The Arctic Ocean: Fracking's Future Home

By Commodity HQ  AUG 06, 2013 10:25 AM

Energy consumption is at an all-time high and shows no signs of slowing, and so scientists keep searching for the next great energy source. The Arctic Circle might be it.

 


Energy extraction techniques have become exponentially more efficient and effective since our first attempts to harness the elements in our favor. Unfortunately, our advances in pulling energy from the earth are still being outpaced by consumption demands. With a rising number of emerging markets seeing economies expand rapidly, energy consumption is at an all time-high with no signs of slowing. On the search for the next great energy source to meet this demand, scientists in the Arctic Circle think they have found a strong candidate.

Methane Hydrate

Methane hydrate, a crystalline form of natural gas, resides in the Arctic permafrost and at the bottom of some oceans. Nicknamed the “fire in ice,” while frozen, the gas is stable, but at room temperature, it gives off an intense heat. With an estimated 700,000 trillion cubic feet of this frozen gas trapped in the ice, these crystals’ potential contain more energy than all previously discovered gas and oil combined.

Like any energy source, there are some major drawbacks to chasing after methane hydrate and, until now, many companies with deep water drilling capabilities have avoided clusters of the frozen gas. It doesn’t take much to disrupt the pockets of methane, and while it is stable at freezing temperatures, the heated gas can be highly volatile and dangerous. Tapped the wrong way, the gas can also potentially release a massive amount of greenhouse gas into the air.

Jumping Into Exploration

While drilling for this crystallized gas is still a decade away from being economically plausible, there are a number of stakeholders that have expressed interest in exploring this potential resource: Follow us on Twitter @CommodityHQ

Editor's note: This article by Carolyn Pairitz was originally published on Commodity HQ
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