Working Group 1

Working Group Leaders

Tim Minshull

Hector Marin-Moreno


Resource assessment

WG 1 will bring together scientists and professionals from various scientific disciplines (e.g. geophysics, sedimentology, geology, geochemistry, modelling) in order to evaluate and complement the multiplicity of data sets on gas hydrate occurrences in European marginal seas and along the European continental margin. Gas hydrates affect the sound velocity and electrical resistivity of sediments, and so their presence and abundance below the seabed can be assessed using both seismic and electromagnetic methods. Data generated by these geophysical methods may be validated by drilling at prospective sites and interpreted by models simulating the formation of gas hydrates via gas generation and migration through the geological history of a given basin. European researchers have successfully applied these methods to explore gas hydrate occurrences in European waters and elsewhere. However, to date only a small proportion of the European offshore has been explored for hydrates. In contrast, most of the same area has been surveyed to identify conventional oil and gas deposits, resulting in large commercial data sets that could be re-processed and evaluated to map gas hydrate occurrences in European waters at an affordable cost. Additional geological data are needed to further classify hydrate accumulations since gas hydrates in fine-grained low permeability deposits cannot be exploited with current technologies, whereas successful field tests have demonstrated that gas is easily produced from permeable sand-rich deposits such as turbidites consisting of alternating layers of clay, silt and sand.


Accordingly, the aim of WG 1 is to constrain the amount and distribution of exploitable gas hydrate resources in European waters. To achieve this goal, WG 1 members will:


  • screen available geophysical and geological datasets, particularly from commercial exploration for hydrocarbons, to detect gas hydrate occurrences in sand-rich deposits
  • assess interpretation techniques and methods for the characterization of gas hydrate accumulations based on geophysical and geological information
  • evaluate basin modeling approaches for the simulation of gas hydrate accumulation
  • compile a database of gas hydrate reservoirs in European waters and classify them in terms of e.g. permeability, usability, and potential environmental risks
  • produce a map showing the distribution of gas hydrates in marginal seas and along the continental margin of Europe


Download here maps showing the distribution of gas hydrates along the European continental margin