrates appears to be a realistic scenario within the next decade. The International Workshop on Methane Hydrates R&D aims at fostering international collaboration by bringing together scientists from various disciplines to exchange the latest knowledge in gas hydrates research.

Fiery Ice 2010 was preceded by a field trip on 9 May 2010 and followed by a post-conference workshop on New Zealand gas hydrates at GNS Science on 13 May 2010. 61 registrants took part from 15 countries. The key theme of the workshop was “Characterization of Gas Hydrate Reservoirs”. The conference consisted of one oral stream, a single poster session and eight breakout sessions for discussions.

The 8th International Workshop on Methane Hydrate Research & Development is planned to be held in Japan in the northern spring of 2012.


A common thread running through the conference was that gas hydrates is on the verge of becoming an applied research field. Economic viability of gas production from gas hydrates is now being viewed as a realistic possibility within the next decade. Exploration techniques very similar to those for conventional oil and gas exploration have recently been developed and ground-truthed. A petroleum system approach to understand gas hydrate occurrences is also in development; again very similar to approaches used for conventional hydrocarbon studies. There was also an almost surprising agreement on several previously hotly debated topics.

A distinctive highlight of the workshop was a speech given by Hon. Gerry Brownlee, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Energy. This speech emphasized that the New Zealand government is analysing its options for development of its gas hydrate resource.

The following breakout sessions provided an overview on current developments of gas hydrates research (with session chairs and one selected key highlight):

1. Pre-drilling characterization of gas hydrate reservoir (Dan McDonnell, Tatsuo Saeki, Nathan Bangs): A workflow for gas hydrate exploration has been developed.

2. Exploration drilling and post-drilling characterization (Gary Humphrey, Pawan Dewangan): Focus on long-term monitoring and resolution.

3. Production tests and modelling (George Moridis, Takao Inamori): Very-long-term production test still missing.

4. Gas hydrate petroleum system (Kelly Rose, Kalachand Sain): System is being developed very similar to conventional petroleum systems

5. Laboratory studies (Jeffrey Priest, E. Dendy Sloan): Advocating benchmark tests between several laboratories with results to be presented at ICGH in Edinburgh, July 2011.

6. Near-seafloor gas hydrates, vent sites, environmental (biological) impact of hydrate production, and geohazards from gas hydrates (Reem Feij-Ayoub, Jens Greinert, Charlie Paull): Very little is known.

7. High-latitude gas hydrates (Umberta Tinivella, Jens Greinert, Richard Coffin): The most vulnerable system for climate change.

8. Gas hydrate formation – laboratory, field, modelling (George Moridis et al.): Gas hydrate dissociation is understood, but formation still a big question.

A general theme throughout the conference was a focus on reservoir quality: high saturations of gas hydrate are not sufficient for economic viability of gas production – gas hydrates must also be stored in a reservoir rock with high permeability.

The workshop was concluded by a plenary discussion, chaired by Richard Coffin.

A post-conference workshop at GNS Science with a focus in New Zealand gas hydrates was attended by 27 participants of the Fiery Ice meeting. It was agreed that while the Hikurangi Margin represented a promising gas hydrate province, exploration now needed to focus on finding locations with high-quality (sand) reservoirs.

Additional Information

Please contact us for further information

Sponsors of Fiery Ice 2010:


 Local Organizing Institutions:

local organizing