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Geophysical properties of seafloor hydrate reservoirs

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 03, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Globally, seafloor gas hydrates offer a strategic source of natural gas that may be equivalent in size to all known conventional gas reserves. Ice-like hydrates occur in deep water (>300 m) areas on continental margins at relatively shallow sub-seafloor depths (100s m), and are attractive deposits for commercial exploitation. Several nations (e.g. Japan, China and India) have run national seafloor gas hydrates exploration programmes for over 10 years, and are now moving towards full-scale exploitation of these natural gas resources driven by strategic energy demands. Despite this, there are still many technical challenges to overcome to ensure safe and environmentally responsible hydrate reservoir production. Hydrate production involves dissociation of the hydrate into water and natural gas, which can cause mechanical changes to the host sediments forming the reservoir. The sediment composition (generally sands, but with different amounts of clay) influences the mechanical and reservoir properties of the reservoir and hydrate content and distribution hence production efficiency. Environmentally sustainable production will require proper reservoir delineation and characterisation using geophysical (seismic and electrical) and geotechnical methods, and active monitoring during production. This requires improved knowledge of hydrate reservoir geophysical properties under complex solid-fluid phase changes, for in situ geophysical interpretation.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibility and how to apply


Best, A. I., J. A. Priest, C. R. I. Clayton, and E. V. L. Rees (2013), The effect of methane hydrate morphology and water saturation on seismic wave attenuation in sand under shallow sub-seafloor conditions, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 368, 78-87, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.02.033.

Marin-Moreno, H., S. K. Sahoo, and A. I. Best (2017), Theoretical modeling insights into elastic wave attenuation mechanisms in marine sediments with pore-filling methane hydrate, Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, 122(3), 1835-1847, doi:10.1002/2016jb013577.

Sahoo, S. K., B. N. Madhusudhan, H. Marin-Moreno, L. J. North, S. Ahmed, I. H. Falcon-Suarez, T. A. MInshull, and A. I. Best (2018), Laboratory insights into the effect of sediment-hosted methane hydrate morphology on elastic wave velocity from time-lapse 4-D synchrotron X-Ray Computed Tomography, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 19, doi:10.1029/2018GC007710.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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